exordia

"By writing or reading obituaries, we can discover ways to make our time on earth more worthwhile, more productive, more meaningful to others."
Alana Baranick, "Life on the Death Beat"


"'I always read the obituaries in The Times,' I explained to her. 'They make me bloody glad to be alive.'"
John Mortimer, "Rumpole's Return"

Alberto Arroyo, the Mayor of Central Park


Remember this guy? I do. They called him the Mayor of Central Park. He was the father of jogging, circling the Central Park Reservoir countless times during his life, a city landmark in and of himself.

John Ciambotti

 John Ciambotti, third from left. Ah, the '70s.
Bass player with Clover backed up Elvis Costello on his first album -- via the L.A. Times. "My Aim is True" is a great recording. Listen to John's line on "Blame It on Cain" -- it puts him up there with Larry Graham and James Jamerson.

Daphne Margaret Sybil Désirée Park, Baroness of Monmouth


One of the top intelligence officers of the 20th century, she faced death several times -- via the Times of London and the Guardian. Here's an interview from a few years back in the Telegraph as well.

John Mastrangelo/Johnny Maestro

Johnny Maestro, far right, and the rest of The Crests in their heyday.


Doo-wop frontman sang "16 Candles" -- via Yahoo News

Elinor Smith


This amazing aviatrix was a queen of the air -- via the Wall Street Journal

Jim Marshall


Legendary rock photographer -- via the New York Times

Tom Hobbs

Reference librarian was obituary expert -- via the Guardian

Marva Wright


A beautiful, brilliant blues singer from New Orleans. I have heard her and am better for it. Via the New Orleans Times-Picayune (nola.com)

John Hicklenton


Comic artist who created Judge Dredd -- Via forbiddenplanet.co.uk

Phil Johnson


New Orleans' WWL TV legendary, award-winning newsman -- via WWL TV

Phil Wood


A renowned craftsman of bicycle hubs such as the one pictured above. Via the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Society of Professional Obituary Writers

The obit writers' convention takes place in Philadelphia April 22-24, according to Editor & Publisher

Pierrot Bidon


Showman and innovator reinvented the circus -- via the Guardian

Max Salpeter


Brilliant violinist -- via the Guardian

Jerry Adler


Harmonica virtuoso was younger brother of fellow mouth-harp genius Larry -- via the New York Times

Margaret Moth


Fearless combat photographer. Shot in the face in Sarajevo, she recuperated and was back at work at the site of her wounding six months later. An amazing life -- via CNN

Wolfgang Wagner


Composer's grandson led opera festival for decades -- via the New York Times, the Guardian