Archive for the ‘Death notices’ Category

Rehab return day

December 5, 2023

It’s a foggy day in Palo Alto town, on the anniversary of my return home from a Palo Alto rehab center on 12/5/20, after having given up drinking several weeks before, a decision that impelled me into Stanford hospital with alcohol withdrawal syndrome on 11/11; I was moved to the rehab center on 11/17, and then discharged into the world on 12/5, as a recovering alcoholic beginning a new life. So 12/5 is a kind of rebirth day for me.

12/5 comes in between the death days of two remarkable musicians: Frank Zappa on 12/4 and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on 12/6. This year Zappa’s death day was anticipated by Kyle Wohlmut’s posting, on Facebook on 12/3, this inspired digital creation honoring FZ:

(#1) Seeing nothing like this on the (delicatessen food company) Dietz & Watson site, I assume that the Zappa Franks billboard is the work of ingenious bots.

It occurred to me that FZ might have composed the thing himself, that would have been so FZ, but I can find no evidence that he did. So this will be our “Eat Me” homage to him now.


More Sally Thomason, and Anne Cutler too

July 25, 2023

A follow-up to yesterday’s posting “The lost penguin art”, about Sally Thomason’s delightful creature-doodle art, with an excursus on Sally herself:

Sally is not just a good friend of very long standing, and an exceptionally talented creator of these creature doodles, but she is also an enormously distinguished colleague. I will now embarrass her by quoting excerpts from her Wikipedia page

… I stand in awe, while noting that she is one of the world’s nicest people, and very funny, but with a quite direct and penetrating manner that crushes foolishness and fuzziness.

As predicted, all this did indeed embarrass Sally, but I pressed my reasons for praising her this way, reasons that took me back to my appreciation of Anne Cutler, another “one of the world’s nicest people, and very funny, but with a quite direct and penetrating manner that crushes foolishness and fuzziness” (an appreciation that somehow never made it into a posting on this blog).

The program from here on: my (e-mail) exchange with Sally on embarrassment; an interlude on the  American folk song “Give Me The Roses (While I Live)”, directly related to the Sacred Harp song Odem (Second); and then a bit of affectionate appreciation of Anne Cutler (who died, suddenly, last year).


Henry Arnold Zwicky, of Greensboro NC

May 25, 2023

HENRY ZWICKY OBITUARY, published by the Greensboro News & Record on May 24, 2023.

Henry as a young man.

Henry A[rnold] Zwicky, 82, passed on to his permanent home in heaven on Friday, May 19, 2023.

He is survived by nieces; Cathy (Joseph) Burton, Marian (David) Bookhart, Alison (Mark) Claudy, Virginia (James) Ansell, mother of nieces Jean Zwicky Day, special cousin Debby McGann; and many great nieces and nephews.

Henry is predeceased by his parents, Fred and Lucille Cole Zwicky, brother; Fred Zwicky; sister Eleanor Zwicky Justice.

Henry attended Lindley Junior and Greensboro Senior High School. He graduated from N.C. State University and served as a member of the NCSU Rifle team, concert and marching band. He enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing and photography. He spent over 35 years of his career working as an HVAC engineer at AC Corporation. He also worked for M.L. Eakes Company, the Bahnson Company and completed many major projects for Guilford Mills. Henry was a life time member of ASHRAE [the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers] and [the] N.R.A.

The last of the North Carolina Zwickys (in my family), almost exactly my age but quite different from me; he was a guy guy and something of a loner.

His father Fred was the oldest of the five children of Melchior and Bertha Zwicky, and gave his younger son the middle name of his little brother (12 years younger), my father Arnold.

We’re talking considerable time depths here. Henry’s father was born just after the turn of the 20th century (over 120 years ago), my father (and mother) in the year World War I began (109 years ago), Henry and I in 1940, at the beginning of World War II (82 years ago).

So this truly is a Mary, Queen of Scots, not dead yet, posting.

Ed Koren

April 19, 2023

From The New York Times on-line on 4/14, ” Edward Koren, 87, Whose Cartoon Creatures Poked Fun at People, Dies: For six decades in The New Yorker and elsewhere, his hairy, toothy, long-nosed characters offered witty commentary on the foibles of the American middle class” by Robert D. McFadden.

Witty, but gentle and affectionate, reflecting the man’s character, and explaining why he himself was viewed with affection not only by his readers but also by his fellow cartoonists. He has died in the fullness of time, but nevertheless we experience his death as a great loss; he was one of those rare people I feel should have been granted a special dispensation to live forever (as I have written of psycholinguist Anne Cutler — a good friend of mine for 50 years — and chamber musician Geoff Nuttall — an acquaintance from his years in the St. Lawrence String Quartet in residence at Stanford; Koren I never met, but knew only through his work and through the deep regard of his colleagues).


