Monday, December 9, 2013

John J. Ruby, Jr., 62, passed away reluctantly

RUBY, John J., Jr. Passed away October 30, 2013, at the age of 62, reluctantly. Fiercely loyal and infinitely generous, he made one hell of an impact on the world. ... For anyone watching, it was clear that John was the tenth man at Fenway last night as his Red Sox clinched game six of the World Series at home for the first time in nearly a century. (H/T to Peter Elikann)

Friday, December 6, 2013

John Judy, 44, 'greatest man to ever live'

After college, he set off on his sailboat for a journey to be forever known as "Noah's Ark in reverse" where he endeavored to eat one of every animal. His only regret in life is that he was not able to complete this task.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Peter Kaplan, 59, 'chronicled every move and shake' in Manhattan

Though he went on to help carry The Observer across the digital threshold, overseeing the creation of its website, Mr. Kaplan was regarded by those who knew him as a throwback to an earlier age — to the New York of the Stork Club, the Automat and the Algonquin. He revered the stuff of that era, from classic black-and-white films that portrayed the city at its noirish finest (he knew the credits of nearly all of them by heart) to newspapers as they were originally conceived: damp, sweet-smelling and black and white, or, in his case, black and pink.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pomp Lentini, 97; not the best obit but ... my dad

He was a man of many interests, alternately rehabilitating the family’s 1846 original Moss family home (a point of pride), raising farm animals, mastering the art of photography, acting in local theater, becoming an award-winning winemaker with his own Chateau Lentini label, riding motorcycles, learning to embroider and working with computers. Many articles about him have been written in the Waterbury, New Haven and Meriden newspapers. His photographs have been displayed at the Cheshire Public Library. And check out my FB page,, where Peter Elikann has written a wonderful eulogy about my dad. Thanks.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Elizabeth Ghaffari, busted at the seams of her small-town Western life

As Betty Lindholm, she grew up in Logan, Utah with her older sister, Ellen. From a young age, Betty had an individualistic spirit, refined taste, and a thirst for travel and experience that busted at the seams of her small-town Western life. She began subscribing to the New Yorker magazine as a teenager and delighted in listening to New York Philharmonic broadcasts on the family radio. She had a low tolerance for prejudice of any kind, and was often able to defuse such situations through logic, persuasion, or humor.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bad days to die? So many bad days to die ...

To the extent one cares about one’s death making a news splash, it’s best as a rule not to expire on the same day, or nearly the same day, as a Kennedy. Such was the case with the author Dominick Dunne, who died in 2009 the day after Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Dunne’s family initially refused to confirm his death, concerned that the tsunami of coverage on Kennedy’s would swamp Dunne’s obituary.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Martin Masters joins the passing parade

Following graduation, Masters worked for a series of newspapers, including the Hartford Courant, the Hartford Times, and the New York World-Telegram & Sun. He was also a contributor to the New York Times. He said he felt most at home in the city room of a newspaper, with the teletype machines and typewriters clickety-clacking away in the background.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Virginia M. Hicks, 90, reprimands friends from beyond the grave

There will be no viewing, no funeral services. You should have all visited me with kind attention when I needed you to put a smile on my face and love in my heart. (H/T Jim Romenesko)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rena Petruzzi, 108, lived a century in one place

She prided herself on being the first woman to hold a driver's license in Town Plot, and was fond of the expression "watch my dust." As a flapper in the 1920s, she was also an early speculator in the stock market, as well as a championship bridge player.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

William Freddie McCullough, the man, the myth, the legend

He attracted more women than a shoe sale at Macy's. He got married when he was 18, but it didn't last. Freddie was no quitter, however, so he gave it a shot two more times. It didn't work out with any of the wives, but he managed to stay friends with them and their parents. (H/T Jim Romenesko)

