Category Archives: obituary

Theo died

I’m terribly sad to report that Theo, the beloved cat of readers Laurie and Gethyn, passed away yesterday. Although I never met Theo, who lives with his staff in London, he’s been featured on this site several times, most notably because he drank espresso coffee without cream or sugar (see here).  I hoped to meet […]

G. H. W. Bush “passed”?

Humans have many ways to circumvent the reality and finality of death. Besides all my friends who are eating kale and quinoa to stave off the Reaper as long as possible, there are simple semantic fixes. When I visited Cornwall in 2005, I noticed that many gravestones in the local cemetery preceded the date of […]

Leon Lederman dies at 96, sold Nobel Prize medal to pay for medical care

Here’s a really disturbing tweet (h/t: Matthew): the American dream – selling your NOBEL PRIZE to pay for medical treatment https://t.co/i7NYj7ha9S — Laura Elliott (@TinyWriterLaura) October 4, 2018 Leon Lederman was a beloved Chicago colleague who received the 1988 Physics Nobel Prize, along with two others, for work on neutrinos. Later in his life, after […]

John McCain died

This happened faster than I expected. Wasn’t it just two days ago that Senator McCain announced that he was abjuring all further treatment for his brain cancer? But what treatment would they have been giving him when he was so close to death, save morphine? But here’s the new CNN announcement (click on screenshot to […]

Aretha, Queen of Soul, dies

by Grania Aretha Franklin died in Detroit today reportedly from advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76. The world has lost an irreplaceable voice, although her music will be immortal. People are paying tribute to her life and her work from all over the globe. What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and […]

R.J. “Sam” Berry, 1934-2018

by Greg Mayer Robert James ‘Sam’ Berry, Emeritus Professor of Genetics in the Genetics, Evolution and Environment Department at University College London, died on March 29 of this year, following a stroke the previous summer. For decades, Berry had been a major figure in population and ecological genetics.  Announcing his death on the UCL website, […]

Anthony Bourdain dead of suicide at 61

Oh dear; of all the food writers and broadcasters I know, Anthony Bourdain was my favorite. I remember reading Kitchen Confidential, and was both repulsed (at what goes on in kitchens) and enthralled (at the stories and his pull-no-punches prose).  After that I didn’t read any of his books, but I watched his various food-show […]

Philip Roth died

Philip Roth, one of America’s most famous living authors, is no longer living: he died yesterday in Manhattan of congestive heart failure at age 85.  From the New York Times eulogy: Mr. Roth was the last of the great white males: the triumvirate of writers — Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others — […]

On accepting death: scientist David Goodall ends his life at 104 through self-assisted suicide; Barbara Ehrenreich gives up on preventive medical care

As we grow older (and by “we,” I mean “I”), one’s thoughts tend naturally to turn to mortality. The comparison of your age to that of those listed in the paper’s obituaries becomes a depressing habit, one gives up beloved foods and behaviors in an effort to stay alive as long as possible, and you […]

Tom Wolfe died

According to many sources, including the New York Times, author Tom Wolfe has died at 88 in New York City. He had been hospitalized for an infection. There was much of Wolfe’s prose I admired, particularly his books The Right Stuff, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.  I didn’t pay much […]