Merlin Olsen, LA Rams football star and tv star (Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy, Florist commercials), died at the age of 69. He has suffered from mesothelioma for about a year.
As a player with the LA Rams, he was a member of the "Fearsome Foursome" with Rosie Greer, Deacon Jones and Lamar Lundy. Some of his records from his playing in the 1960s and 1970s have still not been toppled.
Merlin Olsen was also my Kiwanis basketball coach in the early 1970s, while I was in grade school. He was a giant of a man, and his spiritual stature was greater than his physical height. A very kind, but tough coach, he was also everyone's friend.
I know I'll miss him.