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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Morning, all. I guesss you've heard by now that Frank McCourt, who wrote the deeply sad but lyrical memoir, "Angela's Ashes," about his Irish boyhood, died yesterday in New York. Through it, he said, "I learned the significance of my own insignificant life."

Dr. Yury Verlinsky, who died of colon cancer July 16 in Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, helped pioneer a prenatal diagnosis technique known as chorionic villus sampling, which screens fetuses for genetic and chromosomal disorders at 10 weeks, at least six weeks earlier than the test known as amniocentesis.

Dallas McKennon had a voice that could be Gumby, Archie Andrews, Buzz Buzzard or characters for the Walt Disney films "Lady and the Tramp," "Mary Poppins" and "101 Dalmatians," among others. He died last week in Raymond, Wash. at the age of 89.

Some Northwestern boat builders say Norm Blanchard was the last of the great Seattle wooden-boat builders. Before he died July 9 at the age of 98, he and his family produced nearly 2,000 vessels over a half-century.

A guy who designed his own quirky life, Jonathan Gross, was a longtime intensive-care nurse who learned karate in order to subdue unruly patients, an experienced cyclist who was sometimes a medic on the Ride the Rockies bike tour of Colorado, had his own telescope, made Nativity scenes in origami and raised vegetables and herbs. He was learning to play the guitar, too, and died in a cycling accident on Lookout Mountain on July 9, part of a regimen to get in shape for another cycling trip up Colorado's Longs Peak.

Ah, to be an owner -- even a part-owner -- of a baseball team. Sue Burns seemed to take the right amount of pleasure from the pasttime; she knew the San Francisco Giants' players, coaches, scouts, ushers and security guards - and they all knew her, a friendly fixture dressed in orange with a front-row seat. She died of complications from cancer July 18, the team said, diagnosed with the disease July 10 and missed Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter for the Giants that night - a rare absence from the ballpark. She had attended a game against San Diego the previous day.

By Patricia Sullivan |  July 20, 2009; 8:05 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye
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