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Ricky Gardiner

Ricky Gardiner

August 31, 1948 - May 13, 2022

Ricky Gardiner, the musician best known for playing with David Bowie and Iggy Pop, has died.

The 73-year-old “guitar genius” “ended a long battle with Parkinson’s,” producer Tony Visconti wrote on Facebook after being informed by Gardiner’s widow Virginia Scott.

Iggy Pop wrote a touching tribute to his friend on Twitter upon hearing of his death. “Dearest Ricky, lovely, lovely man, shirtless in your coveralls, nicest guy who ever played guitar. Thanks for the memories and the songs, rest eternal in peace.”

Gardiner was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1948 and became a self-taught musician from a young age.

He joined his first major rock band, Beggars Opera, in 1969 and recorded six albums with the band, which became a cult favorite across Europe.

The rising musician was then invited to play on Tony Visconti’s solo album “Inventory,” which led to his introduction to Bowie. Visconti co-produced Bowie’s “Low” album and brought Gardiner to play lead guitar on the first half of the iconic album.

Working with Bowie, Gardiner was connected with Iggy Pop. As he struggled with sobriety, Bowie went on tour with Iggy Pop for his album “The Idiot” and brought Gardiner with him.

The trio continued to collaborate as Gardiner played guitar and drums and contributed songwriting on the Bowie-produced Iggy Pop 1977 album “Lust for Life.”

Gardiner is credited with creating the three-note riff for “The Passenger,” which was described as “one of the greatest riffs of all time,” by Bowie’s biographer David Buckley.

Despite his success, Gardiner stopped touring when he married Virginia Scott and began to start a family. He set up his own private studio and recorded meditation music and songs with his wife and children.

Recording music became increasingly difficult for the famed guitarist when he was diagnosed with electrosensitivity in 1998. The rare health condition made him sick when he was in close proximity to electronic devices.

Gardiner was able to readjust his personal studio and continued to create music recording his own versions of “The Passenger,” and returning to his Beggars Opera work. His last work came in 2015 with his solo album “Songs For The Electric.”

In recent years, Gardiner became increasingly ill after being diagnosed with a very rare form of Parkinson’s known as PSP. Over the last four years, he “suffered horribly in his last years” and “lost mobility, speech and required 24-hour care” but remained “stoic, strong and determined right till the end,” his daughter Annie, who is also a songwriter, shared on Twitter.

He died May 13 in his home surrounded by family.

“He was the best dad anyone could ask for. He taught me everything from using power tools, to a recording studio both analog and digital, to changing an air filter on a car engine (though I was awful at that), to playing bass guitar, musical improvisation, songwriting and production methods,” Annie wrote.

“He was kind, generous, thoughtful, insightful, patient, enthusiastic, a rebel, did not suffer fools, didn’t give a s – – t what people thought, loved a good chat, and loved his food!”

Remembering Ricky Gardiner

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John Leo

John Leo

June 16, 1935 - May 10, 2022

John Leo, a former columnist for U.S. News & World Report who delighted in puncturing the liberal pieties of college campuses, mocking political correctness and satirizing the idea of cultural victimhood, died May 10 at a hospice facility in the Bronx. He was 86.

He had Parkinson’s disease and had been hospitalized with covid-19, said his daughter Alex Leo.

Mr. Leo spent much of his career as a journalist for mainstream publications, including the New York Times and Time magazine, but he was best known for writing biting and often humorous opinion columns that drew on his Catholic education and a sense of moral outrage about modern life.

“I’m a moralist,” he told Christianity Today in 1996. “It’s a dirty word these days, but I approach things in terms of right and wrong.”

Mr. Leo called himself the “founder of the anti-sensitivity movement,” but his often jocular style masked a deep-seated belief that American culture had gone off the rails — veering to the left — and that it was his duty to blow the whistle.

“I think millions of Americans are in shock and mourning at the cultural breakdown we see all around us,” he said in the Christianity Today interview. “There must be a way to stand up and say, ‘This is not the way our culture has to go.’”