Virginia Secor, 91, services to be held near the Bowery

Virginia attended P.S. 3, an old mansion in Astoria, where the family dog Storm was allowed to stay in the principal's office until it was time to go home, where the canary "Lucky Lindy" awaited. Virginia grew up in a neighborhood peopled by America and Europe's diaspora: Italians who guarded the streets, Czechoslovakian neighbors who taught her how to knit with willow sticks and torn rayon stockings. Also shared by Civil War veterans, widows, and manufacturers who left the south and continued to trade with gold coinage after FDR established the Silver Standard.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick, vicious mother

I think some of you may wonder why I'm not posting this viral obit. For one thing, the photographic evidence of it that I saw listed her death date as Sept. 30, 2013. And for another ... I've read that the obit has since been taken off the Reno paper's site until further investigation. I am awaiting the results of that investigation. Be well. Update: In the Reno Gazette Journal, an article elaborates on the situation, which seems to have been filled with undiagnosed mental conditions at best.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mary A. "Pink" Mullaney, 85, made the car dance by lightly tapping on the brake

Her spirit is carried on by her six children, 17 grandchildren, three surviving siblings in New "Joisey", and an extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life. We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years, among them:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

William G. Wood, 93; email his daughter for details

"If you want to know more about my WW II father, email me @ because he would have rolled over in his grave over the exorbitant price of this obituary." I have emailed her and will post his obit here, for free, if she send it to me. What do you think of the price newspapers charge to print obits?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beverley J. Scovish, born of Joseph and Mary on Dec. 24

She wasn't afraid to speak her mind no matter where she was or who she was talking to, even if it was in the middle of Wal-Mart, which by the way was one of her favorite places to go. She was an avid reader, enjoyed the outdoors, bird watching, solving crossword puzzles, watching comedy shows on television and liked the color blue.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Evelyn O. DeVita, 95, a woman on the move

She saw Frank Sinatra at the Paramount, heard Marlon Brando yell "Stella" on Broadway, chatted with Keith Richards on the beach in St Martin and died in her own bed in her own house. (H/T to Peter Elikann)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Jane Catherine Lotter, 60, got to write her own obit

I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky woman, who led a lucky existence, and for this I am grateful. I first got sick in January 2010. When the cancer recurred last year and was terminal, I decided to be joyful about having had a full life, rather than sad about having to die. Amazingly, this outlook worked for me. (Well, you know, most of the time.) Meditation and the study of Buddhist philosophy also helped me accept what I could not change. At any rate, I am at peace. And on that upbeat note, I take my mortal leave of this rollicking, revolving world-this sun, that moon, that walk around Green Lake, that stroll through the Pike Place Market, the memory of a child's hand in mine.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NPR's Scott Simon tweets his mother's death

"Watching someone die brings us powerfully in touch with how brief—yet intense—each life here is. The tweets, which felt almost aphoristic (a mere hundred and forty characters each), underscored one of the strangest things about being with someone at the end of her life: the surreality of time, the way that time bends and distorts, becomes material. Suddenly, we are aware that the sunny summer days won’t go on forever. Our time is limited. It’s the most obvious thing in the world, and yet the most elusive." There was a lot of coverage of this new, unusual method of announcing a death, or a pending one. I know I would love to have done the same when my mother died but it took us by surprise and we only had three hours to round everyone up. And maybe some would have found it distasteful. What do you think about Scott Simon's tweets?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Man fulfills lifelong dream and dies ... three miles later

Pam said she feels no anger or resentment at the cruel irony of the situation. Her husband lived his life to the fullest and died living life to the fullest, she said. “It was something he wanted his whole life,” Pam said. “It’s like my son said, ‘Dad went out with the biggest smile on his face.’”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jim Buck, 81, First Professional Dog Walker

Another wonderful obituary by The New York Times' Margalit Fox, the tale of a man who found a void and filled it. Here's a sample: "Mr. Buck knew dogs — as a young man, he bred Great Danes. He also knew New Yorkers. Before long, a void was filled. By 1964, The Times reported, he was making $500 a week, more than his electronics job paid. His cobbler enjoyed a regular cut: Mr. Buck wore through the soles of his shoes every two weeks."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Funny obits bring new life to a dying art, from CNN

Toronto, Canada (CNN) -- Their loved one isn't dead yet but sure seems to be nearly departed. So you could almost hear the organ and smell the lilies as the obit writers gathered and paid their respects to a dying art. They drew comfort from one another as only people who write about the dead for a living can -- sharing cocktails and gallows humor on a Friday night in June, down in the rathskeller of an historic mansion. A band called Canuckistan played hippie-era classics by Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Band (RIP, Levon Helm, 1940-2012.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Scott E. Entsminger, 55, a Cleveland Browns fan through and through!

A lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder, he also wrote a song each year and sent it to the Cleveland Browns as well as offering other advice on how to run the team. He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time. (H/T Jim Romenesko)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

'Mike' Uffelman, wife of 50 years deserved medal of honor

The tall tales from the Navy are so infamous it's easy to see why Mike was neither an officer, nor a gentleman. However, the U.S. military did survive Mike's four years of service, and rumor has it they even retired his uniform.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jason Sheftell,46, well-loved New York City journalist

He walked fast, talked fast, did everything fast. Jason Sheftell was a human whirlwind, racing through each day at 100 mph, savoring every minute of his existence. People like that usually have time for no one. Yet, Jason had time for everyone. And that is why, after news spread of his passing on Monday, the outpouring of emotion on social media was so profound, the grief so deep. (H/T Peter Elikann)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jeffrey M. Daly, a true Dr. Who fan

NEWTON - Jeffrey M. Daly, 67, of Newton, got in the TARDIS on June 17, 2013, and has left for places and times unknown. Expressions of sympathy may be made to, or any other non-profit organizations that Republicans term "Socialist" and that seek to keep banks, Wall Street, insurance companies, politicians and other traditionally greedy and untrustworthy groups in line. (H/T Jim Romenesko)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Janice “Jan” Louise Wendt Conner,

She became a devoted Southerner by choice when she finally defied the wishes of her mother (who was by all accounts and evidence, the Meanest Woman Who Ever Lived) by marrying and following “that hillbilly” back to Mississippi, where they lived happily until Mr. Conner’s untimely death in 1982, after which Mrs. Conner never gave so much as a thought to another man. ... and there's so much more. Scroll down after the jump for the full obit.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Norma Jean Dreimiller, 79, near-orphan enjoyed wealth of family and friends

As a youngster, she was uprooted and relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, when her father's local photography business struggled. She remembered fondly riding city trolleys, and she developed a life-long love of baseball in general, and fondness for the Cleveland Indians in particular. Tragically, when in fifth grade, Norma lost her mother to a rare heart ailment and was sent to live with grandparents in Ticonderoga. This was the greatest bit of luck she ever had. (H/T to Mike Dreimiller)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sue Sheeler, lived loud up to the end

The gnarled branches of a massive oak tree nearly scrape the roof outside Sue Sheeler's bedroom where the limbs hang low, visible from nearly every window. During construction of the home in 1984, builders suggested she remove the tree - they weren't sure how much longer it would live, they said, and uprooting it would make construction easier. No, she told them. No trees will be cut down. Build the house around them. Over the next decade the tree shaded her family as both expanded. Her children grew into adults under its thick branches. Its deep-grooved bark soon absorbed the laughs of her grandchildren.

Monday, June 3, 2013

John E. Holden, alias Jack, took the Deep Six

Jack was widowed ten years ago after sixty-one years of marriage to Elaine Ewing Holden. He has had a number of other wives recently, none of which were his.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bob Holcomb: 'Don't waste money on flowers'

HOLCOMB, Robert (Bob) Died a couple of days ago which wasn't exactly unexpected as he had been in poopy health for years. (H/T Jim Romenesko)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Frank Bucko, lover of all things New London

Frank Bucko, lover of books, classical music, Broadway shows (especially "Hair"), and humorous situations, passed away on Sunday, May 12, 2013. ... He was the kind of father who would build a snowman that was two stories high, climb to the eye of the Statue of Liberty, and spend an entire day looking for the best sounding laughing box, and, sometimes, he even did what his kids wanted to do.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Peter Worthington: The Life of a Reporter

