R.I.P. Stéphane Hessel

Stéphane Hessel has passed away during the night. The Holocaust survivor, member of the French Résistance, diplomat and author inspired the “Occupy” movement with his pamphlet “Time for Outrage” in his later years. I saw numerous interviews with him and greatly admired his intelligence, sense of humor and humanity. May he rest in peace.

EV

The Watering Hole, Thursday, December 27th, 2012: Other Goodbyes

As I said in a previous thread, many of us here at The Zoo have, sadly, suffered the loss of loved ones this year. Those personal losses will never make any of the lists of famous or otherwise notable people who died this year, regardless of how important or life-altering our own losses have been to us.

However, 2012 has been a year during which many people have been lost who have also affected our lives, whether in minor ways or more deeply. Actors and other entertainers and celebrities – Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, Phyllis Diller, Richard Dawson, Marvin Hamlisch, Ravi Shankar, Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury, to name a few – have been part of our lives as well, and their passing brings back many memories. Several people who had more significant impact on our nation as well as individually have also quit this mortal coil, such as Helen Gurley Brown, Rodney King, George McGovern, Arlen Spector, astronauts Sally Ride and Neil Armstrong. Ranker.com provides a list of 90+ such individuals in various fields. (Note: a couple of the people on this list are duplicated.)

Cracked.com has also compiled a list of “Where Aren’t They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2012″ and, while one or two are listed at the link above, most are not, and are not necessarily household names. But many things that we take for granted today are, at least in some part, due to the contributions of these lesser-known individuals.

One name that is not on either list is the actor William Windom, who was one of my favorite actors since I was a child. Is there anyone else that you can think of who is missing from both lists?

This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind?

The Third Cut

The First Cut.

A third hand made it.
To separate us. To give me life in your arms.

The Second Cut.

I made it.
To separate us. For me to grow wings.

The Third Cut.

Life itself made it.
To separate us. Forever.

Rest now Mother. A part of me will forever be you.

EV

Adam M. Sechny, August 28, 1985 – March 26, 2012: Tribute

Adam's first computer - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

Adam's first computer - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

Adam and the Lion

Adam and the Lion - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

smilin' through

"smilin' through" - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

Father and Son - photo by Jane E. Schneider

Father and Son - photo by Jane E. Schneider

Adam and the Lion that Shrunk

"Adam and the Lion that Shrunk" - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

Adam Plays the Drums for his sister Emily's Graduation

Adam Plays the Drums for his sister Emily's Graduation

Adam's Graduation Picture

Adam's Graduation Picture

Adam at his Apartment - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

Adam's Room - photo courtesy of Bobby Sechny

A week ago, on Monday morning, March 26th, our 26-year-old nephew Adam Sechny was killed in a head-on collision on Route 22 in Brewster, New York.

Adam was the son of my brother, Bobby, and Wayne’s sister, Judy; therefore Adam was nephew to both of us, and the son that we never had. Adam worked at the same company as Wayne and I for the last several years, and it was there that we really got to know him as an adult person outside of the family venue.

Adam had turned into an intelligent, thoughtful, quick-witted adult, with the acerbic and sardonic sense of humor of both of his parents. His concern for his friends and co-workers was deep and insightful. But what surprised me most about Adam was his constant curiosity about his family: questions about his parents when they were young, questions about his grandparents, and discussions about different aspects of our family were part of our daily routine. I feel now that this interest reflected, just below the sardonic surface, Adam’s deep underlying (but usually unspoken) love for his family.

Adam’s most endearing soft spot was his love of bunnies. In the summer, Adam would often keep ‘bunny-watch’ at the glass door in my department at work, outside of which we would often spot a local bunny from the orchard. Always close to his sister, Emily, his excitement when he knew that he was going to be able to babysit Emily’s bunny, Bijoux, was something to behold from this strapping 6′-2″ young man. He would talk happily about it from the moment he got the word from Emily until well after his bunny-sitting stint ended. It was the last thing that Adam and I talked about at the office on Friday, March 23rd – he came to me brandishing an email with Emily’s schedule for Adam’s upcoming bunny-sitting duties.

A few weeks ago, I had given Adam an early Easter present, a squishy/gummy little bunny toy which, when one tossed it around, would flash with different colored lights. It immediately turned into Adam’s favorite toy – he dubbed it his ‘police bunny’ – and, when his friends at work began collecting things to put into a ‘memento box’ in Adam’s memory, it was the first item designated as part of his memorial.

Wayne and I used to joke with Adam – in fact I did so a few days before his death – that HE was the reason why Wayne and I decided not to have kids. But I’m happy to be able to say that Adam knew that Wayne and I were so very proud of him, and that we dearly loved him as if he was our own son.

