Gloria S. Ross

Gloria S. Ross is the head of Okara Communications and AfterWords, an obituary-writing and design service.

Martin Duggan
The Nine Network

Martin Duggan became the leader of Donnybrook, one of the most popular locally produced programs in the nation when, after 45 years, his job at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat disappeared.

“I was 62, at the peak of my career, and some people thought I’d be the next publisher,” Mr. Duggan told St. Louis Magazine in 2009. “Then the paper was sold out from under us.”

The Rev. Jerry Paul
Provided by the Deaconess Foundation

St. Louis was named one of the nation’s 100 best cities for children in 2005 by the national organization, America's Promise Alliance. The Rev. Jerry Paul, then head of the Deaconess Foundation, balked at the commendation. The Rev. Paul died unexpectedly on Wednesday (May 20) at his home in O'Fallon, Ill., after a brief battle with liver cancer. He was 65.

Dianne White, as she was professionally known, at work at KSDK
St. Louis Media History Foundation

As the tumultuous ’60s descended upon the nation, Dianne White Clatto emerged unwittingly and unceremoniously as St. Louis’ own embodiment of civil rights history.

Gene Lynn on his balcony at home
Provided by the family

Gene Lynn, with a baritone voice that was as smoky as the nightclubs he owned for more than three decades, was one of the brightest lights of the St. Louis entertainment mecca known as Gaslight Square in the ’60s.

Clark Terry
Facebook | with permission

Legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry, who for more than seven decades performed with the audacity of a riverboat gambler to practiced perfection, has died. He was 94.

Otis Woodard
Provided by the family

Otis Woodard said he saw Martin Luther King Jr.’s foot sticking through the second floor railing of the Lorraine Motel moments after King was slain on April 4, 1968. During a 2011 speech, Mr. Woodard recalled being “one of those little guys” who was in Memphis with Dr. King.

“It was such an exciting and scary time,” he said. “I left Memphis to hide.”

David B. Gray obituary
Provided by Washington University

David Gray, a scientist who relentlessly championed the right of people with disabilities to live independent, satisfying lives, has died.

Mr. Gray, a professor of neurology and occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine, wanted much more for others than had been available to him after he fell and broke his neck during the summer of 1976. It left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down.

Lincoln Diuguid reads to a grandchild.
Provided by the family

Lincoln Diuguid, an African American who was born as the brutality of slavery was rapidly being replaced by the yoke of Jim Crow, was warned that it was fruitless to pursue his dream of becoming a scientist.

The discouraging words had the opposite effect on him.

“It's a good stimulus,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2007, shortly after his 90th birthday. “It keeps you moving ahead.”

Jo Ann Harmon Arnold
Provided by the St. Louis Zoo

Jo Ann Harmon Arnold rose from temporary secretary to top executive at Emerson Electric Co. More than three decades after her arrival, she explained why she stayed.

“Interesting, challenging work to do with a lot of responsibility is a hard combination to walk away from,” she told the St. Louis Business Journal in 1999.

She began in Emerson’s human resources department. As she moved steadily through the ranks, Mrs. Arnold said each opportunity seemed “more exciting than the next.”

James Dennis "Jeigh" Singleton receives the first achievement award at St. Louis Fashion Week.
Whitney Curtis | WUSTL

Jeigh Singleton joyously accepted the “burden” of being a fashion guru. He created clothes for the country-club set, church-going folk, showgirls, theater companies and items suitable for framing, all while teaching generations of Washington University design students to do the same. Mr. Singleton died Sunday in his hometown of Plaquemine, La., one day past his 70th birthday.

His guiding design principle he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1992, was “The stuff must sell. Period.” But Mr. Singleton, never one for reticence, ignored his own punctuation and continued.

Jan Polizzi
Provided by the family

For 12 years, Jan Polizzi was a nurse in pediatric intensive care units. That was as long as she could take it.

''I still recall the first child that I ever lost,'' she said in a 1988 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. ''I dressed and bathed him and got him his favorite toys. I learned to love that kid and his family.''