Mr. Leo pointed to the 1960s as the beginning of what he saw as the steady decline of American life, including changes in family structure and a growing militancy among students, minority groups, gay people and women.

“We have a grievance-based left now,” he said in 2001 on Fox News, where he was an occasional commentator. “If you cannot point to yourself as a victim, you can’t get anywhere in American life.”

Mr. Leo did not consider himself an ideologue, and he seldom wrote about partisan politics in his weekly U.S. News columns, which ran from 1988 to 2006 and were syndicated in more than 100 newspapers. He preferred to focus on what he described as politically correct (PC) developments in education, culture and sexual mores.

“Read one column and you may think Leo’s just another cranky Caucasian guy, bitter over becoming the scapegoat of the day,” journalist John Allison wrote about Mr. Leo’s 1994 collection, “Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police,” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Consume all of ‘Two Steps Ahead of the Thought Police,’ however, and it becomes clear that Leo has a big heart, an open mind that has thought things through and a ‘tough love’ attitude toward PC manifestations.”

Mr. Leo pointed out lapses in mainstream media, condemned the lyrics of rock music and hip-hop for their vulgarity and took umbrage at the popular 1991 film “Thelma & Louise,” about two women on the run after killing a man.

“All males in this movie,” he wrote, “exist only to betray, ignore, sideswipe, penetrate or arrest our heroines.”

He viewed the Pledge of Allegiance, to which the words “under God” were added in 1954, as a bulwark against growing secularism.

“To religious conservatives,” he wrote, “‘under God’ is a crucial symbol, the last religious reference left in the schools since the separationist makeover of education.”

Mr. Leo believed that efforts to instill self-esteem and ethnic pride in students were misguided and undermined the basic purpose of education.

“Real self-esteem is released when a child learns something and develops a sense of mastery,” he wrote in a 2002 column. “It is a by-product of, and not a substitute for, real education.”

He often railed against “elites” — invariably meaning liberal elites — despite living in New York and working for prestigious publications and, later, a think tank.

Some of Mr. Leo’s detractors pointed out that his arguments were sometimes bolstered by distortions and dubious assertions. In 1996, for instance, Mr. Leo wrote that “the amount of domestic violence initiated and conducted by men and women is roughly equal. In fact, women may well be ahead.”

The authors of the study Mr. Leo cited to support his column said he grossly misinterpreted their statistics, adding, “When we look at injuries resulting from violence involving male and female partners, nearly 90 percent of the victims are women and about 10 percent are men.”

John Patrick Leo was born June 16, 1935, in Hoboken, N.J., and grew up in Teaneck, N.J. His father designed stainless steel fixtures for hospitals and kitchens, and his mother was a teacher.

Mr. Leo commuted to Manhattan’s Regis High School, a prestigious Jesuit institution, then graduated in 1957 from St. Michael’s, a Catholic college affiliated with the University of Toronto. He later told Christianity Today that he had abandoned his earlier religious beliefs.

“I grew up in the Catholic tradition, and my head is permanently shaped by it,” he said. “I believe its social principles, and I defend religion against the assaults of a wrongheaded culture.”

He began his career at the Record newspaper in Bergen County, N.J., then worked as an editor and columnist for Catholic publications before writing about intellectual life for the New York Times from 1967 to 1969.

After working for New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, Mr. Leo launched the Village Voice’s media criticism column in 1973. The next year, he moved to Time, where he covered cultural and religious trends.

Despite his conservative views, the affable Mr. Leo had friends from every political viewpoint and was the longtime organizer of a literary softball team in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

His first marriage, to Stephanie Wolf, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife since 1978, the former Jacqueline McCord, a former top editor of Family Circle, Readers’ Digest, Consumer Reports and Good Morning America; two daughters from his first marriage, Kristin Leo and Karen Leo; a daughter from his second marriage, Alexandra Leo; two sisters; a brother; and three grandchildren.

In 2006, Mr. Leo became a fellow of the Manhattan Institute, a leading conservative and liberal think tank, where he had a blog about developments in higher education until 2016.

