Obituary

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.

Fred Epstein, in his office at Indeeco
Provided by the family

Fred Epstein took the reins of the industrial heater factory his father founded in 1929 (just days after the stock market crashed) and adroitly steered it into the 21strst century, all the while giving chunks of time to transform the local ACLU into a formidable organization. He died Wednesday at the age of 79.

Steve DeBellis
Provided by the family

Steve DeBellis, the deliberately eccentric publisher of a tabloid that reported decades-old stories as if they happened yesterday, under headlines that defied passersby to ignore them, died Saturday.

Typical of Mr. DeBellis’ wit and dramatic flair was a World War II story about a surprise attack on skinny-dipping Germans headlined “Greeks Battle Nude Nazis.” The story appeared in the first edition in 1986 of The St. Louis Enquirer, renamed The St. Louis Globe-Democrat after the daily’s demise.

Alan J. Dixon
Wikipedia

Updated with tentative funeral arrangements.

Alan J. Dixon, a two-term Democratic senator from Illinois and long-time figure in Illinois politics, died today. According to a report in the Belleville News-Democrat, Mr. Dixon had had heart problems for the past two years and had recently been in Barnes-Jewish hospital. "He came home on Thursday and he was in good spirits," Jeff Dixon, the senator’s son, told the News-Democrat. "We had dinner with cold Budweiser followed by a glass of red wine."

Mr. Dixon was 86. He would have turned 87 on Monday.

Deer Creek Watershed Alliance

Cindy Gilberg’s natural habitat was a garden. Preferably, one filled with native perennials.

Growing up in St. Louis, she spent much of her time exploring Shaw Nature Reserve. The love of the place, she wrote, brought her back as an adult and horticulturist “to work and share with others the possibilities of native landscaping and the joy of natural areas.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture, Ms. Gilberg fine-tuned her skills as the co-owner with her husband, Doug, of a Wildwood nursery for nearly three decades.

Morton Bearman
Provided by the Family

Morton R. Bearman, who helped elect two generations of Symingtons to Congress and who became one of the St. Louis area’s first environmental attorneys, died Friday. He was 92.

Mr. Bearman was a staunch Democrat who was active in politics throughout his life. He served as campaign chair for both the late Stuart Symington, the former four-term U.S. senator from Missouri, and Symington’s son, James, who was elected four times to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Eric Nuetzel
Courtesy, St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute

Eric Nuetzel, M.D., didn’t merely enjoy good stage and screen performances, he dissected them. He plumbed the depths of such Shakespearean classics as Othello and Macbeth, as well as timeless movies like It’s A Wonderful Life and Raging Bull, to find their meaning and relevance to the human condition.

Dr. Nuetzel, who eagerly shared his astute analyses with audiences and students, taught simultaneously in the Department of Psychiatry and the Performing Arts Department at Washington University.

State Archives

When Joseph Teasdale ran for governor in the mid-70s, he walked a thousand miles en route to winning the tightest gubernatorial race in the nation, handing a popular incumbent governor a stunning defeat. His margin of victory over Missouri Republican Gov. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, by whom he had been defeated in the previous election, was a mere 12,000 votes out of more than 1.9 million cast. Even members of the Teasdale campaign cabinet were stunned.

/ Photo provided by Kalish family

By day, Ralph Kalish was a well-respected, successful patent attorney. By night, he was, well, he was anything — anyone — he wanted to be: restaurateur, playwright, actor.

In 2011, he became Branch Rickey, the former, longtime St. Louis Cardinals Baseball manager who changed the game forever by bringing Jackie Robinson into the formerly all-white major leagues.

/ Photo provided by Streiff family

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.

Murray Weidenbaum
Washington University

Murray Weidenbaum, an influential scholar widely known as the key architect of President Ronald Reagan’s economic theory dubbed “Reaganomics,” has died.

In 1980, Reagan campaigned on a fix for an economy plagued by rising inflation, unemployment and a growing deficit. He appointed Mr. Weidenbaum as his economic adviser.

Rodney Michael Coe
Provided by Saint Louis University

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.

Facebook | used with family permission

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.”

(Courtesy of the Fusz family)

The founder of one of St. Louis’ largest network of car dealerships has died. Lou Fusz Sr. died Tuesday of a heart attack in Palm Beach Florida. He was 94.

Fusz started selling cars in the early 1950s. His first dealership was the Lou Fusz Motor Company in Clayton that sold Pontiacs. Over the years, he grew his business to include 13 dealerships with more than 900 employees. 

Adolphus Busch Orthwein
Provided by the family

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Adolphus Busch Orthwein, a great-grandson of the legendary Adolphus Busch, founder of Anheuser-Busch, died at home in Huntleigh Village on Monday (Nov. 25, 2013). He was 96 years old, and at the time of his death was the oldest living member of the sprawling St. Louis family also founded by his great-grandfather.

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.

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.

Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
Wiley Price

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.

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.

Pages