"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"

Gil Scott-Heron

Port, musician, and writer -- via the Washington Post. Known today as "the godfather of hip hop," Scott-Heron slashed into prominence as a performer who would cut loose with brilliant streams of words against a background of jazz. His radical political statements made him a household word. Later, his career was slowed by drug addiction. Still, beautiful songs such as "I Think I'll Call It Morning" and "Lady Day and John Coltrane" were inspirational. A great soul.

Jeff Conaway

Actor -- via the New York Times. He will be best remembered as Kenickie in the film adaptation of "Grease," and Bobby in the TV comedy series "Taxi."

Michele Fawdon

Actress -- via encore.

Jim Rothermel

Masterful woodwind player -- via the Marin Independent Journal.

Jack Wolf

Engineer and computer theorist -- via the New York Times.

Eugene Iwaniczko

Scientist -- via the Denver Post.

Rachel Avnery

Peace activist -- via 972mag.com.

William Kloefkorn

Poet and educator -- via the Omaha World-Herald.

Stephen De Staebler

Sculptor -- via the Philadelphia Inquirer.

John Cigna

Radio host -- via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Delphine McClellan

Activist -- via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sid Cutter

Founder of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta -- via KASA.

Leonard Kastle

Opera composer and film director -- via the New York Times. His single film is a classic -- the low-budget, compelling and critically acclaimed "The Honeymoon Killers."

Bob Gould

Bookseller -- via the Sydney Morning Herald.

Kathy Kirby

Singer -- via the Telegraph.

Paul Splittorff

Long-time pitcher and broadcaster for the Kansas City Royals -- via the Kansas City Star.

Walter Soboleff

Tribal leader, minister and activist -- via Alaska Dispatch.

Dick Wimmer

Writer and educator -- via the L.A. Times. He holds the distinction of being the most-rejected published novelist in history. His first novel was rejected 162 times. Way to hang in there, Dick!

Jim Pyburn

Long-time assistant coach in college football, he played outfield for the Orioles for three seasons -- via the Daily Journal.

Dagmar E. Burbriski

"Community activist, commentator, columnist, radio host, gadfly and energetic proponent of civic engagement" -- via iberkshires.com. She must have been quite a character -- she inspired another remembrance here in the Berkshire Eagle.

Willard S. Boyle

Physicist and inventor -- via the L.A. Times. He co-created the charge-coupled device, the basis of all digital imaging.

Ron Bone

Artist -- via the Guardian.

Marian Pankowski

Writer, critic and translator -- via the Guardian.

Michael Ward

Photographer -- via the Guardian.

Donald Krim

President of Kino International -- via the New York Times. His taste and sense of the possible made Kino one of the primary sources of endangered and esoteric films. He worked with Wong Kar-Wai, Haneke and Gitai. He issued the definitive Keaton and Fairbanks restorations -- he saved "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," "The Last Laugh" and "Metropolis." Kino distributes Klimov's wrenching 1985 "Come and See," Tartovsky's "Stalker," the bewitching 1935 "She," "Fantomas." Thank you, sir!