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"

Bob Shaw

MLB pitcher -- via Bill Schenley, groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries and the Palm Beach Post

Foster Wiley aka Mr. Tater

Street musician -- via World Music Central

Grace Bradley Boyd

Actress, fifth and final wife and true love of actor William Boyd, and keeper of the flame for his most famous characterization, that of fictional Western hero Hopalong Cassidy -- via the L.A. Times

Stuart E. Hample

Humorist, cartoonist, playwright, ad man and much more -- via the New York Times

Howard Brodie

Combat and courtroom artist - via the New York Times

Holly Eley aka Holly Mary Belinda Urquhart-Pollard

Writer, editor and gamekeeper -- via the Independent

Gifford Noel aka TNT aka DJ Trend

Drum and bass DJ -- via the BBC.

Lee Stametz

Composer and musician with the Denver Center Theatre Company -- via the Denver Post

Eddie Fisher

Singer -- via Deadline Hollywood. He will perhaps be better remembered as the father of author and actress Carrie Fisher; he famously left wife Debbie Reynolds, Carrie's mother, for Elizabeth Taylor; his three subsequent marriages included one to singer Connie Stevens.

Roberto Maestas

Civil rights activist and teacher -- via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Al Pilarcik

MLB outfielder -- from the intrepid Bill Schenley,groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries and Northwest Indiana Times. He played outfield for the Yankees, Orioles, White Sox and the Kansas City Athletics. A member of the Indiana Ballball Hall of Fame.

Rev. Ambrose Lane Sr.

Anti-poverty activist and radio host -- via the Washington Post

Kenneth Franklin Weaver

Writer for National Geographic for 30-plus years, who specialized in stories on the space program -- via warrenmcelwain.com

Don Partridge

Musician known in England known as the "king of the buskers" -- via Music Week

Vinnie Doyle

Irish newspaper editor -- via the Irish Independent

Jackie Burroughs

Actress of stage, film and TV -- via Toronto City News

Malcolm Douglas

Documentary filmmaker and original "crocodile hunter" -- via the Australian

Mike Cezilic

Sports writer -- via msnbc.com

Geoffrey Burgon

Composer for concert hall, film and television -- via the BBC

Fud Leclerc aka Fernand Urbain Dominic Leclercq

Pianist and singer -- via esctoday. He is remembered for being the first person to acquire no points at all in the Eurovision Song Contest -- but I don't think he sounds that bad. Besides, what a great name -- Fud Leclerc.

Jennifer Rardin

Author best known for her work in the spy-fi/urban fantasy genre -- via expressionstributes

Judith Merkle Riley

Professor of government and historical novelist -- via the L.A. Times

Manohari Singh

Sax man noted for his Bollywood work -- via the Independent

Ray Coleman

Outfielder for the Browns, Athletics, White Sox and Dodgers -- via the amazing detective abilities of Bill Schenley; groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries and the Oklahoman. Also, here's a nice profile of him from Gary Bedingfield's baseballinwartime.com.

Pandit Puttaraj Gawai

Musician, writer and dramatist -- via the Hindustan Times

Jimmy McMath

Outfielder with the Cubs in 1968 -- via the indefatigable Bill Schenley, Tim Copeland, and http://groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries

Funerals go online: the coming rush of Web obituary and rememberance services and sites

A well-done piece by David Elbert in the Des Moines Register talks about online funerals, Web sites devoted to commemoration, and more.

Obituary analysis: how do we define our feelings?

New Indian Express film critic Baradwaj Rangan analyzes the difficulties inherent in obituary writing -- via Blogical Conclusion.

On obituary writing: do's and dont's

A nice little editorial by Cathie Rov at the Coast Reporter that meditates on the do's and dont's of obituary writing.

Bill Littlejohn

Animator -- via the L.A. Times.

Ahmad Salaheldeen aka Earl Ezell Jr.

Jazz saxophonist -- via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Kazuo Okuda

Double bassist -- via doublebassblog.org.

Lawrence 'Cool DJ Law' Brown

Popular broadcaster -- via the Hampton Roads Pilot Online

A. Ronald 'Ron' Menchine

He was the last radio voice of the Washington Senators, but so much more! He acted in films, collected baseball and football memorabilia, and wrote as well. Via Bill Schenley, and Frederick N. Rasmussen at the Baltimore Sun.

Murray Sayle

One hell of a great journalist -- via the Independent

Buddy Collette

More than just a top-notch jazz multi-instrumentalist and bandleader. He worked hard to integrate the West Coast music scene, fought for the musicians' union, and served as a fount of information on the history of music in the area as well. Quite a guy!
Dig his beautiful tone . . .

Fathi Osman

Islamic scholar -- via the New York Times

Irving Ravetch

Wonderful Hollywood screenwriter and producer -- via Deadline Hollywood. Often collaborating with his wife, Harriet Frank Jr. (both pictured above), Ravetch wrote some of my favorite films: "Vengeance Valley," "Hud," "Hombre," "The Reivers," "The Cowboys," "Norma Rae" and "Murphy's Romance," among others.

Leonard Skinner

High-school gym teacher whose name was the inspiration for the name of rock-band great Lynyrd Skynyrd -- via the New York Times.

Can 'old age' again be listed as a legitimate cause of death?

Increased longevity is making it more difficult for physicians to identify and differentiate among immediate and underlying causes of death, as well as significant factors contributing to death. An excellent story by David Brown at the Washington Post.

More Mexican journalists killed: paper pleads with cartel for mercy

The second journalist in two years is killed at El Diario, the newspaper in Ciudad Juarez. The editorial staff writes an op/ed addressed to the drug gangs, asking them for a solution. It seems that law and order is out of order in northern Mexico. An excellent story by Nick Valencia at CNN.

Historian to unite Chandler's, wife's remains

A perfect feature story by John Rogers via the Denver Post and the Associated Press. It tells us that Loren Latker, a historian focused on the life and work of oft-imitated, never-surpassed crime novelist Raymond Chandler (pictured above), has arranged for the ashes of his wife to be united with his remains at a cemetery in San Diego. It turns out he wanted to be cremated and placed next to her; however, this seems to be the best the system can do. Latker will inter her this coming Valentine's Day during a graveside celebration and plans to serve drink vodka gimlets at the event.

Sally Holloway

A great pioneering female journalist, radio broadcaster and historian. Via the Telegraph

Marilyn Cantor Baker

TV, radio and nightclub performer; she was the first female disc jockey in New York; and she wrote sitcoms such as "Love, Sidney." Via Sitcoms Online and Legacy.com. The fourth of vaudeville, film and radio star Eddie Cantor's oft-referred-to five daughters.

Jose Antonio Labordeta

Poet, singer, professor and politician -- via Though Cowards May Flinch

Laszlo Polgar

Hungarian operatic bass -- via Associated Press

Jessie James 'Mitch' Mitchell, Sr.

Ace Negro Leagues centerfielder and respected batter -- via the Birmingham News.

Wayne Twitchell

Major League pitcher and All-Star -- via the Oregonian

Joseph L. Harsh

Civil War historian -- via the Alexandria, VA Connection