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"

Lane Venardos

News producer and executive -- via CBS.

Charles Breijer

Photographer -- via zwartwitfotografie.com.

Richard Turner


Trumpeter -- via the Daily Mail.

Yekaterina Golubeva

Actress -- via Mubi.

Kampane aka Rhian Stoute

Rapper -- via the New York Daily News.

John Read

Creator of the modern arts documentary -- via the Guardian.

Huw Ceredig

Actor -- via the BBC.

Jimmy Sangster

Screenwriter, filmmaker -- via Twitch. Really, one of my horror heroes -- one of the prime movers in the history of Hammer horror, along with Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, Roy Ashton, Bernard Robinson, James Bernard, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley. With no experience, faced with the strictures of reinventing classic horror icons, he wrote the screenplays for "The Curse of Frankenstein," "The Horror of Dracula," "The Mummy," "The Crawling Eye," "Paranoiac," and many other Second Wave horror greats. He even directed cheesy delights such as "Lust for a Vampire" and "The Horror of Frankenstein." Here's a wonderful profile of him from Cinema Retro. Cheers to him -- he took a well-worn genre and helped revitalize it!






Louise Behrend

Violinist and teacher -- via the Washington Post.

Elbert "El" Gray

Anti-violence activist -- via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Akiko Futaba

Singer -- via Kyodo News. One of the top three female vocalists in Japan after World War II. A native of Hiroshima, she narrowly escaped annihilation on Aug. 6, 1945, when the train she was riding went into a tunnel moments before the atomic bomb exploded, destroying her city.

From the Kitsap Sun: "A tribute to a worthwhile habit"

A lovely think-piece by Rob Woutat on the power, utility and beauty of well-written obituaries -- via the Kitsap Sun.

Gualtiero Jacopetti

Filmmaker -- via the New York Times. Best known as the father of the shockumentary, with his 1962 hit "Mondo Cane." It spawned a subgenre of film that purported to focus on true-life, gruesome and strnage aspects of world culture, life and death. It also brought us the Oscar-winning theme/love song, "More," strangely enough.

Raoul Ruiz

Filmmaker -- via Indiewire.




Robert Breer

Avant-garde animator - via the New York Times. His influence extended to talents as diverse as Stan Brakhage and Terry Gilliam.



Betty Thatcher aka Betty Thatcher Newsinger

Lyricist -- via Renaissance blog. A vital contributor to '70s prog-rock band Renaissance, whose sound and philosophy entranced us during the period, and contributed mightily to the marijuana intake of the time's teenage population.



Joel Chin

Reggae producer -- via Billboard.

Robert L. "Bob" Will

Former MLB player for the Cubs -- via legacy.com.

Jeffrey Ash

Broadway adman and producer -- via Broadway World.

Sif Ruud aka Sif Einarsdotter Ruud Fallde

Actress -- via svd.se. Her career began on stage in 1934; she appeared most memorably in the Bergman films "Wild Strawberries," "The Magician," "Face to Face" and the Bergman-scripted "The Best Intentions."

Topi Sorsakoski aka Pekka Erkki Juhani Tammilehto

Singer -- via iltasanomat.fi.

Joe Trimble

Former MLB pitcher -- via baseball-fever.com.

Albert Brown

Oldest survivor of the Bataan Death March -- via the New York Times.

George C. DeVol

Inventor of the robot arm -- via the New York Times. He also invented an early microwave oven, called the "Speedy Weeny."

Jackie Hudson

Nun and activist -- via the Seattle Times.

James M. Flinchum

Journalist and editor -- via wyomingnews.com.

Jack Kujawski

Bartender -- via the Washington Post.

Del Connell

Animator and cartoonist - via newsfromme.com.

Bob Swank aka Owl Meat Gravy

Writer and poet -- via the Baltimore Sun.

Nicholas Val Napolitano

He gave his life to save someone else's -- via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Juliet "Judy" Kellogg Markowsky

Naturalist -- via the Bangor Daily News.

Jim Penland

Artist -- via nj.com.

Daniel D. McCracken

Computer scientist and writer -- via the New York Times. For decades, he was easily the widest-read "how-to" author on computers, computing and computer language.

Tareq Masud

Filmmaker -- via AFP.

Robert Robinson

Radio and television host, writer and aphorist -- via the Telegraph.

Ernie Johnson Sr.

MLB pitcher and broadcaster -- via mlb.com. He was on the air for 37 years -- a monster talent!

Roger Cartwright

Expert on Morris dancing -- via the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

M. Kenneth Oshman

Electronics executive -- via the New York Times. He pioneered the management style that I have found to be most productive -- a supportive and informal atmosphere that encourages vital engagement and camaraderie.

Noach Flug

Holocaust survivor, and activist -- via Haaretz.

Carlton Roy

Businessman and civil rights activist -- via AP.

Newton Thornburg

Writer -- via the Guardian.

T. A. Birrell

Scholar, and historian of the Royal Library -- via the Independent.

Guillermo Zarur

Actor -- via TV Notas.

Richard G. Snyder

Saxophonist -- via sfgate.com.

Jiri Traxler

Jazz composer, lyricist and arranger -- via ceskenoviny.cz.

Roger Hahn

Pioneering historian of science -- via newscenter.berkeley.edu.

Shammi Kapoor aka Shamsher Raj Kapoor

Actor and director -- via the Times of India. One of Bollywood's biggest stars.

Vic Dunlop

Comedian -- via voy.com.