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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Because you asked, a new Daily Goodbye....

Harriet Shetler, who founded the National Alliance on Mental Illness, died in Madison, Wis. earlier this week. Her son's battle with schizophrenia inspired her to start the group, which now has affiliates in every state and more than 1,100 communities.

Susan Tifft, who co-wrote two major biographies of the families that controlled The New York Times and the Louisville Courier-Journal, died Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. She also wrote an acclaimed blog about engaging fully in life after being diagnosed with cancer.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says Nancy Penn Smith Hannum was "master of the fox hunt, steward of its domain" -- and who are we to argue? She wasn't all play -- she helped preserve more than 20,000 acres with conservation easements.

South African white supremacist Eugene TerreBlanche was hacked and bludgeoned to death Saturday after an argument with two workers on his farm outside Ventersdorp in North West Province, according to local police. TerreBlanche, 69, was the leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, formed in the 1970s, which bitterly opposed black-majority rule.

So many of us could learn to use fewer and wiser words. It's a skill that Makah tribal leader Edward Eugene Claplanhoo had figured out. As an elder and leader of a tribe based in the far northwest corner of the continental U.S., he had a steady, calm way about him, decades of experience to draw upon and a knack for building consensus.

You might not know the name, but if you're a certain kind of computer geek, you'll remember the MITS Altair 8800, the first general-purpose microcomputer that regular people could afford. H. Edward Roberts, some say, should be called the inventor of the personal computer; a controversy we'll keep at arms-length. But it was undoubtedly significant; just ask a couple of guys named Paul Allen and Bill Gates.

If you're a naturalist of a certain sort, you'll remember the name of beekeeper Ted Hooper who wrote the popular "Guide to Bees and Honey," co-wrote "The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Beekeeping" and "The Beekeeper's Garden." He died last month but having seen the first bees of the year this weekend, I thought his life was buzz-worthy.

And this one is even older, but maybe it's appealing because I just watched the old movie "Bonnie and Clyde." "Diamond May" Ackerman died Aug. 1, 1896, and as the Prescott Journal Miner told its readers, "A few months ago this unfortunate woman figured in the noted diamond robbery of this city, being the victim and losing, it is said, several thousand dollars in precious stones in that crime. Her sad ending this morning, surrounded by vice and nurtured to the last in extreme poverty, disclosed a life that only a courtesan knows..."

By Patricia Sullivan  |  April 4, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye  
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