I regret, too, the nuisance for them of a funeral which they may hope will be well attended, but which I know won’t be, because I tend to be a loner who treated most people decently, but who never encouraged intimacy. My reservations are meaningless and will be ignored. Pity I wasn’t a drinker, then everyone could feel superior and forgive a weakness. (H/T: Peter Elikann)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Poor Waffle House, Antonia Larroux

Waffle House lost a loyal customer on April 30, 2013. Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux died after a battle with multiple illnesses: lupus, rickets, scurvy, kidney disease and feline leukemia. She had previously conquered polio as a child contributing to her unusually petite ankles and the nickname "polio legs" given to her by her ex-husband, Jean F. Larroux, Jr.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

And ... we're off: Barbara McClelland Delahunty, 80

Barbara McClelland Delahunty, 80, of Red Wing, lifelong obituary aficionado, became the subject of her favorite form of literature on April 27. (H/T) Jim Romenesko

Monday, April 29, 2013

Reba Emma Pray, 88; There, it's out there

Reba's favorite pass times were watching the news, reading the newspaper, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes. Most of the time she would do these all at once while at the kitchen table, in a coffee stained bathrobe, even when dinner was burning.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

5 tips for writing a great obit

Most obituaries are about as warm as a cover letter. Maybe every obit-writer feels she has to be sober and staid out of respect for the dead, but the result is that a complex life of loving, striving, petty thieving, and instagramming is reduced to a bland list. Not in the case of Harry Weathersby Stamps. Harry’s obituary in the Biloxi Sun-Herald is a remarkably tongue-in-cheek piece of writing that undoes the genre. In capturing the qualities that made Harry precisely this Harry and no other, it snapshots a gentleman both familiar and unusual—and by all accounts well worth knowing. His character is so tangible that it’s hard to believe we didn’t know him, that he didn’t write this himself, and that he’s gone. Harry is so charmingly portrayed that writers, in particular, should look again: there’s a wealth to be learned from this essay. Here are five tips and tricks for writers courtesy of the world’s best obituary.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

McCandlish Phillips, 85, extraordinary Times newspaperman

He stood out as a writer, for in his hands, even a routine news article, like this account of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade — an annual millstone for the city’s general-assignment reporters — seldom failed to delight: “The sun was high to their backs and the wind was fast in their faces and 100,000 sons and daughters of Ireland, and those who would hold with them, matched strides with their shadows for 52 blocks,” Mr. Phillips wrote in 1961. “It seemed they marched from Midtown to exhaustion.” ... Mr. Phillips joined The Times as a copy boy in November 1952, later working as a clerk on the city desk and in the Washington bureau. In 1955, he was made a cub reporter and consigned to the paper’s Brooklyn office, a dank, decrepit outfit in the borough’s nether regions. Mr. Phillips’s account of life there, written for Times Talk, the newspaper’s house organ (“It is impossible to tell a plainclothes detective from a mugger here. You just have to wait to see what they do”) was so magnificent that his sentence was commuted to service in the main newsroom.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Roger Ebert on existence: "It's not to be missed!"

CHICAGO—Calling the overall human experience “poignant,” “thought-provoking,” and a “complete tour de force,” film critic Roger Ebert praised existence Thursday as “an audacious and thrilling triumph.” Do consider the source ...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Allston Kinsley "Al" Thorndike Jr., 97, ate a carrot every day

He was an avid walker and regularly walked to work. He avoided processed foods and didn't smoke or drink. He ate a carrot every day. Among his favorite sayings: "You have to take it easy going down the old Zambezi."

