Gloria S. Ross | St. Louis Public Radio

Gloria S. Ross

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

Dr. Bernard Becker
Provided by Washington University

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bernard Becker, M.D., a world renowned ophthalmologist who fought anti-Semitism as a student and, as a professional, refused to work in a hospital that would not provide care to African-American patients, died Wednesday (Aug. 28), at his home in the Central West End. He was 93.

Jim Mattingly and his wife, Cheryl
Family photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Jim Mattingly, a well-known name in St. Louis outdoor soccer who was even better known as the longtime owner of Mattingly’s, a popular St. Louis County sports bar, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack at his home in St. Charles Sunday morning (Aug. 25). He was 64.

Bob Reuter
Bill Streeter | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bob Reuter wore his crown as the unofficial “King of South St. Louis” slightly askew. He wrote, performed and lived like a man possessed, probably because he was at times. He readily confessed to lapses of “debauchery” that included drinking, heavy drugs and sometimes contemplating suicide.

Virginia Johnson Masters
Martin Schweig photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon Mary Virginia Masters, known from her work as Virginia E. Johnson, spent 35 years as half of a sex research team that was internationally lauded and sometimes castigated for exposing bedroom secrets while reassuring people that sex is normal and that their sex lives could get better through therapy. Ms. Masters died Wednesday (July 24, 2013). She was 88.

Rosemary Ward Wellington
St. Joseph's Academy Alumnae Association

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rosemary Ward Wellington, who was born at a time when it was widely accepted that women were too fragile for strenuous exercise, defied convention and played, taught or coached every sport offered at St. Joseph’s Academy for girls.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Betty Robinson enlisted in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty nine years after the war began in 1964. She remained a foot soldier for nearly 40 years. Her battles were fought on behalf of children through the Head Start program.

Gussie Feehan in 2012
Episcopal Mission Gala photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gussie Feehan’s death at age 106 last week caught everyone by surprise.

Elliot Elson
Gloria Ross | For the St. Louis Beacon |2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Part of Elliot Elson’s current research has led to the creation of artificial heart tissue that can beat on its own. Tiny pieces thump, thump, thump in petri dishes. The engineered muscles permit scientists to study the possible causes, effects and treatments of heart attacks and hypertension.

Sunny Glassberg
Provided by the family

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Sunny Glassberg, whose generosity buttressed many of St. Louis’ proudest educational, civic and cultural institutions, and who gave hundreds of single mothers and older adults a chance at a college degree, humbly and delightedly accepted the title of "the Turtle Lady."

She was so-nicknamed for "a little gem; that wonderfully whimsical Turtle Park," said Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Col. Hardenbergh noted the birth of another slave with the same indifference he might have shown a calf or lamb.

The line from Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman, the fictionalized account of the life of a freed slave who became an abolitionist, embodies the crisp, enthralling style of Patricia McKissack and her husband, Fredrick McKissack.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Richard Stith's mother gave away his clothes while he was flying unarmed transport planes during World War II because she never expected to see him alive again. When he died Sunday (Feb. 10, 2013) of lung cancer, he was 93.

After returning from the war a decorated pilot, he became a successful insurance executive, served two terms as mayor of Clayton and helped found the Independence Center, a place where mentally ill adults learn self-sufficiency. The center, like the legion of civic and charitable organizations he led, benefited from his prominence in the community.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rabbi Jim Diamond would concede nothing to evil. The sermon he delivered on the morning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, offered a gentle assurance.

“We must remind ourselves that in spite of all its ugliness and evil, this is a good and beautiful world,” he preached.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the St. Louis-born artist known professionally only as “Martyl,” died Tuesday night in Chicago, she was 10 days past her 96th birthday – and just weeks away from her next exhibit.

“She had prepared for it and was completely ready,” said her brother, well-known St. Louis photographer Martin Schweig.

Works on Paper and Mylar 1967-2012, will open as scheduled on May 3, at the Printworks Gallery in Chicago. It will be a celebration of her life and her work as an acclaimed painter since she won an art competition at age 11.

Dr. Leslie F. Bond Sr.
Courtesy of the family Dr. Leslie F. Bond Sr.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Dr. Leslie Bond was selling newspapers as a boy in Galesburg, Ill., he couldn’t take a lunch break in a diner with the other newspaper boys.

