Tag: obituaries

Member Post

 

On May 1, 2017, I wrote the obituary of someone who died on March 25, 2019. Of course I left the date of death blank. I could not have guessed it. Indeed, until the latter date, I mean until about midday that very day, I did not think the subject was about to die. As […]

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RIP, Frank Robinson

 

Baseball great Frank Robinson passed away on Thursday at the age of 83.

Robinson was a star athlete at McClymonds High School in Oakland, California. And he was not the only star athlete at the school. One of his teammates on the basketball team was Bill Russell, while on the baseball diamond at McClymonds and at the local American Legion Post his teammates included Vada Pinson (a lifelong friend who would also be his teammate with Cincinnati) and Curt Flood. At McClymonds, he was coached by a local legend, George Powles, who was seen as a mentor by many young men.

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RIP John Young

 

John Young, one of NASA’s most remarkable astronauts, died Friday, January 5.

Young was the only man to fly on four different spacecraft (Gemini, Apollo, Lunar Module, and Shuttle) and the first NASA astronaut to fly in space six times. He flew on the first Gemini mission, landed on the Moon, commanded the first Shuttle mission, and the first Shuttle Spacelab mission.

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Jerry Pournelle, R.I.P.

 

Jerry PournelleAlex Pournelle reports that his father, Jerry Pournelle, has died. Jerry Pournelle (to whose name we can now, sadly, append [1933–2017]) was a technologist, author of science fiction and fact, political operative, computer and technology journalist, and one of those people who more than deserved Robert Heinlein’s designation as a “fair witness”.

Jerry Pournelle played a key part in developing the strategy which became President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. He opposed both Gulf Wars, arguing that the money spent on them could be better spent on developing energy independence, including deployment of solar power satellites.

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A Page One Death

 

CelebWith the death of Prince, Friday’s London Telegraph echoes our own James Lileks in asking about the plethora of celebrity deaths in 2016. Are people really dying off at a faster rate? Or has the bar for celebrity status been so lowered that more people are written about, Tweeted about and generally gossiped about than ever before?

I favor the latter theory above everything else. With the rise of the Internet and social media, we have given birth to new classifications of “stars.” Forbes now runs a list of the richest YouTube Stars. People whose passing may not have even merited much more than filler on the agate type pages 20 years ago now get links on Drudge Report and hundreds of comments on TMZ.

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René Girard, R.I.P.

 

imageUntil his death in yesterday’s early hours, René Girard lived across the street from us, and becoming his friend — we used to get together for lunch or coffee — represented one of the signal joys of my life. Born in Avignon on Christmas Day 1923, René studied medieval history in Chartres while modern history, in the form of the German occupation, took place all around him. (Visiting Paris once during those years, he was once stopped by a gendarme, who asked him to produce his papers. When René displayed his passport, the policeman recognized it as a forgery at once. René thought the policeman would arrest him. Instead, he gestured to the other end of the street, where German soldiers stood peering at them, returned the passport, and told René to go back the way he came. ” Instead of putting me in jail,” René explained, “that man saved my life.”)

Traveling to the United States to pursue an academic career — René taught at Indiana University (where he met his wife, Martha, who survives him) and at half a dozen other institutions before settling at Stanford — René began to study myths, anthropology, and theology. In the course of a long career, he produced some thirty erudite, profound volumes. Much of his thought is complex; I’ve found myself pausing to consider a single paragraph or passage for minutes at a time. Yet, perhaps his best-known insight — certainly the one that has meant the most to me — is quite simple and turns one of the most famous works of comparative religion ever published, Frazer’s The Golden Bough, upside down.

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What We Owe

 

24wheeler-web-superJumboIf you haven’t already, take a few minutes to read The New York Times’ obituary for Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, the Delta Force operator killed on Thursday during a raid on an ISIS prison. Seriously, go read it. Just be warned that it may break your heart a little. To say that Wheeler appears to have been an exemplar of American values and masculinity is to rather miss the mark.

There is probably no more manipulative question than to ask whether a war is worth the life of a given soldier. It’s a stupid way to judge things. It asks you to judge a macro event by a micro standard in a way that grossly stacks the deck in favor of the latter. It’s also usually dishonest in that it denies our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen their agency. Surely, MSG Wheeler, a veteran of nearly 20 years, thought his fighting was worth the risk, and there are pesh merga forces and ISF prisoners alive — as well as ISIS fighters dead — in no small part because of his actions. Moreover, it’s abundantly clear that the Army is a huge part of what made Wheeler such a great guy.

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RIP, Yogi Berra

 

66653Yogi Berra — one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history, and one of its wittiest sages — has died at 90, exactly 69 years to the day after his major league debut with the Yankees. Since then, he became a 15-time All Star, three-time American League MVP, and led teams from both leagues to the World Series as a manager. In all, he either played or managed 21 World Series, thirteen times for the winning team.

Berra was a beloved figure for the sayings he offered which came to be known as Yogi-isms, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” probably being the most famous. He once gave directions to his house as “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”

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Member Post

 

There will be an inescapable lack of creeping terror in my home tonight, for my little black widow has died. We had only eight months together, but they were eight good months. Now I have to call Mother. She will be thrilled. More

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