From time to time, Mr. Leo devoted his column to skewering the conventions and pomposities of journalistic prose.

“For instance, ‘omnipresent’ means insufferable, as in ‘the Omnipresent Yoko Ono,’” he wrote.

He also mocked the proliferation of hyphenated modifiers, “the more meaningless, the better: in-depth interviews, blue-ribbon panels, tree-lined streets. In the whole history of American journalism, fewer than twenty streets have failed to be identified as tree-lined."

Remembering John Leo

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John Cherry

John Cherry

October 11, 1948 - May 8, 2022

Really sad news, Vern. One of the men who brought Ernest P. Worrell to life has died. Filmmaker John Cherry died Sunday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 73. 

"Buster, as his friends lovingly knew him by, was probably the most brilliant man I've ever met," reads a post from Melissa Laster on a Facebook page dedicated to the iconic character portrayed by Jim Varney. "Even as Parkinson's began to rob him of some things, that creative mind of his was always going full-force to the best of its ability.

"He was kind, amazingly funny, generous and had a heart of gold. In addition to being a brilliant writer, he was also an amazing artist, a skilled fisherman and an all-around amazing human being."

Cherry, a longtime resident of Williamson County, helped create the lovable good ol' boy Ernest character for his ad agency Carden and Cherry, alongside then-rising stand-up comic Varney in the role that would wind up defining both of their careers. The character was created to help advertise a then-rundown Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky.

In a 1990 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cherry described the appeal that Ernest had during the advertising days. 

"Every time we do a study on who Ernest appeals to, it’s the under-13 and over-35 age groups,” Cherry said at the time. “If you’re under 13, it’s OK, and when you’re over 35, you know it doesn’t count anymore — you don’t have to be cool.”

The Ernest character first was used in regional advertisements (including an eight-year run with Nashville's Purity Dairies) and in short comedy skits before he hosted a direct-to-video special, Knowhutimean? Hey Vern, It's My Family Album, in 1983. He made his theatrical debut in 1985's subversive cult film Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, which saw Varney play seven roles, including Ernest, the titular Dr. Otto and his recurring character Auntie Nelda. That film started Cherry's longtime practice of mainly shooting the Ernest films in and around Nashville. 

Cherry is survived by his children Josh, Emilie and Chapman. His son Josh appeared in Ernest in “the Army” as Corporal Davis. 

Remembering John Cherry

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Samuel Rosenberg Schnydman

Samuel Rosenberg Schnydman

August 21, 1940 - May 8, 2022

Samuel Rosenberg “Sam” Schnydman, a retired financial advisor and insurance agent, died of Parkinson’s disease complications May 8 at St. Agnes Hospital. The Locust Point resident was 81.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Vickers Road in Ashburton, he was the son of Rubie Schnydman, a Little Potts furniture company vice president, and his wife, Florine “Flo” Rosenberg, a homemaker. He was a 1958 Baltimore City College graduate and loved sports, including lacrosse and soccer. He earned a degree at what is now known as the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Schnydman went into the insurance field and in 1966 joined the Milton Young Agency of Connecticut Mutual. He later earned his designation as a financial consultant, special needs planner and chartered life underwriter. He also gave classes about the insurance industry and mentored others in his line of work.

As the industry changed, Mr. Schnydman adopted new techniques. He embraced technology and abandoned printed materials to work with software and computers.

“He was always on the computers while other guys were hauling rate books around in the 1980s,” said his business collaborator, Charles J. O’Connell.

Mr. Schnydman encouraged his colleagues to include wealth management in their insurance practices. He reminded younger agents that they should look to their fellow agents as their best prospects and welcome collaborations.

“He was always willing to do joint work with someone,” said Mr. O’Connell, a Massachusetts Mutual financial advisor.

“He loved to sit down with families and talk about their needs and goals,” said Mr. O’Connell. “Sam was a gracious people person. He loved to meet people and to talk with them. He was a social marketer. He did not put ads in the paper. And throughout his life he got many referrals. It was always word of mouth.”

