Obituary | St. Louis Public Radio

Obituary

Patricia McKissack
Photo provided | The St. Louis American

With the death of Patricia McKissack on Friday, the world lost the surviving partner of one of the most prolific duos in literature.

McKissack suffered a heart attack and was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was 72.

Patricia McKissack and her husband, Fredrick McKissack embarked on their collaborative literary lives nearly 35 years ago, with the intention of being the change they wanted to see. The couple decided that little black boys and girls deserved positive images of themselves and a broad scope of their people’s rich history as they turned the pages of books.

Pallbearers guide the casket of Chuck Berry out of The Pageant following a viewing and celebration of life event for the rock 'n' roll legend and St. Louis native. (April 9, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A line of fans formed around the block outside the Pageant Theater in the Delmar Loop Sunday to say goodbye to rock 'n'roll legend and St. Louis native Chuck Berry.

They joined a capacity crowd of dignitaries, family and friends inside for a funeral that broke the mold — much like the legendary entertainer himself.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

Upated March 29 — The funeral  for Chuck Berry will take place on April 9. A visitation open to the public will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at The Pageant Concert Club, 6161. Delmar Blvd., St. Louis.

It will be followed by a closed funeral service for family and close friends.

Berry, the legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist who duck-walked his way into rock and roll history, died March 18. He was 90.

Peter Sortino
Provided by the Sortino family

Peter Sortino planned a 100th birthday bash for St. Louis that would go on for days and draw thousands of guests, but his name was largely unknown to most who attended.

EATS Bridge, ’04 Eve and River Splash are the enduring memories that most St. Louisans have of the 1904 World’s Fair centennial celebration. Mr. Sortino was the director of St. Louis 2004, which planned the festivities and, later, the Danforth Foundation, which launched the initiative.

Ina Boon at a 1985 health fair.
Boon Family

The longtime, indefatigable regional NAACP leader, Ina Boon, whose name became synonymous with the organization in the St. Louis region, has died. She was 90.

For more than half a century, Ms. Boon was a bold advocate for racial justice through her leadership roles with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. During her tenure, Ms. Boon worked closely with some of the NAACP’s most well-known civil rights leaders, who all became her boss, including Roy Wilkins, Rev. Benjamin Hooks, Chavis Muhammad (formerly Benjamin Chavis) and Kweisi Mfume.

A KSD TV card advertising Corky's Colorama show the clown counting his fingers in a porkpie hat, red nose, and makeup
Provided by St. Louis Media History Foundation

Local children’s television icon Corky the Clown, beloved by baby boomers, died today. He was 91. 

Clif St. James, of Webster Groves, had been experiencing complications related to pneumonia. 

During the 1950s and 60s St. James was a veritable mainstay on KSD-TV. He appeared daily on the channel after school as his clown persona from 4 to 4:30 p.m., but also held duties as a weatherman and occasional news anchor. Occasionally, he even performed his weather duties as Corky.  His career at the station spanned 30 years.

The St. Louis landscape was Eugene Mackey’s architectural canvas; his palette was integrity, artistic genius and spirituality.

“You work on a project until you find the soul of it,” his longtime friend, Van Brokaw, said he once told him. “Spirituality was an important underpinning in his life."

In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Mr. Mackey infused more than 3,000 spaces with a spirit of humanity, inextricably interwoven with beauty and functionality. He died on Sunday (Nov. 27) of an aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was 77 and had lived in Ladue.

Mary Langenberg: Supported Art Museum, Symphony and more

Nov 30, 2016
Photo of Mary Langenberg
Provided by the family

Mary Langenberg didn’t have far to go to pay calls on some of the institutions she supported so generously in her long, productive life.

She was by all accounts a vivacious and beautiful woman, who loved entertaining her friends and cherished good, lively, yeasty conversations.

Richard 'Onion' Horton spent the majority of his years on the radio at WGNU.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated with funeral and memorial arrangements. - Richard “Onion” Horton, one of the most colorful figures in St. Louis talk radio for more than three decades, has died.

Mr. Horton immersed himself in the facts, figures and statistics he gleaned daily from media sources. It was his battle raiment for his radio programs that aired on various St. Louis radio stations over the years; his longest run was at WGNU.

Missouri Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Teitelman pictured in this June 1, 2016 file photo, has died at the age of 69. Teitelman was the first legally blind and Jewish judge to serve on Missouri’s highest court.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday with audio of obituary.

 A leading liberal voice in the Missouri legal community has died.

Judge Richard Teitelman was 69. The Missouri Supreme Court confirmed his death, saying Tuesday that he had died in the morning at his home in St. Louis. Teitelman had been experiencing health problems for some time, including complications from diabetes.

