By Steven Gittelson
WASHINGTON — The first man on the moon, the first U.S. woman in space and the first black Federal Reserve member were among the notable deaths in 2012.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, 82, died in August and Sally Ride, 61, in July.
The year was punctuated with the sudden deaths of pop singer Whitney Houston at 48 in February, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart at 43 in March and National Football League linebacker Junior Seau at 43 in May.
The lineup of business figures lost in 2012 includes Barton Biggs, the Morgan Stanley investment strategist and frequent business television guest, who predicted the bull market in U.S. stocks in 1982 and the dot-com bust almost 20 years later. He died in July at 79 and his was the most-read obituary on the Bloomberg terminal in 2012.
Here are the year's notable deaths. A cause of death is provided when available.
John Demjanjuk, 91. Retired auto mechanic living outside Cleveland was deported, then convicted in 2011 by a German court of aiding the Nazis in murdering Jews during the Holocaust. Died March 17.
Andrew Breitbart, 43. Blogger who promoted conservative causes and helped end the career of Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., by publicizing graphic photos the congressman sent to several women. Died March 1 after collapsing near his Los Angeles home.
Donald Payne, 77. New Jersey's first black congressman and an advocate for democracy in Africa during 23 years in Congress. Died March 6 of complications from colon cancer.
Miguel de la Madrid, 77. Harvard University-trained economist served as president of Mexico from 1982 to 1988, when the country struggled with triple-digit inflation. Died April 1 of emphysema.
Bingu wa Mutharika, 78. President of Malawi since 2004 who ended food shortages and later triggered domestic crises when his security forces killed protesters complaining about insufficient fuel supplies. Died April 5 of a heart attack.
Charles Colson, 80. Political strategist for President Richard Nixon who was imprisoned for obstructing justice during the Watergate scandal, then became a minister to prisoners. Died April 21 of complications from surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.
Nicholas Katzenbach, 90. Helped develop civil-rights policy under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and forced Gov. George Wallace to admit black students into the University of Alabama. Died May 8.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, 60. Former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Died May 20 of prostate cancer.
Yitzhak Shamir, 96. Member of the Jewish underground in his 20s became Israeli prime minister in the 1980s. Died June 30.
Elinor Ostrom, 78. Only woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics. Died June 12 in Bloomington, Ind., of pancreatic cancer.
Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, late 70s. Saudi Arabia's crown prince served as interior minister since 1975. Died June 16.
Rodney King, 47. Black motorist whose videotaped beating by Los Angeles policemen, followed by their acquittal by a jury that had no black members, sparked 1992 race riot. Died June 17 by drowning in his swimming pool.
Omar Suleiman, 76. Former intelligence chief in Egypt who in 2011 was hastily appointed vice president in the final days of President Hosni Mubarak's reign. Died July 19.
John Atta Mills, 68. President of Ghana since 2008 who presided over the fastest-growing economy in Africa. Died July 24.
Sally Ride, 61. First U.S. woman in space, aboard the shuttle Challenger in June 1983. Died July 23 of pancreatic cancer.
Meles Zenawi, 57. Ethiopia's prime minister since 1995 boosted economic growth and worked with the West on security issues while imprisoning journalists and political opponents. Died Aug. 20.
Neil Armstrong, 82. Astronaut landed on the moon July 20, 1969, saying, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Died Aug. 25 of complications following heart surgery.
Sun Myung Moon, 92. Korean-born founder of the Unification Church built a religious movement and a global business empire. Died Sept. 3 from complications of pneumonia.
Tadahiro Matsushita, 73. Japan's minister of financial services whose crackdown on insider trading led to the resignations of executives at Nomura Holdings, the nation's biggest brokerage. Died Sept. 10 of suicide.
John Christopher Stevens, 52. American ambassador to Libya was killed Sept. 11 during a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
John Silber, 86. President of Boston University from 1971 to 1996 helped turn the school into a prominent institution. Died Sept. 27 from kidney disease.
Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger, 86. During three decades as publisher of the New York Times, expanded the newspaper with special sections and published the Pentagon Papers. Died Sept. 29 of Parkinson's disease.
Barry Commoner, 95. U.S. biologist conducted pioneering research on the effects of radioactive fallout in the 1950s and later became an ecology activist. Died Sept. 30.
Arlen Specter, 82. U.S. senator from Pennsylvania from 1980 to 2010, whose questioning of those who testified before the chamber's Judiciary Committee earned him the nickname "Snarlin' Arlen." Died Oct. 14 of complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Norodom Sihanouk, 89. Former king of Cambodia led his country to independence from France, then saw it drawn into the Vietnam War and later reel under murderous Khmer Rouge rulers. Died Oct. 14.
George McGovern, 90. Democrat who represented South Dakota in the House and Senate, opposed the Vietnam War and lost to Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election. Died Oct. 21.
Russell Means, 72. Political activist and former leader of the American Indian Movement led 1973 armed occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D.. Died Oct. 22 of throat cancer.
Jacques Barzun, 104. Distinguished scholar spent five decades as professor and administrator at Columbia University, where he helped pioneer the discipline of cultural history. Died Oct. 25.
Bal Thackeray, 86. Former newspaper cartoonist became a Hindu nationalist politician and founder of India's Shiv Sena party, which helped run Mumbai's city government for most of the past two decades. Died Nov. 17.
Warren Rudman, 82. Two-term Republican senator from New Hampshire whose quest to balance the federal budget led to the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit-reduction law. Died Nov. 20.
David Copley, 60. Former owner and publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper, which his family had run for 81 years. Died Nov. 20 in a car crash.
Oscar Niemeyer, 104. Brazilian architect designed United Nations headquarters in New York and many government buildings in Brasilia, his nation's capital. Died Dec. 5.
Joseph Woodland, 91. Co-invented the bar code in the late 1940s. Died Dec. 9.
Daniel Inouye, 88. American of Japanese ancestry who lost his right arm fighting for his country in World War II and represented Hawaii in the Senate for almost 50 years. Died Dec. 17 from respiratory complications.
Robert Bork, 85. U.S. judge and legal scholar whose failed Supreme Court nomination turned his name into a verb. Died Dec. 19 of heart disease.