He had offices in downtown Baltimore and Towson.

Mr. Schnydman described his profession as a “commissioned salesman.” He often spoke of the “joy and oye” of the financial business, meaning there were good times and not so good times.

“He loved being able to deliver death benefits and disability benefits to keep his clients living in dignity and avoiding poverty,” said Mr. O’Connell. “He had a long career and there are still people living who will benefit from the work they did together with Sam.”

He had a strong work ethic.

“Everything was urgent to Sam,” said Mr. O’Connell. “If he told someone he was going to follow up, that’s what he did. He knew his families and remembered their birthdays and anniversaries. He attended their funerals.”

Friends said Mr. Schnydman was dedicated to his church.

“I met Sam in 1993 and we became friends,” said the Rev. Fr. William J. Watters, former pastor of St. Ignatius Church in Mount Vernon. “He read spiritual books. The Bible was of course his favorite, but he kept the works of the medievalist, Thomas à Kempis at his bedside and read it every night. Sam loved his service in the church’s sanctuary and was a great storyteller.”

Father Watters also said, “He helped people during his working years and had his private charities, bringing people food or money and giving them his time.”

Friends said Mr. Schnydman awaited Baltimore’s professional baseball and football seasons.

He met his future wife, Theresa “Thea” Blanche-Koelensmid, at his insurance office in the old First National Bank Building where she was working for another agent.

Mr. Schnydman discovered a love of good food, especially his wife’s Indonesian-style fried rice and other dishes she prepared.

“With a sense of adventure, they traveled the world together, by land, sea, and air, where Sam shared his infectious warmth and sense of humor with everyone he met, even if he didn’t speak the language,” said his business partner, Mr. O’Connell.

Mr. Schnydman is survived by his wife of 42 years, Theresa “Thea” Blanche-Koelensmid, a retired Catholic Charities resource coordinator; a daughter, Jennifer Schnydman of Ellicott City; a sister, Hobie Bruckner of Longmont, Colorado; a stepson, Greg Pesik of Provincetown, Massachusetts; a stepdaughter, Nicki Pesik of Atlanta; and a grandson.

Remembering Samuel Rosenberg Schnydman

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Lord Baron Lytton-Cobbold

Lord Baron Lytton-Cobbold

July 14, 1937 - May 2, 2022

Lord Cobbold, custodian of Knebworth House, was born on July 14, 1937. He died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on May 9, 2022, aged 84.

“I give you . . . David of Knebworth,” roared the tournament compere as a tall figure, resplendent in chain-mail, helmet and plume, galloped at full tilt with his lance fixed towards his opponent, the Black Knight. The assembled crowd watched as the jouster unseated his adversary, then saluted in triumph.

While many landowners work long hours to preserve their inheritance, few will have taken such a hands-on and hazardous approach as Lord Cobbold, one of the first aristocrats to keep his historic house in the family by opening it to the public.

Lady Hermione inherited the house when both her brothers were killed, Antony in an air crash and John at Alamein. She and her husband moved there in 1947. A lively, sporty boy, David enjoyed riding and tree-climbing in the deer park. He went to Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, before joining the Canadian Air Force as his National Service.

Lord Cobbold with Ella Fitzgerald at Knebworth in 1981
Lord Cobbold with Ella Fitzgerald at Knebworth in 1981

He took over his mother’s ancestral home Knebworth House, Hertfordshire, in his early thirties and with his dauntless wife transformed its fortunes, staging a series of music festivals featuring many of the greatest rock and jazz musicians of the era. Beginning in 1974, the events attracted the biggest names in music, including the Rolling Stones, Genesis, the Boomtown Rats, Cliff Richard, Pink Floyd and, in 1986, Freddie Mercury’s final concert. Oasis’s two-night run drew a combined audience of 250,000 and more than 2.6 million people applied for tickets.

