"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"

Jack McGinnis

Ardent environmentalist -- via the Toronto Star. His claim to fame will be his invention of the home recycling bin -- he was known as "The Father of the Blue Box."

Joyce Sloane

Long-time producer and matriarch at Chicago's Second City -- via the Chicago Tribune.

Warren Tsuneishi

Asian expert -- via the Los Angeles Japanese Daily News.

Julius "Jay" Apt

Newspaperman -- via the Temple University School of Communications.

Jim Ayers

Long-time director the the Mill Mountain Theater -- via the Roanoke Times.

Diego Vallmitjana

Expert mountaineer, paraglider, photographer and researcher -- via the Telegraph.

Donald Carroll

Writer, publisher and agent --via the Guardian. The guiding intelligence behind the literary efforts of Quentin Crisp.

Hugh Goldie

Theater director -- via the Telegraph.

Stanislaw Michalski

Actor -- via e-teatr.pl.

John "Zeke" Gardner

An important regional baseball player -- via the Portland Press Herald. In the uncertain economic times of the Great Depression, he chose to work in business and raise a family rather than try out for the major leagues.

Sidney Cipriano

Vocalist -- via clicrbs.com.br.

Isabella Cerqueira Campos

Actress -- via oglobo.com.

Eric Nichol

Humorous columnist and writer -- via the Times Colonist.

Defne Joy Foster

Actress and VJ -- via Hurriet Daily News.

Armando Chin Yong

Operatic tenor -- via www.sinchew.com.my.

Daniela Castelo

Journalist and radio host -- via www.telam.com.ar.

Tatyana Shmyga

Singer -- via echo.msk.ru.

Mahcan Varghese

Actor and comedian -- via indieglamour.com.

Ronald Jacques Piche

MLB pitcher for the Angels, Braves and Cardinals -- via rds.ca.

LeRoy Grannis

The "godfather of surf photography" -- via the OC Weekly.

Lena Nyman

Actress -- via the Swedish Wire. She will be best remembered for her roles in "I Am Curious (Yellow)", "I Am Curious (Blue)" and "Autumn Sonata."

Michael Tolan aka Seymour Tuchow

Actor - via the New York Times.

Edouard Glissant

Poet, writer and literary critic -- via the Washington Post.

Stefanie Kowal aka Stefanie Cragg aka Diana Stefanie Staffin

TV producer, executive and consultant -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

Herbert H. Thomas Jr.

Waiter -- via the Lincoln, NE Journal Star. A very well written remembrance by Jeff Korbelik. A seemingly humble occupation, but as Thomas himself stated: "It's not difficult to be a waiter, but it's extremely difficult to be a good waiter."

Charles E. Sellier Jr.

Film and television producer -- via KIVI-TV. A very successful person, known best for his creation of the "Grizzly Adams" franchise. He was also the guiding intelligence behind "In Search of Historic Jesus," "Beyond and Back," "The Lincoln Conspiracy," and "End Times: How Close Are We?"

Maria Schneider aka Marie Christine Gelin

Actress -- via Reuters. She will be best remembered for her role in the then-controversial "Last Tango in Paris" with Marlon Brando. In fact, her career was derailed by her misapprehension as a sex symbol, not as a serious actress, which she was. Later, mental problems and addiction marred her life -- problems she overcame. " . . .Tango . . .", "The Passenger" and "La Derobade" are three films that show her capabilities.

Aimee Leonard

Singer -- via the Sudbury Star.

Brian Simpson

Academic lawyer -- via the Guardian. He wrote "Cannibalism and the Common Law."

Margaret John

Actress in film and television -- via Wales Online. She will be best remembered in the role of the acerbic Doris in the sitcom "Gavin and Stacey."

Hisaye Yamamoto

Writer -- via the Los Angeles Japanese Daily News.

Luangta Maha Bua aka Bua Lohitdee

Monk -- via the Telegraph.

Helene Palmer aka Helene Mapplebeck

Actress -- via the Guardian.

Liza Vorfi

Actress -- via ekonomisti.net.

Doc Williams aka Andrew John Smik Jr.

Country singer -- via CMT News.

Mel Prestidge

Actor -- via classictvhistory.wordpress.com.

Dennis Albanese

Actor -- via voy.com.

Tony Di Pardo

Trumpeter, bandleader, and iconic Kansas City Chiefs fan -- via the Kansas City Star.

Thomas R. Hargrove

Agricultural explorer and consultant, writer, editor, songwriter -- via the Chronicle. His many adventures included discovering an underwater city, and being kidnapped by Colombian rebels.

Alex Konadu aka One Man Thousand

Musician -- via Osibisaba. The reigning king of Ghaninan guitar highlife.

Louis Hartman

Comedy writer, radio personality, and Zen monk -- via the San Francisco Chronicle.

Megan McNeil

Singer -- via Surrey Now.

Betty Smith

Saxophonist and singer -- via the Independent.

Shirley Carroll O'Connor

Publicist who got her start with the circus -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

Margaret Price

Soprano -- via Gramophone.

Tony "Ham" Guerrero

Trumpeter and singer -- via the San Antonio Express.

Milton Babbitt

Composer -- via the New York Times. Although he may be dismissed by posterity as a serialist, his atonal work is rewarding for those who can stick it out. He was a bold and committed experimenter, equipped with a playful sense of humor. Blessed with profound mathematical gifts, he was among the first composers to write for electronic, synthesized and manipulated recorded music.

UPDATE: Robert Hilferty's documentary on Babbitt was stopped due to Hilferty's untimely death in 2009. Good news! Composer Laura Karpman was commissioned by Hilferty's companion Fabio Toblini to finish the film, and it's done. It can be seen here, and below --

Diana Norman aka Ariana Franklin

Journalist, freelance writer and novelist -- via the BBC.

John Barry aka John Barry Prendergast

Film composer -- via the BBC. A five-time Oscar winner -- not only one of the most popular film composers, but one of the most significant. He will be forever identified with his multiple James Bond movies scores, but his range was much broader, and his artistry was infinitely more subtle and affecting. 50 years -- 110 titles -- a mighty contribution. Also, a tribute and remembrance from the Guardian --