Gloria S. Ross

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

Family photo

People who attend the Tivoli Theatre, the majestic edifice that has graced the University City Loop since 1924, expect certain things. They expect nostalgic surroundings. They expect to see movies with purpose. They expect to be greeted by John Thompson.

For the past 35 years, Mr. Thompson did not disappoint. He died Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. He was 74.

“It will be very sad the first time we walk through the doors (of the Tivoli) and John’s not there,” said Cliff Froehlich, executive director of Cinema St. Louis. “His absence will be very seriously felt.”

Robert H. Quenon
Provided | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

Robert H. Quenon wanted to become a coal mining manager like his father and his father’s three brothers.

“I was counseled by them that if management was my objective, I should get as much practical experience as possible by working underground and learning the fundamentals of how coal is mined and how coal miners think and behave,” Mr. Quenon told a college audience as he neared retirement.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The Rev. Ben Martin was against the war in Iraq, both of them, torture, the death penalty and any policy that made life more difficult for everyday people. Without hesitation and unstintingly, for more than six decades, he raised his voice for social and racial justice.

Andrew Thompson
St. Louis Symphony

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During rehearsal Wednesday morning, many in the St. Louis Symphony orchestra played the first measures of Tchaikovsky through tears. The tears had begun earlier during a long moment of silence for a young orchestra member, Andrew Thompson, who died suddenly the day before.

“We just lost a member of our family,” said Symphony violist Susan Gordon.

Pelagie Green Wren
Provided by the family

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When 19-year-old Pelagie Green kicked up her heels in the Muny chorus during the 1962 season, she was the first African American to do so.

Her history-making debut came nearly 50 years after trees and shrubs had been cleared between the giant oak trees in Forest Park for the performance of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Dr. Helen Nash
Washington University

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dr. Helen Nash, the first African-American physician on staff at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, was as well known for her outspoken advocacy on behalf of children as for her practice of medicine. She died Thursday at her home in Creve Coeur. She was 91.

"She was very staunch in her commitment to doing what was right, particularly for underserved children," said Dr. Michael R. Debaun, one of Dr. Nash’s former patients. "She did what was right even when others were bashful or reluctant."

The Very Rev. J.C. Michael Allen
Christ Church Cathedral

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Very Rev. J.C. Michael Allen, who led the racially diverse, boisterous and often controversial Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal Church for more than two decades, died yesterday.

At the cathedral, Dean Allen started a shelter for the homeless, opened a child care center for children of the working poor and boldly proclaimed his support of abortion, gay rights and care for people with AIDS.

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.

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.