Raymond Arthur Chung, who was Guyana’s first president, serving from March 1970 to October 1980 – a period that included Jonestown’s entire history in that country – died on 23 June 2008. His obituary is here.

W. D. Muhammad, former leader of the Nation Of Islam leader and son of NOI founder, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, died on 9 September 2008. When he took the reigns of the NOI in 1975 after the death of his father, W. D. Muhammad rapidly began moving the-then militantly black separatist group towards more openness regarding whites. One of his most demonstrative public acts of his new policy was his open overtures of fellowship to Jim Jones and Peoples Temple.

In addition, we learned this year of other deaths from previous years.

Aurora Rodriguez, who survived the deaths in Jonestown on November 18 because she was in Georgetown that day, died earlier this decade.

Yvonne Golden, educator and principal at Opportunity High in San Francisco, which many Temple teenagers attended (12/5/06). An obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle appears here.

Joe Holsinger, an aide to Rep. Leo Ryan at the time of the congressman’s assassination and a persistent critic of official government findings on the death, died on September 10, 2004.