Personable and charismatic, Cobbold juggled his various commitments as custodian, impresario, banker and peer. He was re-elected to the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat, among the 92 hereditary peers retained after the majority were expelled in 1999, and later became a crossbencher.

David Anthony Fromanteel Cobbold, the 2nd Baron Cobbold, was born into a Suffolk brewing family. His father was Cameron (Kim) Cobbold and his mother Lady Hermione (née Bulwer-Lytton), whose great-grandfather was the eccentric novelist and opium enthusiast Edward Bulwer-Lytton, famous for his highly-coloured romances and oft-parodied lines such as “It was a dark and stormy night”. Edward had lived at Knebworth, once an Elizabethan manor house built around a central court. In 1814 the three front sections of the house were demolished, while its rear west wing was remodelled in Tudor gothic style for Mrs Bulwer-Lytton, the novelist’s mother.

Aged 21, at a debutante dance, he met Christine (Chryssie) Stucley, from Hartland Abbey, North Devon, one of the few houses in England bigger than Knebworth, and was smitten by her large-eyed beauty, low-cut green dress and long hair. “He wandered over and asked ‘Are you a mermaid?’ ” she later recalled. The couple married in 1961, after Cobbold had changed his name by deed poll to Lytton Cobbold to honour his mother’s distinguished line.

Through his father’s contacts, he worked in banks around the world, including New York and Zurich, before joining the Bank of London and South America (Bolsa) in the late 1960s. Bolsa was one of the first banks in the Eurodollar market and the experience kindled Cobbold’s enthusiasm for European unity and the EU itself.

In 1960 his father Kim, a long-serving governor of the Bank of England, was made the 1st Baron Cobbold and three years later he was appointed lord chamberlain to the Queen; he found he had no time to keep Knebworth going.

Proud of their romantic family heritage, the Lytton Cobbolds begged to run the house themselves, taking over in 1969 despite parental fears at the cost. Money was indeed always tight: Chryssie’s father, Sir Dennis Stucley, paid for portraits of the young couple, teasing his daughter: “By the time David’s earned enough to pay for the pictures, you won’t be worth painting.”

Chryssie, a practical woman despite her dreamy manner, had few fears about running Knebworth on a shoestring, though there were challenges at first (she once woke up to find mice nibbling her toes). The pair began renovating, replacing rotten curtains and threadbare carpets, doing much of the work themselves, despite moth infestations and plumbing disasters.

Once visitors no longer risked being flattened by falling masonry, the couple opened the estate for everything from steam rallies and wedding receptions to Scout jamborees and film shoots. Their four children joined in with gusto. Henry, a keen naturist, became a Hollywood screenwriter before taking over the estate; Peter now manages property in Spain; Richard was appointed page of honour to the Queen in 1980 and later became an entrepreneur; and Rosina is an artist and designer. Given their extraordinary upbringing it was no surprise that all the Cobbold offspring were equally at ease hosting big-name celebrities, romping with lion cubs on the lawn or acting as extras in films like The Shooting Party (1985).

Also in the thick of the action at Knebworth were two of Henry’s closest friends from Eton, Ugandan brothers Danny and Harry Matovu, whose parents had suffered persecution under Idi Amin. The Lytton Cobbolds informally adopted the two boys, who went on to become successful barristers and an accomplished jazz vocal and piano duo.

Generous hosts, the couple threw parties reminiscent of the Bright Young Things of the 1920s. Their diverse group of friends included Dame Barbara Cartland, Auberon and Teresa Waugh, and neighbours Ken and Barbara Follett. They once threw an “Underground”-themed fancy-dress party, for which Cobbold had an entire Tube carriage towed into the courtyard as an eye-catching dance floor. Guests dressed as different stations including a borderline-pornographic Cockfosters.

Henry recalled his father “running for the train to a City job he tolerates so he can party like a prince all weekend” and “coming down to supper in his flashing Knebworth House jacket, and Brian May wig and dancing inappropriately with every pretty girl”.

