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RIP Summer of Obits

Patricia Sullivan

Farewell to the summer of big obits.

Much has been said about the spate of deaths this summer -- including how much attention obits should give to human flaws that border on criminality -- but we're here to give you just the facts ma'am. So here's my list, with the caveat that we don't know what Aug. 31 will bring. Tell me which ones you think belong in this pantheon as well.

June: Watergate burglar Bernard L. Barker, blueswoman Koko Taylor, actor David Carradine, Ventures guitarist Bob Bogle, Holocaust security guard Stephen T. Johns, the nine victims of the DC Metro subway crash, broadcaster Ed McMahon, pitchman Billy Mays, actress Farrah Fawcett, superstar singer Michael Jackson.

July: Actor Karl Malden, boxer Alexis Arguello, NFL quarterback Steve McNair, CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, author Frank McCourt, novelist E. Lynn Harris, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, choreographer Merce Cunningham, Philippine president Corazon Aquino.

August: screenwriter Budd Schulberg, filmmaker John Hughes, lobbyist Anne Wexler, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, NAACP president Margaret Bush Wilson, guitar innovator Les Paul, economist Rose Friedman, South Korean leader Kim Dae-Jung, political columnist Robert Novak, '60 Minutes' creator Don Hewitt, test pioneer Stanley Kaplan, celebrity writer Dominick Dunne and the lion of the U.S. Senate, Edward M. Kennedy.

By Patricia Sullivan |  August 31, 2009; 10:38 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan
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I'd forgotten about Steve McNair, and did a little double-take when I read his name.
Excepting the martyr Steven Johns, who died to keep DC an open city, and many of the subway victims, he stands out as having been taken at a young age. Not a fan, critical of his personal foibles, but this was the one of the group that didn't get to contribute all he could due to early death.

And I'm thinking you meant Karl Malden.

Posted by: BrianX9 | August 31, 2009 12:15 PM

Yes we have lost a lot of important people in a short time however all of them dont begin to add up to the young girls and boys in these two D-mn wicked wars we are fighting. As important as they all were they do not add up to our servicepeople. Plus the injured and maimed. I am loosing faith in my country and at 72 I am so ashamed. I would like to see people take to the streets in protest, peacefully or violent.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | August 31, 2009 12:21 PM

Right you are, Eaglehawkaruondsince1937; I meant to include the members of the military, and here's the page that remembers them:

BrianX9, thanks for catching that typo. It's now fixed.

Posted by: Patricia Sullivan | August 31, 2009 12:26 PM

I clicked through on the link to the members of the military who have died. Sickening, really, to click "previous 100" over and over again, a very different experience than seeing the number itself.

And, those too, men and women who died before they got to "contribute all [they] could."

Posted by: purpleaster | August 31, 2009 4:52 PM

I'd submit Ellie Greenwich. Most people may not know her name but they would definitely recognize the songs she wrote. Passed away on 8/26.

Posted by: DanPohlig | September 6, 2009 9:21 AM

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