Barbara Piasecka Johnson, 76. A Polish farmer’s daughter who worked as a maid for an American heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune before marrying him and eventually inheriting much of his wealth. April 1.
Jane Henson, 78. She was married to Jim Henson and the two were creative and business partners in the development of the Muppets. April 2.
Roger Ebert, 70. First journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism, who, on his long-running TV review program, wielded the nation’s most influential thumb. April 4.
Victor Carranza, 77. Colombia’s “emerald czar,” he survived at least two assassination attempts and avoided criminal conviction despite being prosecuted for allegedly forming far-right militias. April 4.
Anna Merz, 83. Conservationist who sought to protect the rhinoceros from poaching that has severely depleted its numbers in Africa. April 4.
Lilly Pulitzer, 81. Palm Beach socialite-turned-designer whose tropical print dresses in the 1960s later became a fashion classic. April 7.
Margaret Thatcher, 87. Conservative British prime minister who infuriated European allies, found a fellow believer in Ronald Reagan and transformed her country by a ruthless dedication to free markets. April 8. Stroke.
Annette Funicello, 70. Child star as a perky Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s, who then teamed with Frankie Avalon on a string of ‘60s fun-in-the-sun movies with names like “Beach Party Bingo.” April 8. Complications from multiple sclerosis.
Robert Edwards, 87. Nobel prizewinner from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby. April 10.
Maria Tallchief, 88. One of America’s first great prima ballerinas who gave life to “The Nutcracker,” ‘’Firebird,” and other masterpieces from choreographer George Balanchine. April 11.
Jonathan Winters, 87. Cherub-faced comedian whose breakneck improvisations and misfit characters inspired the likes of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. April 11.
Hilary Koprowski, 96. Pioneering virologist who developed the first successful oral vaccination for polio. April 11.