"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"

Martha Gifford Parker Melahn

Botanist, construction worker, decorator, executive secretary, reporter, businessperson and writer -- via the Miami Herald.

Bruno Bianchi

Animator -- via animationmagazine.net.

Juan Carlos Adrianza

Comic and actor -- via beautymania.biz.

David Montgomery

Labor historian -- via the New York Times.

Dugald Stermer

Illustrator and graphic and art designer -- via the New York Times.

Cesaria Evora

One of the greatest singers of the past half-century -- via dn.pt. The chanteuse from Cabo Verde was "discovered" when she was 47 -- proof that you should follow the commands of your heart and have faith that you will be heard! Specializing in momas, fados, modhinas and coladeras, her haunting, clear, penetrating voice had an effortless and intimate power that could rivet your attention instantly.

Bob Brookmeyer

Trombonist, pianist, composer and arranger -- via NPR.

Slim Dunkin aka Mario Hamilton

Rapper -- via wsbtv.com. UPDATE: Thanks to some diligent readers, I pulled down my incorrect photo and have placed a proper one where it belongs.

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

Psychotherapist, academic, biographer and writer -- via the New York Times.

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl demonstrates 'One Hundred Years of Psychoanalysis a Timeline: 1900-2000 from Caversham Productions on Vimeo.

Joe Lonnett

Major-league catcher and coach -- via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

John Jeremiah

Keyboardist -- via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Christopher Hitchens

Journalist and writer -- via the New York Times. A remarkable and witty contrarian, he was an atheist and a Jew; a left-winger who supported the Iraq War; a socialist who loved to drink and smoke and hobnob with the rich and powerful. He was cranky and funny, my favorite combo!

Joe Simon

Comic book writer, artist, editor and publisher -- via Comics Beat. With Jack Kirby, the creator of Captain America.

Kevin Sharpe

Historian -- via the Guardian. "Kevin's writing was characterised by his lucid, reader-friendly prose; he always believed that proper scholarship need not be obscure and that historians should always make their arguments accessible without compromising their standards." Yes! Exactly.

John Dixon

Photographer -- via the Telegraph.

"English" Alan Styles

Famed roadie for Pink Floyd and centerpiece of the group's 13-minute "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" -- via the Mercury News.

Dick Sims

Keyboardist best known for his work with Bob Seger and Eric Clapton -- via Rolling Stone.

Akihiro Takahashi

Director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum -- via the Telegraph. He survived the bombing of Hiroshima, and built on his personal experience of the horrors of atomic warfare to work for disarmament.

Alberto de Mendoza

Actor - via Fox News.

Vida Jerrman

Actress -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Susan Gordon

Actress -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

Jo Ann Sayers aka Jo Ann S. Agle aka Miriam Lucille Lilygren

Actress on stage and in films -- via Princeton Town Topics.

Edgar "Chico" Edwards

Vocalist with the Spinners from 1956 to 1958 and 1962 to 1967 -- via the Motown Alumni Association.

George Ronald Mosley

Vocalist, guitarist and arranger with Ruby and the Romantics -- via ohio.com.

Dan "Bee" Spears

Bassist best known for his long-time work with Willie Nelson -- via Billboard.

George Whitman

Proprietor of the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Paris -- via the New York Daily News.Of course, Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach ran the original Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, but Beach willed her stock and the store name in 1962, 11 years after George had opened his own English-language book shop at 37 rue de la Bucherie. A delightful eccentric and cultural sparkplug!

Russell Hoban

Writer -- via the Guardian.Although he is referred to in the obit as a "cult writer," he is one of my favorite writers of all time and, I think, one of the best writers of the last century. First of all, he wrote the classic "Frances" series of children's books, as well as the brilliant "The Mouse and His Child." He could write in a wide variety of genres, and composed the novel "Turtle Diary" and most importantly "Riddley Walker," an insanely ambitious, complex and disturbing novel of the future with its own weird meta-English.

Samuel Bosch

Tzaddik (righteous one) -- via citizensvoice.com. He served bravely in WW II; he served as a Jewish chaplain and emissary, he worked as an activist. His trademark was a pre-printed card containing a creed of tolerance that he gave to all. It said:

"In my opinion, we will never have peace in this world until all religions make peace with each other.

"I consider a true religion any that will accept and treat the stranger as one of his own and will work to making all people of the universe ONE HUMAN FAMILY.

"I believe that all who are of this universe, no matter the color of our skin, the difference in our features, the way we address and pray to our Creator, are all ONE HUMAN FAMILY, and that Creator loves every one of us."

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/samuel-bosch-who-shared-knowledge-of-judaism-has-died-1.1243461#ixzz1gWJvcWzB

Lisa-Marie Calderone-Stewart

Activist, teacher and minister -- via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Harold Hopkins

Actor -- via ABC News.

Bob Burnett

Musician; member of the prominent folk group the Highwaymen -- via the L.A. Times.

Mario Miranda aka Mario João Carlos do Rosario de Brit de Miranda

Cartoonist -- via the Economic Times.