Pearlie Evans was an activist who became a political power broker.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American | archival photo

Updated 2 p.m. Nov. 21 with service information - Pearlie Evans, a leader in the civil rights movement who helped integrate public accommodations in St. Louis and later served as the top aide to the first African-American congressman from Missouri, has died.

During the 1960s, Ms. Evans was an activist with the Congress for Racial Equality and the NAACP. She marched arm-in-arm with future Congressman William L. “Bill” Clay, Norman Seay, Percy Green and others who were working for change. “We were into everything under the sun,” Clay said.

Dr. Julian Mosley was the second African-American to graduate from the Washington University Medical School.
Provided by the family

Julian Mosley Jr. was the second African-American to graduate from Washington University School of Medicine, which had been in existence for more than 80 years when he received his medical degree in 1972. Ten years earlier, Dr. James L. Sweatt had been the first.

“I think that happened because, among blacks, the Washington University medical school was perceived not only as traditionally white and expensive, but also as requiring almost impossibly impeccable credentials,” Dr. Mosley said last year. “Even well-qualified blacks didn’t think they would have much of a chance.”

Longtime Republican stalwart Phyllis Schlafly said Donald Trump is "a choice not an echo," which references her long-ago support of Barry Goldwater.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The redoubtable conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who led a movement that for decades successfully thwarted liberal and feminist causes, including the Equal Rights Amendment, and helped uber-conservative candidates win elections, has died. She was 92.

Mrs. Schlafly died Monday afternoon at her Ladue home, surrounded by her family. She had been battling cancer, said daughter Anne Cori.

Mrs. Schlafly was a self-described “lifetime fulltime volunteer in public policymaking.” Although she held three degrees, including a law degree, and worked her entire life, albeit most of it without pay, she championed the role of full-time homemaker as a woman’s highest calling.

Missouri political activists in both parties are mourning the death of former state Sen. Betty Sims, a Republican from Ladue who was a legislative leader.

Sims, who was 80, died Monday morning after a short illness, friends said. She had been in good health until a few weeks ago, when she was stricken while preparing for a family float trip.

Sims currently held posts on several state and regional boards, including the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Gabe Weil, in red, on a visit to San Francisco.
provided by Robert Herrera

Careening through the streets of Manhattan, Gabe Weil and Bobby Herrera realized they weren’t sure just how they would park a van and trailer full of medical equipment at rush hour.

“He’s laughing, we’re yelling at people in the street … It felt like this very sitcom, New York City moment,” Herrera recalled. “We’re stopping traffic on 44th Street, and everyone waiting in a taxi is losing their mind, and little old Gabe comes wheeling out of this van.”

Although Weil had muscular dystrophy, that didn't stop him from traveling. But on Monday, his journeys came to an end when he died at his family’s Clayton home. He was 28.

Hedy Epstein in her St. Louis neighborhood
Humans of St. Louis | used with permission

Hedy Epstein was arrested 10 days after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, in August 2014.

She didn’t like the way people who were demonstrating against the killing were being treated by police and the National Guard, so she joined a group of peaceful protesters. They marched to Gov. Jay Nixon’s office in the Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis.

Obituary: Thelma Cook, arts, education and animal advocate

May 16, 2016
Thelma Cook
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Civic and community leader Thelma V. Cook succumbed to cancer May 16, 2016.  She was 77.

Cook spent decades in the St. Louis region and elsewhere advocating for broadening educational opportunities and increasing access to cultural institutions. She came to St. Louis from Jefferson City in the mid-1980s to administer the national minority and public affairs programs of The Seven-Up Co. She moved from there to Anheuser-Busch Cos., serving as executive assistant to the vice president of corporate affairs and director of corporate community relations.

Ida Goodwin Woolfolk: Educator, civic leader led by example

Mar 24, 2016
Ida Goodwin Woolfolk
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Ida Goodwin Woolfolk – regarded by many as a treasure, one of the region’s most resplendent gems – died at home Wednesday.  Her death was announced by her daughter, Sarah Woolfolk Edwards, on Facebook. She was 72 years old.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but recently she had experienced congestive heart issues, said her friend, Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Danny Kohl
From Washington University website

For many who have died, the “good family man” description is draped upon them like an embroidered pall, often as much in the interest of being nice and polite than in descriptive accuracy.

Because Daniel Kohl, who died Saturday, March 12, at 87, was generous, he might agree that this person or that one was a good family woman or a good family man.

But as scientist, a biologist, an eminent one at that — he would want proof also.

