exordia

"How are we to help those who die and those who have died?"
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

"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"

Marv Tarplin

Guitarist and songwriter -- via the Detroit News. A great American musician, he also wrote or co-wrote such classics as "The Tracks of My Tears," "Ain't That Peculiar," "I'll Be Doggone," and "Being with You."

Bill Taylor

Former MLB outfielder -- via Bill Schenley and groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries.

Jiri Hubac

Dramatist and screenwriter -- via radio.cz.

Wilson Greatbatch

Inventor and engineer, best known for creating the first practical, implantable pacemaker, as well as the lithium battery -- via the New York Times.

Sylvia Robinson

Singer, songwriter and music producer; the "Mother of Hip-Hop" -- via the New York Times. Half of the vocal duo Mickey and Sylvia, she later produced the pioneering rap tracks -- "Raper's Delight" and "The Message."


Leonard Dillon

Ska, rocksteady and reggae vocalist, and co-founder of the Ethiopians -- via the Jamaica Observer.

Shirley Chambers

Actress -- via voy.com. Almost forgotten, she had small parts in a number of highly significant films -- "Gone with the Wind," "The Women," "Nothing Sacred," "Viva Villa!" and Lubitsch's "Merry Widow." She worked with the Three Stooges, Eddie Cantor and Wheeler and Woolsey.

Jerry Haynes aka Mr. Peppermint

Childrens' show host, announcer and character actor -- via WFAA.

Johnnie Wright

Country singer and bandleader -- via the New York Times.

Sara Douglass aka Sara Warneke

Fantasy author -- via the Herald Sun.

Sergio Bonelli

Comic-book author and publisher -- via bigshinyrobot.com.

Maria Elizabeth Macias

Murdered journalist -- via MSNBC.

Arch West

Doritos creator -- via the New York Times.

Surinder Kapoor

Film producer -- via the Times of India.

Jose Miguel Varas

Author, journalist and dissident -- via the Santiago Times.

Robert Whitaker

Photographer -- via the Telegraph.

David Zelag Goodman

Don't let the sour look fool you. Out of the frame, he is making Sam Peckinpaugh hold his leg ala Harpo Marx.
Screenwriter -- via the L.A Times. One of the classically underesteemed Hollywood scribes, he wrote or co-wrote many memorable films in almost every film genre, including the original "Straw Dogs," "Lovers and Other Strangers," "Monte Walsh," "Logan's Run," and the Robert Mitchum adaptation of "Farewell, My Lovely."

Bob Cassilly

Sculptor and founder of St. Louis's City Museum -- via the Riverfront Times.

Gilles Chaillet

Comics writer and artist -- via The Comics Reporter.

Andrew Pierce

Horticulturist and mainstay of the Denver Botanic Gardens -- via the Denver Post.

Lou R. Mills Jr.

Recording engineer -- via the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore's "Godfather of Sound."

Jonathan Cecil aka Jonathan Hugh Gascoyne-Cecil

Actor -- via the Guardian. Best remembered as Hastings to Ustinov's Poirot in numerous projects.

Jessy Dixon

Gospel singer and songwriter -- via the New York Times.

David Croft

TV comedy writer and producer -- via the BBC.

Leroy Looper

Activist and humanitarian -- via the San Francisco Chronicle. After getting his own act together, he helped thousands in amazing ways. Proof positive that you don't need money or power or position to make a difference!

Mick Lea

Actor -- via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bob Coakley

Outdoorsman and filmmaker -- via the Aspen Times and legacy.com.

Jumpin' Jack Neal

Bassist -- via treasureislandoldies.blogspot.com.

Bwen Feleo

Screenwriter and drirctor -- via Cebu Daily News.

Paulette Dubost

Actress -- via Hollywoodland. She made more than 250 movies over a 56-year period. Her most famous roles include Lisette in "The Rules of the Game," Ginette in "Hotel du Nord," Josephine in "Lola Montes," "The Last Metro" and  "May Fools". Renoir, Carne, Ophuls, Truffaut, Malle -- not too shabby!

Alejandro Parodi

Actor -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Gusty Spence

Terrorist turned peacemaker -- via the Guardian.

John Dunning

Film producer -- via the Hollywood Reporter. He provided key support in the early careers of directors such as David Cronenberg and Ivan Retiman.

Shel Hershorn

Photojournalist -- via the Santa Fe New Mexican.

A. Richard Turner

Art historian, scholar and writer -- via the New York Times.

Jack Ingram

The Chili King of Santa Rosa -- via the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

Daniel Webster Litwhiler

All-Star outfielder -- via ESPN. In 1942, he did two things no Major Leaguer had done before -- he had an error-free season, and he stitched together the fingers of his glove.

Wangari Maathi

"Environmentalist, feminist, politician, anti-corruption campaigner, human rights advocate, protester" and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize -- via the New York Times.

Leslie Le Quesne

Professor of surgery whose work beyond the surgical theater helped raise patient survival rates, and helped develop the intensive care unit -- via the Telegraph.

Alastair Reid

Brilliant and entirely overlooked TV director -- via the Independent. Among his accomplishments -- the original TV version of "Traffik," "Tales of the City," and the adaptation of "Nostromo" that David Lean could not pull off!

John Larson

Trumpeter best known for his work with the Ides of March -- via the Chicago Sun-Times. Remember the shattering horn work on the hit song "Vehicle"? John.

Russ Jolley

Conservationist, wildflower and expert and environmental activist -- via oregonlive.com.

Gaspar J. "Buddy" Stall

Historian -- via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

John du Cann aka John Cann

Guitarist -- via seaoftranquility.org.

Oscar Handlin

Historian -- via the New York Times.

Jerry Schad

Master of the hiking guide -- via the L.A. Times.

Frank Driggs

Writer, historian, record producer and collector of jazz photos -- via the New York Times.