Remembering Sempé

February 13, 2023

E-mail from Bonnie Bendon Campbell this morning, saying that she was about to give a talk on “the great illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempé, who died last year”, and then in her Facebook feed “Un Sempé par jour” her most favorite of his cartoons popped up, so she shared it with me. I had intended to write at some length on Sempé after he died (alas, I hadn’t posted about him while he still lived), but much of 2022 was a disaster in my life, and a great many substantial projects didn’t get finished. So here I am.

Starting with the clown-makeup cartoon:

(#1) ‘I already told you to take your makeup off before you scold them!’ (not to mention the nose, the shoes, …)


Death of a character actor

February 2, 2023

A death notice for Angela Lansbury (last October) and appreciation of her achievements: in The New Yorker, “Angela Lansbury Shimmered Through the Decades: The actress, who died this week at ninety-six, revealed every facet of her talents” by Michael Schulman on 10/12/22 — which I reproduce here so that I can refer to it in a separate posting I’m doing on an AL performance from 1973. I would like readers of the other posting to read Schulman’s piece and take it to heart, because it makes such an important point about AL — that AL was one of the great character actors of all time, her genius being her ability to fully inhabit whatever part she was playing, to be that character, with no hint of showing off how wonderfully she was playing that part.

It follows that if she appears to be guying us, wink-nudging her acting ability at us (something that Meryl Streep, for one, is inclined to do), then that’s because that’s the character she’s playing, that’s who she is in the scene we’re watching; she’s showing us that her character is an impersonator.

Schulman’s piece is an extended appreciation of this genius of hers, so I want it in my AL-1973 posting, but it’s much too long to just insert into the middle of that posting, so I’m providing it here as auxiliary material.

From here on, it’s all Schulman.


Booth, and two great-grand-Booths

November 4, 2022

(#1) Mrs. Ritterhouse, and her cat, mourn with us


The life she lived

July 29, 2022

First, a Google Alert on 7/27, leading to a notice for a gallery retrospective of Jill Zwicky’s photography, that notice in turn leading to an extraordinary obituary for the artist — not so much a death notice as a loving celebration of her life.

The notice, in “Out and about in Petaluma” (in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco) by the Petaluma Argus-Courier staff on 7/26/22:

Vibe Gallery opens a retrospective: The Photography of Jill Zwicky, from July 19-Aug. 3. The reception on July 30 is from 5-8 p.m. to celebrate Zwicky’s life and work, a photographer who died in 2020. [AZ: no, I can’t postpone the appositive modifier of Zwicky like that, any more than you can; it should be: to celebrate the life and work of Zwicky, a photographer who died in 2020]. She was a graphic artist who took up photography later in life, focusing on photographing nature. There will be refreshments and live music by David and Reed Fromer at the reception. Come celebrate Zwicky’s life and support Vibe Gallery


Lauri Karttunen

March 22, 2022

My old friend (for about 55 years now) and wonderful colleague Lauri Karttunen died two days ago (in the morning of 3/20). The briefest summary from the Stanford linguistics chair, Chris Potts, that morning:

Lauri was a towering figure in linguistics and NLP. Numerous observations, concepts, and hypotheses that we all take for granted in these fields trace to his foundational work. The breadth and depth of these contributions is really remarkable: discourse referents, presupposition plugs / holes / filters, implicative verbs, finite state morphology, Finnish morphophonology, natural language inference, and on and on. In all these areas and more, he helped to set the research agenda.

And of course we all know Lauri as a vibrant presence in Linguistics, in the NLP Group, and at CSLI [Stanford’s  Center for the Study of Language and Information]. He shaped the work of generations of Stanford scholars — including turning a number of them into Finnish scholars via his legendary Structure of Finnish courses with Arto [Anttila] and Paul [Kiparsky]!

I’m no longer able to write death notices afresh — for people whose work (of whatever kind) I’ve admired, mentors, colleagues, former students, friends, lovers, whose deaths now pile up in such numbers that I can no longer do them honor, as I once tried to do.

Today, though, I will manage some Musings On Life: on being of some age (only 4 months younger than me, Lauri was for practical purposes the same age as me); and on intimate personal and professional relationships (Lauri having had both with Annie Zaenen, his wife and frequent collaborator, who survives him).


Lila Gleitman

October 1, 2021

🐇 🐇 🐇 Discouraged day yesterday, which I tried to find relief from by posting something small but entertaining, but every posting I started ballooned into a sizable project — including this one, but I’m going to ruthlessly cut out a big file on Lila that I assembled a couple of years ago, when she was still alive and I wanted to celebrate her, but then it just became one of hundreds of other similar merely nascent projects, so instead I’m going to ramble on about Lila and my life and Chuck Fillmore and probably my Aunt Marion, who like Lila was a sporty woman, direct and funny and tonic to be around.

The spur for this posting was Lane Greene’s Johnson column in the 8/21/21 issue of the Economist (which I finally got to yesterday; I’m hopelessly behind on my reading as well as my writing — though I got the bulletin about Lila’s dying — on 8/8, at the age of 91 — from Barbara Partee the day it happened).