Jeremiah Jerry Nixon served as mayor of De Soto and as a municipal judge. Nixon is pictured in this January 2013
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

Jeremiah W. “Jerry” Nixon, father of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and a vigorous promoter of his son and his son's political career, died overnight at home in the Central West End, a neighbor and friend said.  He was 90 years old.

Edward T. (Tad) Foote II helped start New City School, worked on desegregation plan and headed the Washington University School of Law.
Provided by the University of Miami

Edward T. Foote II was a fellow who took on extraordinarily complex problems and proceeded to solve them, sometimes leaving friends and family wondering how he successfully navigated such dangerous waters, and just as often, secretly wondering why he took on the jobs he did.

Mr. Foote, formerly of St. Louis, died Monday in a nursing home in Cutler Bay, Fla., of complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 78 years old.

Anne Keefe came to KMOX in 1976.
St. Louis Media Hsitory Foundation

Anne Keefe, whose smoky voice, inimitable style and consuming dedication to work made her one of the most important figures in television and radio for more than 50 years, has died. She was 90.

Courtesy of Thompson Coburn

In late August, at a party in the Central West End, a dapper fellow, a lawyer named Fred Arnold, spoke warmly of his planned move to a new home in the neighborhood. Compared to his old but quite elegant digs in the suburbs, he saw life in the urban neighborhood as stimulating and exciting, and he appreciated the warm welcomes he’d already received.

On Monday this week, Mr. Arnold, a lawyer, civic leader and philanthropist, died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital before he was able to make the transition. He was 77 years old.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis family of Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra gathered Wednesday on the porch of his boyhood home on The Hill to mourn the passing of the 90-year-old baseball legend, who died on Tuesday.

“Last night was very sad. We had time to all talk to each other and to cry to each other and just to love and remember him before this craziness started today,’’ said Mary Frances Brown, Berra’s niece.

Evelyn and Eric Newman
Provided by the family

Evelyn Newman – a pillar of the community if ever there was one -- died Tuesday at Barnes-Jewish Hospital after a brief illness. She was 95 years old.

Although born in Georgia Mrs. Newman considered herself a lifelong St. Louisan. With her loyalty to this region, she brought business acuity and a special talent for marketing to bear on worthy regional causes.

Mary Boland Taussig Hall
Frederick and Odile Tompkins

It would have been as easy as falling off a log for a woman of the background and breeding of Mary Boland Taussig Hall to join the cozy, costly world of brown-graveled lanes connecting bridge tables and golf courses and tennis courts and cocktails and canapés and country clubs and banquets and balls. It would have been easy, but it was a road Mrs.Hall chose to avoid. Instead, she devoted her life to helping people whose  lives were so different from hers, and to worrying about the world of the invisible people, the disposable folks, the ones who cook and clean for others then disappear, the crowds of the broken and broken hearted.

Sculpture of David Mesker by Dorothy Haase
Provided by the family

David Mesker, a civic leader and financier who died of cancer on Sunday morning, two days after his 84th birthday, impressed an acquaintance as being an encyclopedia on two feet, a fountain of information on subjects he held in esteem. There was that, and then there was his generosity of treasure, time and spirit.

He was a gentleman, too, a person of grace and generosity, distinguished by splendid talents and decided tastes, a fellow who cared deeply for many people and many things, and loathed others, and had no compunction about allowing his loves and loathes to be known.

Ernst Zinner
Provided by the family

Ernst K. Zinner, an astrophysicist who spent a distinguished and game-changing career at Washington University -- who, in fact, discovered fossils older than the solar system -- died Thursday, July 30, of complications of mantle cell lymphoma. He was 78 and lived in University City.

Mr. Zinner's interests, his career, the objects of his research, along with his stunning accomplishments, were infinite, as deep and profound as space, aspects of which he knew so well. Although personally modest, his dedication to science was renowned. Colleagues held him in esteem as a brilliant scientist and a nurturing mentor, and as a warm and generous friend.

Ellen Eisendrath Post
Provided by the family

In the sunny room in which Ellen Eisendrath Post spent her last days, the room in which she died at 79 years of age on Friday, she was surrounded not only by the warmth and stimulation of people she loved but by an abundance of objects, new and old, and flowers and books — things that mattered to her and things she loved as well.

Anne Tkach performs with The Skekses
Courtesy of the band

It seems as though everyone in the St. Louis music scene knew Anne Tkach. In April, Tkach died tragically in a house fire. Ellen Herget, 30, played with Tkach in the band The Skekses. She said Tkach’s loss was felt throughout the music community.

“It was immeasurable,” said Herget, “she was everywhere, she was so active, and she was so enthused.” 

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