Obituary | St. Louis Public Radio

Obituary

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 | St. Louis American

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rabbi Jim Diamond would concede nothing to evil. The sermon he delivered on the morning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, offered a gentle assurance.

“We must remind ourselves that in spite of all its ugliness and evil, this is a good and beautiful world,” he preached.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “We’re not going to give them another goddamn cent. If they want to strike, let ‘em.” Gussie Busch’s outburst in 1972 in response to the possibility of a players’ strike convinced players of a need for a strong union and to take a strike vote. Under the leadership of Marvin Miller, the Major League Baseball Players Association became arguably the most successful labor organization in the past half century. When Miller was hired in 1966 the minimum salary for players was $6,000 and the average salary was $19,000. When he retired in 1981, those figures were $32,500 and $185,651. Today, they are approximately $490,000 and $3.1 million.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the St. Louis-born artist known professionally only as “Martyl,” died Tuesday night in Chicago, she was 10 days past her 96th birthday – and just weeks away from her next exhibit.

“She had prepared for it and was completely ready,” said her brother, well-known St. Louis photographer Martin Schweig.

Works on Paper and Mylar 1967-2012, will open as scheduled on May 3, at the Printworks Gallery in Chicago. It will be a celebration of her life and her work as an acclaimed painter since she won an art competition at age 11.

Dr. Leslie F. Bond Sr.
Courtesy of the family Dr. Leslie F. Bond Sr.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Dr. Leslie Bond was selling newspapers as a boy in Galesburg, Ill., he couldn’t take a lunch break in a diner with the other newspaper boys.

“I couldn’t sit at a lunch counter,” he recalled in a 1999 profile in the book, Lift Every Voice and Sing. “I had to get my lunch in a sack, while my white friends who sold newspapers with me ate right there.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In 1963, when it appeared that blacks protesting the discriminatory practices at Jefferson Bank and Trust Co. in St. Louis were not being taken seriously, Dr. Jerome Williams thought it was time to step up and step in.

He organized doctors and other professionals to join the marchers.

“Jerome Williams did a fantastic job of organizing support,” said civil rights activist Norman R. Seay. “We saluted him because so many people were against what we were doing, even many middle-class blacks.”

“The Perry Como of St. Louis” has died.

In the 1950s and ‘60s when he was leading the hottest dance band in St. Louis, that’s how keyboard virtuoso Dick Renna was billed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - Harry Keough, who played defense on the U.S. soccer team that turned the world upside down by stunning England in the 1950 World Cup and helped ensure St. Louis' place in soccer history, died Tuesday morning at Bethesda Dilworth in St. Louis. He was 84.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 26, 2012 - Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, a noted educator and former president of Webster University who transferred control of the institution away from the Catholic Church, died in her sleep on Jan. 19, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. She was 85.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 19, 2012 - Jerry Clinton, who went from rags to riches but never lost the common touch, a boxing aficionado who used the sport to help families and the man who helped St. Louis regain its NFL pride, died Wednesday of cancer at his home. He was 74 and had lived in Huntleigh.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 17, 2012 - When St. Louis sought to raze the historic Winkelmeyer building to make way for a new jail downtown, the city consulted with William Bodley Lane, an architect who, in 1997, managed the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation's facade program. The alliance owned the building's facade and no one could alter it without the alliance's written permission. It was not forthcoming.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 13, 2012 - Kimiko Fujimoto Durham, who worked as an American "Tokyo Rose" after being freed from a U.S. internment camp during World War II, and who spent the rest of her life helping to bridge the cultural divide between Asians and Americans, died of a heart attack Dec. 30 at SSM St. Mary's Health Center. She had lived in University City for more than 50 years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 9, 2012 - The Rev. Anne Kelsey, visibly moved, advanced to the front of the nave of Trinity Episcopal Church Sunday morning and spoke to her parishioners of a paradox, in this instance the intersection of lives ending and beginning.

She told them one of their number, Marjorie Hoeltzel, had died at 90 of a massive stroke. As her daughter Rebecca Glenn said, "She took her last sweet breath at 12:30 on Saturday morning."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 13, 2011 - Richard J. Rabbitt Sr., who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1960 at the age of 25 and was the powerful Democratic speaker of the House by the time he was 37, died Friday (Dec. 9, 2011) of heart failure at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was 76 and lived in Des Peres. He had lived the first 50 years of his life in St. Louis's Central West End.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 8, 2011 - Geoffrey Schlafly, who moved easily, often and successfully between the two worlds of building and rehabbing urban homes and raising livestock, died Dec. 5 after he had a heart attack. He was 54 and had lived in Creve Coeur.

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