“I couldn’t sit at a lunch counter,” he recalled in a 1999 profile in the book, Lift Every Voice and Sing. “I had to get my lunch in a sack, while my white friends who sold newspapers with me ate right there.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In 1963, when it appeared that blacks protesting the discriminatory practices at Jefferson Bank and Trust Co. in St. Louis were not being taken seriously, Dr. Jerome Williams thought it was time to step up and step in.

He organized doctors and other professionals to join the marchers.

“Jerome Williams did a fantastic job of organizing support,” said civil rights activist Norman R. Seay. “We saluted him because so many people were against what we were doing, even many middle-class blacks.”

“The Perry Como of St. Louis” has died.

In the 1950s and ‘60s when he was leading the hottest dance band in St. Louis, that’s how keyboard virtuoso Dick Renna was billed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Women in wraps and headties as bright as the early morning sun emerge from “miomba” woodlands along narrow, well-worn paths into a clearing. Babies are securely nestled in slings against their backs. Many have walked for hours, some for days, to get to this place.  

From a distance, it’s an exquisite sight.

A closer look reveals that many of the children so lovingly cradled are sick and dying. They are starving. The young mothers have brought their children to a mobile clinic in a remote African village in search of a miracle.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - Harry Keough, who played defense on the U.S. soccer team that turned the world upside down by stunning England in the 1950 World Cup and helped ensure St. Louis' place in soccer history, died Tuesday morning at Bethesda Dilworth in St. Louis. He was 84.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It was the closing day of this year's annual SSM Health Care leadership conference, and Sister Mary Jean Ryan opened her final conference speech as CEO with a joke about, of all things, a 98-year-old nun who was dying.

The elderly nun was given a last drink of milk, which, unbeknownst to her, was liberally laced with brandy. She drank every drop. Then, to the sisters gathered to hear her final words of wisdom, she joyfully declared, "Whatever you do, don't sell the cow!"

Dr. Leonor Feliciano, who came to the United States to complete her medical training and succeeded in teaching thousands about Philippine culture, pride and contributions, died Saturday of breast cancer at her home in Creve Coeur. She was 66.

She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Three days before her death she had written, "I have lived my life out loud and with happiness."

Her daughter, Sonjie Solomon, confirmed that assessment.

Mass will be celebrated for Dr. Feliciano at St. Monica Catholic Church on Friday morning.

After Cleveland Hammonds took charge of the St. Louis Public Schools on July 1, 1996, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was coming into the job as the 23rd superintendent of the largest public school system in Missouri with eyes wide open.

"I know there are great challenges -- I'm not that naive," he said.

Mickey Garagiola, who shared one of the most famous Italian surnames in America, came by his fame through an unusual dual career: waiter and professional wrestling announcer.

Mr. Garagiola died of cancer Sunday at Mary Queen and Mother Skilled Nursing Care in Shrewsbury. He was 88. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m., Thursday at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.

Dr. Frank R. Burton, whose research on chronic pancreatitis helped dispel the widely held assumption that sometimes led patients to be incorrectly labeled as problem drinkers, died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease) at Saint Louis University Hospital on Monday (Aug. 2, 2010). He was 58.

Dr. Burton, a professor of internal medicine, suffered a heart attack in June while vacationing, but was recovering well when it was discovered that he had advanced lung disease. The illnesses were determined to be unrelated.

Val Safron, who shared the stage with the likes of Tallulah Bankhead and whose acting credits included the 1990 Disney Channel movie, "Back to Hannibal: The Return of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn," died of pneumonia on July 13 at Mother of Good Counsel Home. She was 90 and had lived in University City and Richmond Heights for many years.

A memorial Mass for Mrs. Safron will be celebrated on Friday at St. Roch Catholic Church.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bernard "Bernie" Lipnick prepared well to become a rabbi, a role he actively served in for four decades at Congregation B'nai Amoona. But being a pulpit rabbi was never his goal.

"I became a rabbi - that was my title - but I didn't want to do rabbinic work," he told the St. Louis Jewish Light in 2008. "What I wanted to do was Jewish education."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 19, 2008 - "Lou Lewis, class of '53, passed away this morning." That was the first comment on the message board of the McKinley High School website,, on Mon. morning, Dec. 8. Mary, a member of the McKinley High School class of 1964, posted the message.