Since I've been doing year-end tributes to those significant players in the beer industry, the list of those deceased has included some rather prominent names. (see: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007)
In 2013, I noticed that going into December, the running list I keep throughout the year was empty. In December, however, the longtime employee and leader of South African Breweries (SAB) and later SABMiller, Graham Mackay, passed away at the age of 64 after a battle with a brain tumor. Here is a series of links to more information about Mackay's life and death.
Washington Post (profile)
New York Times (profile)
MillerCoors (video tribute)
Lew Bryson (thoughts from a few years back)
I polled a handful of other writers to ensure that I wasn't missing anyone on this year's short list of deaths in the industry and Stan Hieronymous recommended, and for that I thank him, that I include Matthew Courtright, a 27-year-old Stone brewer and operations guy who died on the job while operating a forklift.
I appreciated this recommendation because it caused me to pause and consider that while the easily-recognized leaders of industry get the headlines, it is the thousands upon thousands of employees of these executives who truly get the final product into our, the consumer, hands. And, for that, they too deserve recognition and the raising of glasses.
Here's a link to an article out of San Diego that covered the tragedy. And, a link to Brewbound which also covered the news.