Added Note: The attendance at Adam’s memorial wake, held on Friday, March 30th, was an overwhelming tribute, not just to Adam’s esteem in the minds of his friends and co-workers, but to the entire Sechny and Schneider families as a part of the Brewster [aka 'Southeast'] community. It was a wonderful reminder of how closely interconnected one is to such a large and varied web of people, something which is so often forgotten until such a tragedy occurs to tug back all in that web.


Contributions in his memory may be made to Hospice Care in Westchester and Putnam Inc., 540 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591.
This charity is personally meaningful to us: After all that Hospice did for us during our parents’ illnesses, our family feels that the more help that Hospice receives, the more they can help other families like ours.

RIP Etta James, January 20, 2012

Born January 25, 1938. Died January 20, 2012. And lived a hell of a life in between. Jerry Wexler called her the greatest of all modern blues singers. There’s an excellent eulogy from the Sun Times here.

It was difficult finding any live performances on YouTube but here is one. I’ve also included an audio/video of one of her best songs.

Rest in Peace, Richard Holbrooke

A tenacious diplomat who earned a reputation as a “bulldozer” in negotiating the 1995 Dayton Accords that concluded the Bosnian war, [Richard] Holbrooke was once called “Washington’s favorite last-ditch diplomat” by Time magazine.

Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize seven times, Holbrooke joined President Barack Obama’s administration in January 2009 as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, dealing with two of Washington’s most vexing foreign policy challenges.

Ambassador Holbrooke, a lifetime public servant and diplomat, suffered a tear in the wall of his aorta, and did not survive surgery to repair the tear.  He is survived by his wife and stepchildren.

Former Senator Ted Stevens dies in plane crash

Former Alaskan Senator Ted Steven has died today in a plane crash in Alaska, has been confirmed.

Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, 86, has died in a plane crash in Alaska, according to his former chief of staff Mitch Rose.

Former Nasa chief Sean O’Keefe was confirmed also to have been aboard the small plane, officials say.

The aircraft is believed to have been carrying nine people.

The National Transportation Safety Board says five people were killed and four survived, with two badly hurt. It remains unclear who the survivors are. (read all)

Also on board was the current director of EADS America O’Keefe. Allegedly Mr O’Keefe and his son have survived the accident. Former Senator Stevens leaves a wife and six children. I am truly sorry for his family as well as for the families of the passengers and crew on board of that plane, who all suffered a terrible loss.

RIP Robert Culp

I was a great fan of the ground-breaking show I Spy.

I Spy broke new ground in that it was the first American television drama to feature an African-American actor (Cosby) in a lead role. Originally an older actor was slated to play a fatherly mentor to Culp’s “Kelly Robinson.” But after seeing Cosby performing stand-up comedy on a talk-show, Sheldon Leonard decided to take a chance on hiring him to play opposite Culp. The concept was changed from a mentor-protege relationship to same-age partners who were equals. It was also notable that Cosby’s race was never an issue in any of the stories.

Rest in Peace, Mr Culp.

R.I.P Juanita Goggins

Juanita Goggins froze to death in her South Carolina Home. Most people around her never knew who she was.

…the residents of her South Carolina community were saddened, if not entirely shocked, to hear that the 75-year-old woman had frozen to death in her own home and that her body went undiscovered for nearly a fortnight.

But in the days before her funeral today, they were surprised to learn that at one time Goggins had been a trailblazing politician and civil rights activist who shook up South Carolina’s exclusive politics as the first black woman elected to the southern state’s legislature.

RIP Miep Gies

Miep Gies defied the Nazis in WWII Amsterdam in order to hide the Frank family and several others in the attic of an office building.  She succeeded in doing this for 25 months, before all were arrested.

Gies preserved Anne Frank’s papers that were found in the attic, hoping to give to Anne after the war, but instead she gave them to Anne’s father, Otto, the only survivor of the Frank family.

Rest in Peace.

UPDATE:  Here’s an excellent series about Miep Gies.

RIP Art Clokey, Gumby creator

We members of a certain generation remember the weirdness that was Gumby & Pokey.  I think I enjoyed my bendable Gumby figure than I did my Barbies.

Clokey first molded Gumby for a surreal student project at the University of Southern California called “Gumbasia.” That led to his making shorts for the “Howdy Doody Show” and several series through the years.

He said he based Gumby’s swooping head on the hairdo of his father, who died when Clokey was nine.

I always wondered about that sloping head.  ;)

Rest in Peace, Mr Clokey.