"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"

Esther Gordy Williams

Esther with Smokey Robinson.
Motown executive -- via the Washington Examiner. She lent her brother Berry $800, and Motown Records was born. She was Motown VP and CFO; later, she founded the Motown Museum.

Cephas Mashakada

Sungura musician -- via NewsDay.

Colin Harvey

Sci-fi author, editor and reviewer -- via Angry Robot.

Glen Croker aka James Glenwood Croker

Lead singer, guitarist, emcee and last surviving member of the Hackberry Ramblers -- via Offbeat.

Jesper Klein

Actor -- via Berlingske.

Samuel Menashe aka Samuel Menashe Weisberg

Poet -- via the New York Times.

Ines Fancovic

Actress -- via vecernji.hr.

Muga Takewaki

Actor -- via Kyodo News.

Gil Courtemanche

Journalist and novelist -- via the Globe and Mail.

Gun Hagglund aka Karin Gunvor Sjöblom Hägglund

The world's first female TV news anchor -- via alexwathen.com.

Mike Flanagan

Former MLB pitcher and broadcaster -- via USA Today. A Cy Young Award winner, All-Star and World Series ring holder -- one of the best pitchers in recent times.

Michael Showers

Actor -- via WWLTV.

Ross Barbour

Ross Barbour, the last surviving member of the original vocalise group the Four Freshmen, is pictured far leftV
Vocalist and musician; last of the original Four Freshmen -- via the New York Times.

Vilem Sokol

Conductor, violist and professor of music -- via the Seattle Times.

Scott Wannberg

Poet -- via the L.A. Times. Here's a nice quote from him: "If humanity had the big answers, it would probably stop scratching under its underwear and actually take time out to smell the nice coffee breeze going by in that unilateral moment of music that we are all made of. Because people are just too hung up on not listening to the music that actually is there. If they had the answers to the big questions, they could follow the music to the dance hall that never closes."

Vicco von Bulow aka Loriot aka Bernhard Victor Christoph Carl von Bülow

Comedian and cartoonist -- via the Washington Post.

Todd Green, Jon Egging, Bryan Jensen

Todd Green -- report here.
John Egging -- report here.
Bryan Jensen - report here.
Aerial stunt artists -- via the Detroit News, Daily Mail and the Kansas City Star. Green fell while wing-walking; Egging and Jensen will killed in plane crashes. The tragic trio of events took place at air shows last weekend. Fatalities at these events are actually relatively rare. No, I will not post video of their deaths!

Kamal El-Shennawi

Film actor -- via Almasry Alyoum.

Samir Chanda

Art director -- via the Times of India.

Reza Badyi

Filmmaker, and prolific TV director -- via the L.A. Times.

George Hendry

Member of the Table Tennis Hall of Fame -- via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Christine Cole Catley

Journalist, publisher and author -- via the Marlborough Express.

John Howard Davies

TV comedy producer/director, and child actor -- via the Telegraph. This remarkable man started his career as David Lean's Oliver Twist --

Eventually, he worked his way into comedy at the BBC. He directed the first episodes of "Monty Python's Flying Circus," and produced and directed "The Good Life," "Fawlty Towers," "Yes, Minister," "Not the Nine o'Clock News," "Mr. Bean" and many more (including the pilot for "Blackadder".)

Nickolas Ashford

Songwriter and performer -- via AP. With his wife Valerie Simpson, he wrote some of Motown's greatest hits -- first, "Let's Go Get Stoned," then "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "You're All I Need to Get By," "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand," and "Destination: Anywhere." Later, they wrote songs such as "I'm Every Woman" and "Solid."

Jerry Leiber aka Jerome Leiber

Lyricist -- via the L.A. Times. One of the great lyricists of the 20th century, he formed the rock 'n' roll/r 'n' b/soul songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller. Among his greatest works are:"Hound Dog," "Kansas City," "Searchin'", "Yakety Yak," "There Goes My Baby," "Love Me," "Jailhouse Rock," "Charlie Brown," "Stand by Me," "On Broadway," "Ruby Baby," "Is That All There Is?", "Love Potion #9," "Poison Ivy," "Riot in Cell Block Number 9," and "Santa Claus is Back in Town." Their music is golden, just absolutely wonderful. We still sing it today.

Ruth Brinker

Founded Project Open Hand, the first program to bring food and comfort to those housebound by their struggle with HIV/AIDS -- via the Bay Area Reporter.

Larry "the Legend" Johnson aka Aaron Rockwell Johnson

Radio personality -- via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Beverly Whitney Kean

Arts detective and scholar, and actress -- via the Telegraph.

David Holbrook

Writer, teacher and scholar -- via the Independent.

Paul "P.K." Worley

Patriarch of theatrical family -- via the Denver Post.