As well as Chryssie, their four children and the Matovu brothers, he is survived by two children from other relationships. Although Cobbold was a well-known ladies’ man, the couple’s partnership remained close-knit thanks to their mutual tolerance and aristocratic disdain for convention. This included the decision to install a bath in the kitchen of their London house, where the pair would often convene, relaxing in the tub and pouring glasses of champagne as they discussed the day’s events at Knebworth and in the City. Lady Cobbold’s account of how they transformed the estate was duly titled Board Meetings in the Bath.

Hosting high- profile music festivals occasionally led to close shaves: while members of Pink Floyd and the Who were partying hard in one room, Cobbold and his wife had to distract the drugs squad next door.

Still he enjoyed sharing his inheritance, watching the vast crowds massing in the park amid the reek of cannabis smoke. He particularly loved meeting his jazz heroes Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald and was intrigued to discover that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was, somewhat unexpectedly, a great fan of Bulwer-Lytton.

After learning that his great-great grandfather had put on amateur theatrical performances with his friend Charles Dickens, Cobbold decided to recreate these “Dickens and Bulwer” evenings at Knebworth with the help of the actor Gerald Dickens, a descendant of the novelist: they restaged one of the original melodramas performed by their ancestors in 1850.

He co-founded the Historic Houses Association in the early 1970s and was its treasurer for many years. His daughter-in-law Martha (née Boone), Henry’s wife, now chairs it.

After working at BP and then TSB until the late 1980s, Cobbold left the City to run Knebworth full-time. The preservation work continued, with the restoration of the notable “bat on barrel” gargoyles — an architectural pun on the family name Lytton (“lyt” being an ancient word for bat and “ton” for barrel). Gertrude Jekyll had drawn up plans for a herb garden in 1907 which Cobbold finally had planted in 1982.

He established a charitable trust to secure the estate’s future, with the family paying rent to live there, then in 2002 handed it over to his heir Henry, who now succeeds to the barony. The Cobbolds moved to nearby Park Gate House.

Their granddaughter Morwenna, Henry’s daughter, became a well-known model and DJ while her brother Edward studied both rock guitar and land management in preparation for his own stint at the helm of Knebworth.

Cobbold continued jousting in full chain-mail into his seventies. His last public appearance was in April when he attended Morwenna’s wedding in the banqueting hall of Knebworth House.

Unconventional to the end, he was buried 25 hours after his death without priest or undertaker, in a quiet nook in Knebworth garden. He made his final journey in a cardboard coffin printed with the album design for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Remembering Lord Baron Lytton-Cobbold

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Mike Mahone

Mike Mahone

April 7, 1949 - April 30, 2022

Mike Mahone, a former Executive VP at the Radio Advertising Bureau, died Saturday, April 30 after battling pancreatic cancer and Parkinson’s disease. He was 73.

In 18 years with the trade group, Mahone oversaw its certifications, giving thousands of new account executives the skills and confidence to build a successful career in sales, according to the RAB. He helped usher the organization into the digital era by launching RAB.com, was a leading architect of the former RAB Training Academy and conducted sales training workshops and seminars all over the U.S.

“Mike was the driving force behind some of the most impactful, longest lasting RAB programs that thousands of radio sellers and managers went through and continue to go through today,” said Revenue Development Resources President Mark Levy, who was hired by Mahone at RAB. “For many, he was the ‘training face’ of the RAB.”

Born April 7, 1949, Mahone started his radio career in 1968 at WCOL AM & FM in his native Columbus, OH as a disc jockey, first on the all-gospel FM before moving to the top 40 AM. He crossed the street to country WMNI where he worked on-air and in production. Mahone segued to sales in 1973 at WJER Dover, OH, rising to Sales Manager before joining WHBC Canton, OH as General Sales Manager, then WQXK/WSOM Salem OH as General Manager.

He joined the RAB in 1994 where he helped train salespeople and oversaw the group’s Services Division.

“By every definition, Mike was a broadcaster,” the RAB said in an online tribute. “Mike worked tirelessly in the service of broadcasting and to so many was a teacher, a mentor, and a friend.”

