Obituary

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.” 

Leo Drey
Provided by the family

In 1929, Luther Ely Smith, whom the National Park Service calls “the father of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,” convened a group of civic worthies for lunch at the old Noonday Club downtown. Later on, a fellow named Leo Drey joined the group. Mr. Drey, who died Wednesday at the age of 98, would become a stalwart member of the group, and one of its most dynamic leaders.

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.

Joseph Pulitzer the Fourth
Provided by the family

Joseph Pulitzer IV, the last of a line of Joseph Pulitzers stretching back to the 19th century to hold positions at the family’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died Thursday in Berkeley, Calif., following a massive heart attack. He was 65 and lived in Sheridan, Wyo.

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.

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.”

Michael Morgan
Provided by the family

Michael Morgan, whose day job was lawyering but whose passion was making music, particularly on the piano, died Friday at the Mari de Villa retirement center in Town and Country of Glioblastoma multiforme, a most virulent and aggressive form of brain tumor. He was 64.

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.”

Frederick A. Hermann Jr.
Provided by the family

Dr. William H. Danforth, chancellor emeritus of Washington University, is by any reckoning our region’s First Citizen. It is not only proper but also sensible that he be called upon to discuss the life and character of a recently deceased friend, and fellow civic pillar, Frederick A. Hermann Jr. For Mr. Hermann he provided without hesitation this simple but profoundly sincere description. 

“He was wonderful.”

Perry Bascom
Provided by the family

If you looked across a crowded room at a party and saw Perry Bascom, you might get the impression that he was just another unreconstructed preppy on his way to play tennis. Or should you glimpse him on his way to work, you might conclude he was one more soul heading downtown to commence another day of quiet desperation in business.

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.

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