Judge Michael Calvin
Provided nby Spencer Fane Britt & Browne

On Nov. 7, 2000, Missourians elected incumbent Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan, who had died in a plane crash three weeks earlier. He defeated his Republican rival, John Ashcroft, for a U.S. Senate seat.

Some cried foul. The St. Louis circuit attorney called in the FBI to investigate allegations of voter fraud.

Murray Harold Blumenfeld

Some of the work of 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire garnered him a charge of insulting public decency. Six of his poems, published in "Les Fleurs du Mal" ("Flowers of Evil") in 1857, centered on erotic themes that included lesbian love and vampires. The poems were banned for more than 50 years.

At age 84, composer Harold Blumenfeld elected to record a major new work based on "Les Fleurs du mal." He titled it "Vers Sataniques" or "Satanic Verses."

Rosemary Straub Davison
Provided by the family

In July of 1991, Rosemary Davison took the keys and the deed to a home at 1067 Dunn Rd. in Florissant.

The two-story, red-brick farm house was built around 1860 by a German immigrant who had made his fortune during the California Gold Rush. Now, the house wasn’t fit to live in.

That didn’t matter to Ms. Davison. She wasn’t planning to live there. She was on a rescue mission.

With other members of Historic Florissant Inc., the nonprofit organization she helped found in 1969, Ms. Davison saved Gittemeier House from the wrecking ball.

Dr. James R. Drake with students
Provided by Saint Louis University School of Medicine

For the past 20 years, a clinic for St. Louisans who cannot afford basic health care quickly filled with patients every Saturday morning.

On many of those mornings, James R. Drake, M.D., a professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University and a general internist, supervised medical, social work and physical therapy students at the nation’s only entirely student-run free health clinic.

Fred Epstein, in his office at Indeeco
Provided by the family

Fred Epstein took the reins of the industrial heater factory his father founded in 1929 (just days after the stock market crashed) and adroitly steered it into the 21strst century, all the while giving chunks of time to transform the local ACLU into a formidable organization. He died Wednesday at the age of 79.

Davie Lee
Provided by the family

Davie White’s father thought his son was a conscientious student who liked rising early to get ready for school. Often, Davie would be up and half-dressed when his father awoke. Andrew White didn’t realize that he was catching his son undressing for bed after a nightclub gig.

“He would sneak out and would just be coming in,” laughed his wife, Lou White. “So, he would have to get dressed again and go to school without any sleep.”

John Britton
Provided by Jennifer Durham

In recent years, Missouri lobbyist John Britton, who single-handedly thwarted innumerable attempts to enact laws that would put additional limits on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, made a late-in-life health concession: He went from smoking five packs a day to three.

In the early days, he was a Benson and Hedges man. He later switched to Camels, but recently he favored organic cigarettes and was smoking even less.

“He’d cut down to a pack and a half a day in the past six months,” laughed Jennifer Durham, his colleague for 46 years.

Steve DeBellis
Provided by the family

Steve DeBellis, the deliberately eccentric publisher of a tabloid that reported decades-old stories as if they happened yesterday, under headlines that defied passersby to ignore them, died Saturday.

Typical of Mr. DeBellis’ wit and dramatic flair was a World War II story about a surprise attack on skinny-dipping Germans headlined “Greeks Battle Nude Nazis.” The story appeared in the first edition in 1986 of The St. Louis Enquirer, renamed The St. Louis Globe-Democrat after the daily’s demise.

Deer Creek Watershed Alliance

Cindy Gilberg’s natural habitat was a garden. Preferably, one filled with native perennials.

Growing up in St. Louis, she spent much of her time exploring Shaw Nature Reserve. The love of the place, she wrote, brought her back as an adult and horticulturist “to work and share with others the possibilities of native landscaping and the joy of natural areas.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture, Ms. Gilberg fine-tuned her skills as the co-owner with her husband, Doug, of a Wildwood nursery for nearly three decades.