Mahone is survived by his wife of 50 years, Anne, and by his daughter, Michelle, her husband Michael, and their two sons, Mason (7) and Matthew (4).

Remembering Mike Mahone

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Linda J. Reidsma

Linda J. Reidsma

January 1, 1948 - April 9, 2022

Linda Joice Reidsma age 74, of Lilburn, GA., passed away Saturday, April 9, 2022. She is preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Amy Louise Hicks; stepfather, Ken Sliter; brother, James Harold Hicks; and beloved husband, Thomas Reidsma. She is survived by her devoted children, Sean Rogers (Aisha), Regina Trudell, and Chad Rogers (Addie); siblings, Ken Hicks (Debi), Brenda Schalon (Joe), and Trina Sliter; grandchildren, Alex Trudell (Lori), Austin Trudell (Allie), Abigale Trudell and Jon Nichols (Adrienne); great-grandchildren, Addison and Landon Nichols; stepchildren, Scott Reidsma and family, and Lisa Dechert and family.

Linda loved life, laughter, spending time with her family, and also enjoyed traveling when she was not busy spoiling her grandchildren. She was known by many and will be missed especially by those she loved.

Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.wagesfuneralhome.com. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, A Family Company, 3705 Highway 78 West, Snellville, GA 30039 (770-979-3200) has been entrusted with the arrangements.

 

Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to Parkinson's Resource Organization, 74-478 Highway 111, No. 102, Palm Desert, Ca 92260 or on the Parkinson's Resource Organization website (parkinsonsresource.org)

Remembering Linda J. Reidsma

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Salvatore 'Sam' Prestianni

Salvatore 'Sam' Prestianni

January 1, 1931 - April 9, 2022

Salvatore “Sam” Prestianni, a retired Social Security Administration executive who coached youth baseball in Catonsville, died of Parkinson’s disease complications April 9 at his Ellicott City home. He was 90.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Sicilian immigrants, Frank Prestianni, a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad office clerk, and Katie Liberto, a homemaker.

He was raised in downtown Baltimore near Lexington Market, and spent his childhood in a Greene Street rowhouse. He was baptized at St. John the Baptist Church (now St. Jude Shrine).

“The house was filled with extended family, including aunts and uncles and cousins and three sisters,” said his son Sam Prestianni. “They were active in the St. John’s community, loved the church events like street fairs, bingo nights, spaghetti dinners, the annual May Procession led by the Knights of the Italian-American Society.”

His son said Mr. Prestianni attended St. John’s School, where the nuns taught him to mind his language.

“My father later wrote in a memoir, ‘The first admonition I received from the nuns was for my foul mouth. I used to cuss freely; this was the language I was accustomed to both in the house and on the street. But they put the fear of God in me. I remember pledging that I would never curse again. And I didn’t.”

At the age of 10, Mr. Prestianni started working at Lexington Market selling grocery bags and soon joined his mother’s cousin Carmello Liberto, who ran a fruit and vegetable stall.

“My eyes were surely opened from here on out, as I garnered all the tricks of life by working there until I graduated from college, some 11 years later,” Mr. Prestianni wrote in his memoir, “Fast Years.”

He played baseball in parking lots near Lexington Market and went to as many minor league Orioles games he could sneak into. He dreamed of playing in the big leagues, his son said.

When his home parish formed a Little League team, he was one of the first to join. He played basketball, baseball and soccer at Calvert Hall College High School and at what is now Loyola University Maryland, where he earned a degree.

In his memoir, Mr. Prestianni recalled walking a few blocks for movies at the Stanley, the Mayfair and the Howard theaters. He liked to dance and attended musical events at the Cahill Recreation Center near Walbrook, the old Fourteen Holy Martyrs Church and the Alcazar Ballroom on Cathedral Street. He also danced on moonlight cruises aboard Chesapeake Bay excursion boats.

He served in the Army and worked in a traveling audit agency in Salt Lake City and San Francisco from 1954 to 1956. Mr. Prestianni met his future wife, Margaret Mary Kantzes, in Ocean City. They married in 1964.

