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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Good morning already.

In case you didn't hear the news yesterday, conservative political columnist and "oracle of language" William Safire died Sunday. Lovely obit by Timesman Robert D. McFadden; our own cleanup hitter, Joe Holley, penned a quick piece on deadline.

Donald G. Fisher
, co-founder of the Gap, has died. Mr. Fisher was a 41-year-old real estate developer with no retail experience in August 1969 when he and his wife tried to exchange a pair of Levi's jeans that didn't fit him and couldn't find a store in the city that carried all sizes. So they bought a shop, invested $63,000 and called it the Gap - Doris Fisher's shorthand for "generation gap."

Charles E. Lomax, 85, the first black partner at the giant law firm Sidley Austin, where Barack and Michelle Obama would later meet, died Sunday in Boca Raton. He was boxing impresario Don King's lawyer.

John Brown, who worked on the Shroud of Turin, "was to scientific method and forensics what Columbo was to whodunit," said a former student of the Georgia Tech physicist. "He was a super sleuth when it came to using the tools that he had to figure out the what, the where and ... how it happened." As a boy, he built his own microscope from discarded flashlight lenses he scavenged and as an adult, he had the only electron microscope in Georgia.

As the gardening season comes to a close (in this climate, anyway), a moment for the life of Pamela Schwerdt, one of the pair of head gardeners at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, England who began work under Vita Sackville-West and stayed after her death to make it the most admired and popular 20th-century garden in England.

One of the best-known wine merchants in Victoria, Australia has died. Nick Chlebnikowski had 100 ideas a day, and four of them were great, a friend once said. He promoted many of Australia's early boutique wineries, and created export markets in Britain and France.

Bill Speirs, a Scottish trade union leader who lead the "Make Poverty History" campaign, has died at age 57.

Grant me the indulgence of pointing to one of my own articles: Daniel West, a bad-boy choreographer in the 1980s who suddenly left the world of dance to become a carpenter, welder and truck driver. He'd been a baseball player, rodeo rider, soldier and baker -- he really knew how to create attention-getting names for his dances.


By Patricia Sullivan  |  September 28, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye  
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