Ralph V. Streiff, who was onboard at homegrown Nooter Corp. as the former boiler works company moved into building custom apparatus that helped stamp out polio and put men on the moon, died Sunday. He was 86.
Fresh out of Washington University School of Engineering in 1951, Mr. Streiff joined Nooter as a sales engineer. Forty years later, he retired as president and chairman of the company, which had become one of the largest metal fabricators in the world during his tenure.
During the late 1950s, Rory Ellinger, a high school student at Bishop Du Bourg, had a job as a checker at Kroger’s. During a lunch break, he became transfixed by people picketing the nearby Woolworth’s over dining practices.
“Blacks could only order food to go out,” he recalled in the 1999 book, A Generation Divided. “If you were black, you came in and they served you in a bag and you had to leave.”
He joined the NAACP picket line. It was the prelude to a life defined by the civil rights movement.
Rodney Coe, a sociologist who led Saint Louis University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine for a decade, wanted medical students to be more than healers with a great bedside manner. He wanted them to know and understand the communities they would be serving. A medical school program that bears his name made his hope a reality.
“He was very proud of that,” said his wife, Elaine Coe.
The first weathercaster for KSD Channel 5, the first television station in St. Louis, quickly abandoned the job in favor of sales. Howard DeMere replaced him. It was 1949, and Mr. DeMere stayed on for most of the next 30 years, becoming one of the most familiar and celebrated personalities in St. Louis television history.
Mr. DeMere marveled at television, a medium that did not exist when he was born.
“(TV) turned civilization upside down,” Mr. DeMere wrote in a recent blog post, “a new art form, new language, different commerce and a much laxer moral code.”
Norm London, as he was wont to introduce himself, was a criminal attorney who represented the powerful and the powerless with equal vigor. For 40 years, he defended some of the area’s most famous and infamous citizens before taking his formidable reputation to the federal Public Defender’s Office in St. Louis.
“The legal representation in our office is on par with anything you could go out and buy,” said Lee T. Lawless, who succeeded Mr. London as federal defender. “His name being associated with this office got that message across.”
In 1983, James DeClue beat James DeClue for the position of president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. James F. DeClue, a Baptist minister and corporate executive, led the city NAACP for much of the 1980s, despite a serious challenge from his cousin, the late Dr. James A. DeClue. The Rev. DeClue died last week at the age of 86.
Dr. Frank Richards, who built a reputation as one of the most proficient surgeons ever to don a mask because of his ability to operate with one hand while holding instruments in the other, died Thursday.
“No one could do that but Frank,” said Will Ross, M.D., associate dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. “When he was assistant director of Homer G. Phillips Hospital, he really had to move patients in and out; it was a high-volume operation.”
Col. Edwin A. Harper (USMC, Retired), the next to last survivor of the fabled World War II “Black Sheep Squadron” and later the commander of a squadron of fighter pilots poised to strike during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, has died at his home in Lake Saint Louis. He was 93.
Col. Harper’s life was the stuff of which movies are made, or at least TV shows. The Black Sheep Squadron was immortalized by the highly fictionalized 1970s television series, Baa Baa Black Sheep. Col. Harper was not bothered that the raucous series strayed so far from the facts.
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.”