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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Good morning! Savor this August heat because the brittle January cold is closer than any of us want to admit.

One of the most beautiful places on earth, Big Sur on California's Central Coast, always has that cooling Pacific breeze. Billy Post, a native of the area and a storyteller par excellence, has died at 88. He told many hundreds of visitors about the land when it was still wilderness.

Marjory Munn was a West Virginia beautician when she won a contest that would change her life. The prize was flying lessons, which allowed her to become a Women's Air Force Service Pilot, or WASP, one of a group of women who flew noncombat missions in the U.S. during World War II. Just a month ago, President Obama signed an order giving the more than 1,000 WASPs the Congressional Gold Medal for their service. She will receive her posthumously because she died July 25 of cancer. She was 88.

Gladys Hernblad, who married a man of another race a year before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that attempted to prohibit interracial marriage, has died at age 79. Because of the discrimination that she and her husband faced, she established the Interracial Families United Network.

You've got to have a good neighborhood restaurant for a good quality of life, and Omar S. Jennings Jr. provided one for residents of Catonsville, near Baltimore. "He wanted to serve a good crab cake and good food," his son said. Crab soup, crab fluff, fried oysters, cheese steak subs, coconut cake, rice pudding, potato and cucumber salads were also on the menu.

Steven Miessner
, the motion picture academy's devoted "Keeper of the Oscars'' who each year donned his signature white gloves to prepare the golden statuettes for their close-up before a worldwide audience, died Wednesday of a heart attack at his home. He was 48.

A bullpen catcher is not the kind of star that American baseball fans often celebrate. But Joe DiGangi was one of the last links to the era of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. DiGangi has now died in Coronado, Calif.

Dina Babbitt, who as a prisoner at Auschwitz bartered her services as a portrait painter for her life and her mother's life, died last week at age 86. She spent the past several decades trying to retrieve her paintings from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum, having learned only in 1973 that her work survived the war.

We said daily exercise was dangerous. A 71-year-old Calgary man, Keith Conrad, was out for a walk when he was gored to death by a bison.

Since you'll be staying inside today, take a look at Matt Schudel's fine Local Life on Jim Corcoran, the poor man's Joe Namath. It's funny, it's surprising, it's sad and it's a story you'lll be retelling all week.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  August 3, 2009; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye  
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