Skilled in mathematics and accounting, Mr. Prestianni was fascinated by numbers — he calculated odds, and delighted in studying weird number coincidences and sports statistics.

“He never gambled on horses with big money because he was too prudent,” his son said. “Yet he often came home with decent winnings.”

He went into accounting. Among his jobs were posts at the old Baltimore Transit Co., Glenn L. Martin Co. and Federal Power Commission. He joined the Social Security Administration in 1963.

Mr. Prestianni moved through the ranks as an accountant, auditor, analyst, and director. He retired in 1990 as a special assistant to SSA’s then-chief financial officer Norman Goldstein.

Mr. Prestianni was awarded the Department of the Treasury’s first annual award for distinction in cash management.

After moving to Catonsville, he coached baseball, football and basketball teams for the old Catonsville Midget League and basketball for St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church.

“Sam was a blend of Damon Runyon and Walt Disney,” said the Rev. Christopher Whatley, former St. Mark’s pastor. “He knew you always need a few characters in your life and he always saw the good in others. His role was making those he loved happy, especially his children and grandchildren.”

“My father was an inspiring coach because he always made sure everyone on the team got playing time, and when his team was crushing the opponent, he would give the kids on the bench more time to play so the score wouldn’t be a complete blowout,” his son said. “He also threw festive team parties with trophies and pizza at the end of every season.”

After the death of his first wife in 1983, Mr. Prestianni married Bobbie Reinecke Mitchell, an artist and nurse. They lived in Ellicott City.

His son said Mr. Prestianni was a spiritual person. He was initially reluctant to remarry after his first wife’s death. When a rose they had planted many years before came back to life after lying dormant near a religious shrine in his backyard, he took it as a sign.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Bobbie Reinecke Mitchell, a nurse and artist; five sons, Frank Prestianni of Owings Mills, Sam Prestianni of Oakland, California, Bill Prestianni of Eldersburg, David Prestianni of Hagerstown and Jack Mitchell of Pompano Beach, Florida; two daughters, Julie Mitchell of Relay and Nancy Gumbel of Elkridge; and 12 grandchildren.

Remembering Salvatore 'Sam' Prestianni

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Pete Orput

Pete Orput

January 1, 1954 - April 3, 2022

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who was due to retire later this year, has died at the age of 66.

It was confirmed by the county that Orput died at his Stillwater home while "surrounded by his family" on Sunday, though a cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

Orput announced in January he would not be seeking re-election and planned to retire at the end of 2022. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2020.

He had held the position of Washington County Attorney since 2010, prior to which he was an assistant to the Hennepin County Attorney, and also roles as general counsel for the Minnesota Department of Corrections and as a Deputy Minnesota Attorney General.

Among those paying tribute is St. Croix Valley senator Karin Housley, who said: "So sad to hear of the passing of our amazing Washington Cty Attorney, Pete Orput.

"He was one of the greatest guys on the planet, was wonderful to work with, and he became a great friend to the Housley family. We will all miss you, Pete. Thank you for your service."

Orput is survived by his wife Tami, six children and six grandchildren.

Remembering Pete Orput

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Dr. P Rema

Dr. P Rema

January 1, 1961 - April 1, 2022

Malayalam actor Jagadish's wife Dr P Rema died on Friday morning. She was 61 and the former head of the forensic department of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. Rema and Jagadish have two daughters Dr Ramya and Dr Soumya.

Rema had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for the last six years and had been bed-ridden for over a year. Actor Edavela Babu has confirmed that she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, as reported by Manorama online.

Jagadish is a popular character actor and comedian in Malayalam cinema. Some of his best roles are in movies such as Godfather, Junior Mandrake, Hitler and Welcome to Kodaikanal among others.

 

Remembering Dr. P Rema

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Contact Us

Address
Parkinson's Resource Organization
74785 Highway 111
Suite 208
Indian Wells, CA 92210

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

General Information
info@parkinsonsresource.org

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017