Friday, April 5, 2013

Martin Joseph Lynch had a wonderful sense of humor

As a native New Yorker, he rooted all his life for the Yankees but forgave those of his descendants who persisted in following lesser teams. Persistence, he believed, was to be encouraged as a virtue, in all its forms.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Paul Shuman, designer of fishing nets and much more

He held a lifelong love of all things wild and natural. His childhood possessions were always unusual and included a cow's eyeball, a pheasant's claw (with working tendon), hamsters, fish, chameleons, baby birds, frogs, and much more. Until the day he died, he took care of the wild creatures that shared his property with him.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Those darn sports teams, they'll get you every time

She both loved and was frustrated by the Chicago Cubs and the Iowa Hawkeyes, but rooted for her teams loyally. She was known to enjoy the occasional (or daily) bourbon and water and holds the unofficial family record for most slot machine winnings by a member over the age of 85. (H/T to Sally Wisdom)
She both loved and was frustrated by the Chicago Cubs and the Iowa Hawkeyes, but rooted for her teams loyally. She was known to enjoy the occasional (or daily) bourbon and water and holds the unofficial family record for most slot machine winnings by a member over the age of 85.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rise Stevens: A professional to the end

In Ms. Stevens’s 351 regular appearances at the Met, her professionalism was perhaps never more apparent than it was in one of her many productions of “Samson et Dalila.” Playing the temptress Delilah, Ms. Stevens reclined on a chaise longue to sing the aria “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix,” among the most famous seductions in opera. One night, overcome with theatrical passion, Samson flung himself onto her mid-aria. Samson did not know his own strength. Under his considerable force, the chaise longue, on casters, began to move. Ms. Stevens sailed offstage and into the wings, still singing.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A simple question

ROSS — Alan Gordon. You are still with us ……. everyday. What is shinola anyway? Love, Mom, Dad and Chris From the New York Times' In Memoriam, March 21, 2013. (H/T Thom Forbes)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Where to begin? At the beginning ...

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mailman who invented Diplomacy

He wasn’t always socially adept, and it didn’t really bother him. His preferred lullaby to sing his kids to sleep was “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” He might sign greeting cards to his family with the rather formal “Regards, Allan.” But he had a wickedly deadpan sense of humor that kept them in stitches. Once, Tatiana presented him with a Valentine’s Day card that mentioned those “three little words.” “Breakfast served anytime,” he intoned in his deep professorial voice. When he used a label maker to make little signs for objects around their home, he added one that was quirkily endearing. He placed a label above the cat’s bowl, at feline eye level. It read: “It is essential in this life that you be your own cat.” (H/T to Joan Lufrano!)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Calling all birds ...

She knew most of the local birds by their names and knew all their calls, and she was quick to notice a new bird in her yard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

He loved everything about NYC, except ...

SHUCHMAN--Amos, of New York, on February 1, 2013. Beloved and caring husband of Alice Shuchman for 51 years, father of Daniel (Lori Lesser) and Nina (Brian Roth), grandfather of Jacob, Sarah, Aaron and Ariela. Born in Tel Aviv in 1928, fought bravely in the Haganah. Loved his family, his birth and adopted countries, finance, skiing, opera, ballet and biking in Central Park. Loved everything about NYC, except the New York Times. Services at Beth El Cemetery (Or Zarua section), Paramus, NJ, Sunday at 11am. Memorial contributions to a charity of your choice. His fearless heart still beats within all of us. Shalom, Saba. Paid notice in ... the New York Times. (H/T) Jim Romenesko

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Took her final bow

East Lyme - Linda Herr took her final bow on Dec. 23, 2012, and journeyed on to her eternal stage. Herr, 72, of Niantic, was professor emeritus of theater at Connecticut College, where she taught for 33 years.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wondering how she liked her burgers?

Carm was a member of the St. Joseph Church choir for many years. She loved singing and music, especially oldies from WNEW's William B. Williams Show, the WNLC Italian hour and her all-time favorite, Frank Sinatra. She loved people and knew how to make a friend wherever she went. She enjoyed reading James Patterson novels, solving crossword puzzles, watching westerns, playing softball, bowling, rooting for the Yankees, eating medium-rare hamburgers, sipping VO on the rocks and taking trips to places including California, Washington, D.C, Florida, Iowa, Georgia, England and Ireland. Her most favorite vacations were spent in Newport, R.I., enjoying the pubs and restaurants, kite flying at Breton Point, boat rides, picnics and polo matches.