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"

Tom Murrin aka "The Alien Comic"

Performance artist -- via the New York Times.


Carolyn Reeder

Author of historical fiction for children -- via the Washington Post.

Rushworth M. Kidder

Ethicist -- via the L.A. Times.

Gloria Sachs

Fashion designer -- via the New York Times.


Hazel Medina

Actor -- via theatermania.com.

Michael "Big Mike" Hossack

Drummer for the Doobie Brothers -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

Pierre Schoendoerffer

Oscar-winning filmmaker, and novelist -- via the New York Times.

F. Sherwood Rowland

Nobel Prize-winning chemist who discovered that some aerosol compounds degraded the Earth's vital ozone layer -- via the New York Times.

Jerome Eisner

Jazzman -- via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Vincent C. LaGuardia Jr.

Conductor - via the Denver Post.

Encyclopedia Britannica (print edition)

One of the thousands of pictures of Encyclopedia volumes shot to illustrate the rash of stories about the demise of the printed version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Thanks to Doug Turley for requesting this obit!
More ink has been shed on this story than seems possible. I have selected four stories out of the avalanche that seem to best represent the spread of opinion about the demise of this once-ubiquitous resource. Owning it was a sign of prestige. Cribbing out of it for school reports was common. Leafing through it on a rainy day was immensely rewarding. And the jokes and cartoons about its salesmen can now go sit beside those concerning blacksmiths, lamplighters and switchboard operators.

There is something unbeatable about the illusion of having all the knowledge of the universe compiled tidily between the covers of these multiple volumes. Their wonderful heft and tactile reward, the wonderful musty book-smell of them, the bland assurance of their prose -- so reassuring.

Now, of course, we can harbor the illusion that we have all the knowledge of the universe compiled digitally, at the beck of our typing fingertips. That illusion has yet to be supplanted.

Anyway, here are your posts:

Christian Science Monitor -- the basic facts.

Huffington Post -- memories of an encyclopedia salesman.

Slate -- the author hated the Encyclopedia Britannica, and tells us why.

The Guardian -- going bravely onward into the Information Revolution.

Worse than death: its paperwork

Here's an enlightening post from Paula Span via the New York Times on the frustrations of all the bureaucratic machinations that must take place when a death occurs.

Leonardo Cimino

Actor -- via the New York Times.

Ian Turpie

Entertainer and TV game-show host -- via www.news.com.




Jean Giraud aka Moebius

Illustrator -- via the San Francisco Chronicle. His distinctive style and vision was revolutionary, especially in the depiction of science fiction, fantasy and adventure.



James Trager

Encyclopedist, chronologist, and writer -- via the New York Times.


Andrij Dobriansky

Bass-baritone -- via the New York Times.


Sol Schiff

Table tennis champion -- via the New York Times.

Benedict Freedman

Writer -- via the New York Times. He co-wrote 11 novels with his wife Nancy, including the popular "Mrs. Mike."

Eric Roseberry

"Lecturer, writer, scholar, organist, broadcaster, teacher, pianist, conductor, editor and enthusiast" -- via the Independent.

Simon Marsden

Photographer -- via the Telegraph.

Bugs Henderson

Bluesman -- via the Dallas Observer.

Ravi Shankar Sharma aka Ravi aka Bombay Ravi

Composer and music director for film -- via the Times of India.

Florence Wolfson Howitt

Writer -- via the New York Times.

Don Marion

Actor -- westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Pierre Tornade

Actor -- via westernsallitaliana.blogspot.com.

Wallace Earl Laven aka Amanda Harley

Actress, singer and dancer -- via Legacy.com.

Jay Ward

Former player with the Twins -- via the Highland, MA News Leader.

Big Walter "The Thunderbird" Price

Bluesman -- via the Houston Press.

Joe (Gene) Byrd

Jazz bassist and guitarist -- via the Washington Post.

Jerome Courtland aka Courtland Jourolmon Jr.

Actor, director and producer -- via Variety.

Jim Obradovich

Former MLBer -- via the Lancaster, KY Advocate-Messenger.

Frank Marocco

Accordionist -- via the L.A. Times. He could swing it!



Lloyd Hittle

Former pitcher for the Senators -- via baseballhappenings.net.

Carl Machover

Computer graphics pioneer -- via prweb.com.

Sayuri Yamauchi

Voice actress -- via blog.bcdb.com.

Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer

Steve
Chris
Skiers -- via the Huffington Post.

Simin Daneshvar

Novelist, writer, translator and academic -- via the Iranian.

Harry Wendelstedt

Umpire -- via the New York Times. He was fair, honest and accurate.

Philip Madoc

Actor -- via the Guardian.

Mark Flint

Conductor -- via the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

Joy Mukherjee

Actor -- via The Hindu.

Robert Temple Ayres

Illustrator -- via the L.A. Times. Best known for his map of the imaginary Ponderosa ranch, home of the characters in TV's "Bonanza."

Steve Bridges

Comedian and impressionist -- via the New York Times.

Louis Carette aka Felicien Marceau

Novelist, essayist and playwright -- via indiebookspot.com.

Don Mincher

Former MLB first baseman -- via the L.A. Times. He was the only player who played for the Washington Sentors and two of its later incarnations -- the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers.