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Nicholas Philip Jones

Nicholas Philip Jones

May 6, 1944 - August 11, 2022

Nicholas (Nick) Philip Jones of Summerland BC died on August 11, 2022, battling Parkinson’s disease.
Nick was born May 6, 1944, in Harrogate, England


Nick is survived by his loving wife of 40 years Marina (Calangis-Jones), brothers and sisters Paul Jones (Deep River, Ont.), Mark Jones (Annapolis MD), Fenella Bramwell (Manchester, England), Clare Haire (Belfast NI) Roland Jones (Dubai UAE), many nieces and nephews, in-laws, and close family like friends.
He is predeceased by his parents Joyce (Bird) and William Jones and brother Julian.

Nick immigrated alone to Canada from the UK in 1962 as an 18-year-old boy to work in the high Arctic for the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) settlement stores trading goods and furs. He thrived in the Canadian northern environment and found his true life there. He was posted in what was then Spence Bay, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Belcher Islands and then also after leaving HBC worked in Paulatuk and Bathurst Inlet.


Nick did many jobs after moving “south” to Yellowknife NWT in the late 1960s. His passion was the ice roads which he worked building, driving and maintaining. He was an avid adventurer, snowmobiling, fishing summer and winter, bush whacking and being with friends, many who are still life long. He worked as a fishing guide on Great Slave Lake and had jobs over the years too many to name. His career included being a firefighter with the Yellowknife Fire Department and his final work in the NWT was back on the ice roads.


Moving to Summerland, BC with his wife Marina in 1988, Nick settled into Okanagan life, establishing his own business and taking up golf, always continuing to fish, trap shoot, fossil hunt, geocache, bird watch. He loved all things that took him outdoors. When he became more home bound, he loved the hummingbirds and always was in search of the perfect photo.

Life slowed Nick down with health issues including a final diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease less than one year ago. It took him down quickly, but he was brave in his diagnosis and decline. Nick passed away with dignity and grace with Marina and family like friend at his side.

Remembering Nicholas Philip Jones

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Bob Skelly

Bob Skelly

April 14, 1943 - August 6, 2022

Former British Columbia New Democratic Party leader Bob Skelly has died at the age of 79. 

Skelly served five terms in the B.C. Legislature representing the Vancouver Island riding of Alberni from 1972 until 1987.

He then ran successfully for the New Democrats in the newly created federal riding of Comox-Alberni, serving for one term from 1988 to 1993.

His wife, Sonia Alex Skelly, says Bob was very active until his death on Aug. 6, in Colwood near Victoria. He died of Parkinson's disease.

In an interview with CBC News, Alex Skelly says away from the political spotlight, her husband was a warm and friendly person who liked to talk to people about their interests, and he himself had many hobbies.

She recalls her husband became involved in politics through the school board when he was a teacher on Vancouver Island.

"We had a hobby farm … and when [New Democratic Party leader] Tommy Douglas came to our farm, he spoke to Robert and told him he'd be a really good candidate for the NDP and convinced him to run as a candidate … and from there he got elected in 1972 when Dave Barrett had his big sweep."

Even though he retired from public life, Skelly says her husband kept busy.

He returned to Vancouver Island and did many things, including tribunal work, was a justice of the peace, and worked with Indigenous groups on land claims.

"He was interested in the environment, in Indigenous affairs. His very first speech in the legislature was recognizing native land claims before anyone else mentioned it," she said.

Bob Skelly was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1998, but kept up with his numerous interests, such as poetry, gardens, anthropology, playing the bagpipes, and had a private pilot's license.

"Right until the last month he was determined to learn Spanish, he was trying to walk, he wanted to learn guitar, so he had all these how-to books sitting around, so he never gave up thinking he was going to do more," Alex Skelly said.

Bob Skelly is also survived by his two children and several grandchildren.

 

Remembering Bob Skelly

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Kathleen Niezurawski

Kathleen Niezurawski

June 3, 1950 - August 4, 2022

From excelling in Spanish enough to teach teenagers to earning another college degree late in life, Kathy Niezurawski was known as a lifelong learner.

“She was just thirsting for knowledge all the time,” said Marcy Anderson, a friend for more than 50 years. “She just soaked it up.”

Miss Niezurawski, a former copy editor at The Detroit News, died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Bay City after a battle with Parkinson’s disease, relatives said. She was 72.

In more than 13 years at the paper, the Michigan native honed her linguistic skills to leave a mark on the scores of articles she revised.

“Kathy was about as much a copy editor as a copy editor can get. She had grammar and style in her DNA and was a frequent resource for anyone on the desk,” said Andreas Supanich, news editor at The News. “... She didn’t take any shortcuts; even if deadline was 30 seconds away, she would take the time to do the job the right way. And in the end, the copy would be much clearer.”

Whether filling in on holidays or working late on election nights, Miss Niezurawski deftly trimmed and connected sentences, double-checked titles of sources and authored headlines for the mass of items that would reach readers online and in print.

Honors included a first-place finish in the headline writing category in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Detroit chapter annual awards ceremony.

“I remember her as the go-to person for grammar questions, like when to use lay or laid in a sentence,” said Steve Wilkinson, her longtime colleague on the copy desk.

Miss Niezurawski honed those skills working at publications including the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times, among others, said her cousin, Amy Glaza.

She primarily edited newspapers, which seemed a perfect fit.

“She loved the ability of a newspaper to really inform and educate the community on important issues,” Glaza said. “She really felt it was vital for our country to have an educated and well-informed community.”

Miss Niezurawski’s quest for education started as a youth in Bay City.

While attending Central High School, she joined the yearbook and school newspaper club. Though some classmates viewed the role as an easy way to avoid an English class, Miss Niezurawski relished it, said Anderson, who met her there. “She loved developing stories and coming up with good headlines. That just excited her. She truly loved it.”

After studying history and Spanish at Central Michigan University, she earned a teaching degree from Michigan State University, her family said.

Miss Niezurawski briefly taught in the Thumb region before returning to her love of journalism and taking a job in St. Louis. She later worked for newspapers in Arizona and California, relatives and friends said.

Her western stints were eventful.

“My favorite anecdote of hers was from her time there, when she crossed paths with a young Arnold Schwarzenegger at some kind of media event,” Supanich said. “It was crowded enough that they brushed against each other and that giant of a man ended up stepping on her foot. Instead of apologizing, he just looked at her and said, “Ouch!” in that Schwarzenegger accent.”

During those years, Miss Niezurawski found other pursuits, including serving as a tour guide and taking groups of students to Mexico as well as absorbing the culture in other countries, associates said.

Long active with the Sierra Club, she also loved bird-watching, hiking and camping — sometimes trekking solo, Glaza said. “She was incredibly adventurous and independent. It just astounded me. She was a real inspiration as a single woman forging her way. She just seemed to be fearless.”

Another passion was animals — donating to welfare groups or raising rescues as pets, Anderson said. “They were literally her babies.”

Miss Niezurawski eventually returned to Michigan to care for her mother, Leona, who died in 2003, said her brother, Michael.

While working at The News, she impressed others with her knowledge about far-ranging topics.

Her adoration of the Pittsburgh Steelers “was impossible to avoid,” Supanich said. “She was as well-versed in the ins and outs of football as anyone I’ve met. While the rest of us were suffering through losing Lions season after losing Lions season, Kathy could hold her head high.”

Michael Niezurawski always marveled at the seemingly endless array of facts honed from constant reading, which made his sister a formidable force in trivia games.

“She knew your answers and everyone else’s,” he said. "She was a learner."

To further her interests, Miss Niezurawski earned a degree in library science from Wayne State University before leaving The News in 2016, her brother said.

That led to a part-time library job, where she served as a resource person, Anderson said. “She loved that. That was the teacher in her coming out.”

Besides her brother, survivors include another sibling, David Niezurawski, as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.

Remembering Kathleen Niezurawski

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Nicky Moore

Nicky Moore

June 21, 1947 - August 3, 2022

Nicholas Charles Moore was an English blues, rock and heavy metal singer, who was best known as a member of the British band Samson. He replaced Bruce Dickinson who left the band to join Iron Maiden in 1982. Moore left Samson in the late 1980s and rejoined in the late 1990s.

After his initial departure from Samson, Moore sang in the band Mammoth, which also featured former Gillan bassist John McCoy. Mammoth released two albums before splitting up in 1989.[1]

In 2006, Moore teamed up with former Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton and three musicians from the Swedish band Locomotive Breath to record an album under the band name "From Behind".[2] The band performed at the Sweden Rock Festival on 9 June 2006.

From 1994, Moore worked with his own band, Nicky Moore and the Blues Corporation, who were voted 'Top Live Blues Band' by BBC Radio 2 listeners in the year 2000.

On 3 August 2022, Moore died at the age of 75 from Parkinson's disease.

The British musician, who was regarded as a pioneer of heavy metal. 

Moore’s death was confirmed by his team in a statement on Facebook, which read: ‘It is with immense sadness and almost unbearably heavy hearts that we have to let you all know that Nicky – a man larger than life in body and spirit – has sadly passed away this morning. 

‘A man that lived a thousand lifetimes in just one has decided he needed a rest. Rest well, dear friend. 

‘We will all miss you x.’ 

According to Louder, Moore had lived out his final days in a nursing home. 

Moore, who hailed from Devon, found his passion for music after becoming a choir boy before launching his rock music career in bands such as Hackensack, formed in 1969. 

In 1974, he became a member of Tiger alongside ‘Big’ Jim Sullivan. 

However, he then found his permanent home with Samson in 1981 and went on to change the direction of their sound with albums such as Before The Storm and Don’t Get Mad, Get Even.

Their journey recording and touring the two albums was featured on a live album, Thank You and Goodnight. In addition to Samson, Moore was known for performing with other bands, including Mammoth alongside Gillan bassist John McCoy, From Behind with late Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton and Electric Sun which also featured Scorpions’ Uli Jon Roth.

Samson has also mourned the death of guitarist Paul Samson, who died in 2002 following a battle with cancer, while bassist Chris Aylmer died five years later.

Remembering Nicky Moore

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Johnny Famechon

Johnny Famechon

March 28, 1945 - August 3, 2022

Former boxing world champion Johnny Famechon has died in Melbourne after a lengthy illness. He was 77.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame announced Famechon's death in a statement on Thursday. Famechon was struck by a car while jogging in 1991 in Sydney which caused him to suffer a stroke and resulted in an acquired brain injury.

The Australian boxer's most memorable world title victory was his WBC points decision win against Cuban Jose Legra at London’s Albert Hall in 1969. Famechon boxed professionally for more than 20 years and had a record of 56 wins — 20 by knockout — six draws and five losses.

Famechon defended his featherweight world title against Japan's Masahiko Harada, better known as Fighting Harada, six months after beating Legra and won in a controversial points decision. In the rematch for the world title, Famechon knocked out Harada in the 14th round in Tokyo.

Famechon attempted to defend his WBC title in May 1970 in Rome against Mexican Vicente Saldivar but lost the fight. He retired from boxing soon after at the age of 24.

Born Jean-Pierre Famechon in 1945, he moved to Australia from France with his family at the age of five.

“Johnny Famechon was one of the most popular Australian boxers of all time," Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said. “Johnny was our humble, skillful world champion, showing the essence of how we see our heroes. He was described as poetry in motion, a master craftsman."

Remembering Johnny Famechon

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Irwin Kellner

Irwin Kellner

October 4, 1938 - July 31, 2022

Irwin Kellner, a distinguished economist, and longtime resident of Port Washington North, died at 83 on July 31 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, his family announced.

Kellner was born on Oct. 4, 1938, in Brooklyn. He met his wife, Ann, at a dance in 1958; the two got married in 1961.

Together, they raised two children: Lori and Shari. He later became a grandfather to Sam, Marli and Olivia. He also had a strong relationship with his son-in-law Jeff; the two would frequently go golfing and discuss the stock market.

Initially, Kellner intended to pursue a career in automotive design. He transitioned towards economics after that didn’t work out.

He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from Brooklyn College, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics from the New School for Social Research.

His daughter Lori said that despite switching from wanting to pursue art to finance, he never lost his creative side. She added he wasn’t like other people in his field.

“He loved meeting people,” she said. “He loved talking about [economics] and he made it easy to understand and that was the best part.”

Kellner had a successful career as a financial columnist and economist. During which he was published, cited and made TV appearances on CNN, CNBC, ABC, News12 and other networks.

He worked as an editor at Businessweek magazine; as a research analyst for Philip Morris Inc.; as chair of economics at Hofstra University; as president of Kellner Economics; and as an economist with Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company and its successors as they merged with Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank.

But, more important than his work, was his family. Lori said he tried to support and be present for his children and grandchildren every chance he had. She said being a grandfather was Kellner’s greatest role. 

“Every morning here, even when he when he was sick, he was constantly talking about the kids,” she said. “Just telling stories from when they were little — that was his life. He was a good family man.”

He also had a close relationship with his father-in-law after losing his father when he was young. They both had a strong passion for professional wrestling. As Kellner made more connections, the two met wrestling legends like Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Freddie Blassie during monthly shows at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s funny, how you can think somebody is a serious finance guy but his thing was professional wrestling, he loved golf and his grandchildren,” said Lori. “He was a mush.”

He was also devoted to his community. In June, the Port Washington North Board of Trustees honored Kellner for his five decades of service on the village’s planning board.

He joined Port North’s planning board on April 3, 1972, and served until the end of his term in April 2022.

Kellner helped to transform the village into what it is now, according to Mayor Robert Weitzner.

“Now, therefore, be it proclaimed that Irwin Kellner be honored this day and henceforth for the wisdom and good counsel he so generously shared with the village of Port Washington North for an unprecedented 50 years,” he read to attendees.

Kellner died peacefully at home in his sleep. His wife Ann, children Lori and Shari, son-in-law Jeff and grandchildren Sam, Marli and Olivia survive him.

Remembering Irwin Kellner

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Larry Josephson

Larry Josephson

May 12, 1939 - July 27, 2022

His dyspeptic morning show helped make WBAI-FM in New York a vibrant, eccentric, alternative radio haven. “I was the first angry man in morning radio,” he said.

Larry Josephson, a cranky practitioner of free-form radio on noncommercial WBAI-FM in New York who helped shape the station into a vibrant, eccentric, alternative radio haven, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 83.

His death, at a nursing facility, was most likely caused by complications of Parkinson’s disease, said his daughter, Jennie Josephson.

Mr. Josephson, who later in his career produced and hosted public radio programs, mixed personal confession, satire, political talk, phone calls, music and puns in his morning program. He was considered a pillar of the station, along with his fellow hosts Bob Fass and Steve Post.

“But I was the first angry person in morning radio, and it was genuine,” Mr. Josephson told Newsday in 1989. “I couldn’t get used to getting up at 5 a.m., so, on the air, I’d slam down the telephone, throw fits, be late and be guilty that I was late.”

He added: “Today, Howard Stern is doing a bad imitation of ’60s me and getting a million dollars a year for it. I am getting nothing for ’90s me.” (He never earned much in public radio and died with very little money, his daughter said.)

Marty Goldensohn, a former news director at WBAI, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Josephson had been an independent thinker who “was not simplistic in his embrace of progressive ideas.”

“He didn’t go for rightist or leftist claptrap,” he said.

Soon after Mr. Josephson began hosting his show, “In the Beginning,” in 1966, The New York Times radio and television critic Jack Gould described him as “really less a disc jockey than an aural happening.”

He was inspired, for example, to play the Beatles song “Lady Madonna” over and over for two hours after its release in 1968, and to spend two days playing every available recording of “Celeste Aida,” from the first act of Verdi’s opera “Aida.”

Mr. Josephson opened one of his shows in 1967 with a version of “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” and declaring over it: “From the Chutzpah Room of the Hotel Sinai, it’s the music of Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Orchestra. How ’bout that, peace fans!”

Frank Millspaugh, a general manager of the station in the 1960s and ’70s, said listeners had empathized with Mr. Josephson’s eternal grumbling about waking up early. But some board members of the Pacifica Foundation, which owns the station, were displeased with the countercultural tone of Mr. Josephson, Mr. Fass and Mr. Post.

“They wanted a more serious, more respectful sound to the station,” Mr. Millspaugh said in a phone interview. But when they understood how effective those hosts were in raising money for the station, “they softened their criticism.”

In the mid-1970s, Mr. Josephson served for two years as the general manager of WBAI, which routinely operated on a shoestring. During one urgent financial crisis, the station turned to listeners to raise $56,000 to meet its monthly expenses. Within four days, $25,800 had poured in, most of it cash.

“We will survive,” Mr. Josephson told The Daily News in 1976. “We have to raise more money and spend less. It’s just like New York City,” which was dealing with a much larger financial crisis of its own at the time.

Norman Lawrence Josephson was born on May 12, 1939, in Los Angeles. His father, Adrian, at one point owned a woodworking company; his mother, Marian (Tyre) Josephson, was a homemaker.

Larry had loved radio since childhood but did not initially pursue work in it. Instead, he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, and studied linguistics, then went to work for I.B.M. as a computer engineer in the New York area. (He did not finish his bachelor’s degree until 1973.) He began volunteering at WBAI in the 1960s and was hired to host the morning show in 1966 because, he said, the station couldn’t find anyone else who would wake up that early.

“I’m a night person myself,” he told The New Yorker in a short profile in 1967, “and the only conscious position I had was to be Against the Morning. What I didn’t realize was that there was a tremendous audience out there — I don’t know how many millions — with a tremendous need for someone to be natural, to be grumpy.”

He left WBAI in 1972 and hosted a program at KPFA, a Berkeley radio station also owned by Pacifica, before returning to WBAI in about 1974. He stayed for several more years, hosting “Bourgeois Liberation” on Sunday mornings before becoming an independent producer.

Mr. Josephson helped revive the comedy team of Bob and Ray by producing their syndicated “Bob and Ray Public Radio Show” and their Carnegie Hall shows in the 1980s. He also produced audiocassettes and CDs of their best routines.

“We’re doing this because I think they should be on radio,” Mr. Josephson told The Associated Press in 1984. “It’s as much for radio as for Bob and Ray. They need each other.”

Over the next two decades, he hosted and produced “Modern Times,” a national call-in show that was distributed by American Public Radio; “Bridges,” on which he interviewed conservatives like Milton Friedman, Charles Murray, Ralph Reed and Norman Podhoretz; and “Only in America: The Story of American Jews,” an eight-part documentary series whose guests included the Supreme Court associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mr. Josephson produced nearly all of his post-WBAI work from a radio studio that he built in the third bedroom of his Manhattan apartment. He derived income by renting it out to others with projects to pursue, among them the BBC, the Boston Radio station WBUR, Al Gore, Samuel L. Jackson, Garrison Keillor, the CBS newsman Ed Bradley and the Rolling Stones.

The actor Alec Baldwin wrote in an email how pleased he had been to find a studio one block from his apartment. “I recorded countless projects there,” he said, including his podcast, “Here’s the Thing,” “and found Larry to be not just a great historical resource of all things related to radio but a lovely man as well.”

In 2012 Mr. Josephson performed a one-man, one-performance show, “An Inconvenient Jew: My Life in Radio,” at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village.

In 2018 he fractured a vertebra and needed spinal fusion surgery, prompting him, because of his precarious finances, to start a GoFundMe campaign. It raised nearly $28,000 to help pay for a home health attendant.

In addition to his daughter, Jennie, he is survived by his stepdaughter, Rebecca Josephson; his stepson, Gregory Alker; his sister, Susan Josephson; and two grandchildren. His marriages to Charity Alker and Valerie Magyar ended in divorce.

Mr. Josephson said in 1989 that public radio had let him say nearly everything he wanted.

“When push comes to shove,” he told Newsday, “I’d rather work for nothing and do exactly what I want without any interference from vice presidents or format experts.”

Richard Sandomir is an obituaries writer. He previously wrote about sports media and sports business. He is also the author of several books, including “The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic.” 

Remembering Larry Josephson

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Aaron Latham

Aaron Latham

October 3, 1943 - July 23, 2022

Aaron Latham, the journalist, screenwriter and husband of CBS News veteran Lesley Stahl who penned the articles that served as the basis for the John Travolta films Urban Cowboy and Perfect, has died. He was 78.

Latham died Saturday at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania after a battle with Parkinson’s disease, his wife told The Hollywood Reporter. His health declined after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020, she added.

A native of Texas who wed Stahl in 1977, Latham worked for The Washington Post, Esquire, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, among other publications, during his career.

Urban Cowboy (1980) came from Latham’s Esquire piece that revolved around a romance between a mechanical-bull rider and a woman at the Houston-area nightclub Gilley’s. The real-life pair became Travolta’s Bud and Debra Winger’s Sissy in the box office hit.

Latham’s stories for Rolling Stone about young, single people and health clubs was turned into Perfect (1985), starring Travolta as a reporter and Jamie Lee Curtis as a workout instructor.

For both movies, he worked on the screenplays with director James Bridges.

Latham also co-wrote with director David S. Ward The Program (1993), the drama about college football that starred James Caan, and he co-wrote the book for the 2003 Broadway musical version of Urban Cowboy.

Aaron Latham was born on Oct. 3, 1943, in Spur, Texas, near Lubbock. His father was a high school football coach, and his mother taught grammar school.

Every time his dad had a winning season, “we moved to a bigger place,” he told Texas Monthly in 2000. “I lived in Spur, Munday, De Leon, Abilene. I was a football player until I got hurt during my freshman year. At one practice I ended up at the bottom of a pile, and I had to have my left kidney removed. Off the field, though, I always loved English.”

At Amherst, he edited the college newspaper before graduating in 1966, then earned his Ph.D. at Princeton.

In August 1973, Latham was reporting on Watergate when he contacted Stahl, then looking into the cover-up for CBS. “‘How dare you call me at home?'” he recalled her saying in a 1977 profile of the couple for People magazine. “‘If you want to talk, call me tomorrow at the office,’ she barked, and then slammed down the phone.”

They agreed to meet the next day, but in the meantime he decided to “turn on the TV to see what this person looks like.” He did and said he was “terrified. I thought, ‘She’s so beautiful.’ My heart stopped, my mouth dried up and I said, ‘What have I gotten myself into?'”

Latham’s first novel, Orchids for Mother, a roman à clef about the CIA and his early relationship with Stahl, was published in 1977. They married in February of that year.

His other books included Crazy Sundays: F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood; Frozen Leopard: Hunting My Dark Heart in Africa; The Ballad of Gussie & Clyde: A True Story of True Love; Code of the West; and The Cowboy With the Tiffany Gun.

Stahl said that amid the bidding for the movie rights to Urban Cowboy, Latham had written into his contract that he handle the screenplay as well.

In a September 2018 interview with Brain and Life, she said Latham received his Parkinson’s diagnosis after puzzling symptoms like a slow gait led the couple to seek medical care.(Stahl told THR he had the disease for some 15 years.)

Though he faced a steep battle with the degenerative disorder, he continued to write and tackle new creative endeavors like directing plays.

He found relief and a new physical challenge through Rock Steady, a boxing program designed for people with Parkinson’s (Stahl did a segment on it for 60 Minutes).

Though Latham also found success with a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation that helped reduce tremors and stiffness, his condition worsened after getting diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We got [COVID] together right at the very beginning,” Stahl, 80, told THR last week. “It really disrupted the course of his disease. Parkinson’s is a progressively degenerate disorder, and he was going along in a very slow, incremental, downward trend, but not bad. But when he got COVID, he just went off the side of the cliff.”

Survivors include their daughter, Taylor; son-in-law Andrew; and grandchildren Jordan and Chloe.

The couple relished their roles as parents and grandparents, with Stahl telling Guideposts: “Aaron, who was raised a Methodist, always says there’s a plan to the universe, there’s a higher order. Grandchildren come along and they send you in a direction you never dreamed you were going. You discover a new purpose, a new calling.”

Remembering Aaron Latham

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Emilie Venes Brzezinski

Emilie Venes Brzezinski

January 21, 1932 - July 22, 2022

A Swiss American sculptor and the widow of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Mrs. Brzezinski died July 22 at her home in Jupiter, Fla., at 90. She had Parkinson's disease, said her daughter, Mika Brzezinski.

Political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski, the father of Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski, was married to sculptor Emilie Venes Brzezinski. Brzezinski died on May 26 in his sleep at age 89, Mika announced on Instagram.

Emilie, who was born in Geneva, is world renowned for her unique, large sculptures using wood. She has shown her work in exhibitions around the world, with a recent exhibition at George Mason University School of Art last fall. Many of her aw-inspiring pieces are on display in the Czech Republic, where her family originated from. She also created “Arch in Flight,” a piece located just blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C.

As for Brzezinski, he was a key player in American foreign policy in the late 1970s and early 1980s as President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser for Carter’s entire term. In recent years, Brzezinski was a critic of the George W. Bush Administration and called for a strong response after Russia invaded the Crimea in 2014. He frequently appeared on television as a foreign policy expert, including making appearances on Morning Joe.

Emilie & Zbigniew Married in 1961

The 85-year-old Emilie and the 89-year-old Brzezinski married in 1961. She met Brzezinski while working at Harvard University’s Littauer Library.

As a Washington Post profile notes, she was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1932 and immigrated to London when World War II began. But the war followed them, so they left Europe completely and moved to California in 1943. The crossed the Atlantic while German U-Boats attacked.

Although her family later moved to California, she traveled to Massachusetts to earn a Fine Arts degree at Wellesley College.

Emilie’s family has its roots in the Czech Republic. She is a relative of the former Czech President Edvard Benes. Her brother, Vaclac Edvard Benes, is a famous mathematician.

“My father and mother both escaped Europe before the start of World War II. They met in college and we’re inseparable in the 6 decades that followed,” Mika wrote on Instagram.

As Emilie explained to Sculpture Magazine in 2015, she and her father spent a great deal hiking in Oregon and this was a major influence on her art. She explained that cultural identity is an important part of her life.

“For someone like me, a child of the ’40s, the question of identity remains crucial even at this stage of life. Over the years, I have met other Central-European artists and curators, both in Europe and in the States. There is a natural inclination and curiosity that brings us together and compels us to help each other,” she said, adding, “These various personalities and players, however vague and amorphous as a group, are very important to maintaining my sense of identity.”

Emilie Is a Sculptor, Working Mostly in Wood

Emilie’s current work is mostly made out of wood. Her website is called The Lure of the Forest, which shares its title with a book she published. During the 1970s, she worked with a variety of media, but became fascinated by wood in the 1980s.

“Nature has a grand design, but its manifestations unfold in imperfection and specificity. Respect for this persistent individuality in natural forms is the underpinning of my work,” Emilie says in a statement on her website.

One aspect of wood that attracted her to using it as a medium is that it is imperfect and flawed. It gives her work extra character, with a story to tell. In an interview with Sculpture.org, Emilie said the medium and process is just as important as what the finished project looks like.

“Every project I ever undertook allowed me to learn more about the fabric, the structure, and the individuality of the particular wood that I used,” Emilie told the magazine. “My work was always a process of discovery and experimentation. Eventually, I became aware of a whole portfolio of shapes, motifs, and designs, large and small, that I could use for my sculptures. Each of these discoveries also led me to new insights about the use of specific tools—the chisel, the ax, and especially the chainsaw—and the different cuts, lines, ripples, and gouges they created.”

Most of her work is displayed in the Czech Republic, including the “Prague Titans” at the Vltava River and “Broken Blocks” at the National Gallery in Prague. She also created a piece called “Arch in Flight,” which is just two blocks from the White House, located in front of the Federal Reserve Building

They Had 3 Children Together

The Brzezinskis lived in McLean, Virginia for over 30 years. The Washington Post notes that they bought a hose that is nearly 100 years old and is set in a “six-acre oasis.”

At first, their three children hated it, but they soon warmed up to it. “They cried every night,” Emilie told the Post. “We’re not a big family, but very close.”

“She was impossible,” Emilie told the New York Times of her daughter as a child. The Times notes that she also uses hearing aids. While Emilie said she was born deaf, Mika said it was because she uses chain saws for her work.

The Brzezinskis moved to Washington in the 1970s, when Brzezinski served in the White House. From 1977 to 1981, he served as President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser and played a key role in Carter’s foreign policy. He helped broker the Camp David Accords and saw Iran become an enemy of the U.S. He also helped normalize relations with the People’s Republic of China.

Their Sons are Lawyer Mark & Former Bush Aide Ian

Ian is their oldest son and was born in 1963. He followed his father into foreign policy, working for President George W. Bush as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO policy during Bush’s first term. Today, Ian is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He’s also the principal of Brzezinski Group, LLC and is based in Alexandria, Virginia. In August 2016, Ian was among the Republican foreign policy experts who signed an open letter declaring future President Donald Trump unfit for the presidency.

The 52-year-old Mark is a lawyer and served as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2011 to 2015 under President Barack Obama. He also worked in the Clinton Administration during President Bill Clinton’s second term on the National Security Council. After serving as the Ambassador to Sweden, Obama called on Mark to lead an initiative to get the federal government more active in Alaska’s Arctic region.

Their Daughter is Mika Brzezinski, the Co-Host of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’

The most famous Brzezinski child is their youngest, 50-year-old Mika. She’s currently the host of Morning Joe with her fiancé Joe Scarborough. Brzezinski was previously married to WABC reporter Jim Hoffer and has two daughters, Emilie and Carlie Hoffer.

Hoffer and Mika were married for over 20 years before they divorced last year. On May 4, Mika and Scarborough announced that they are getting married. It will be his third marriage.

Scarborough is honoring Brzezinski on Twitter. “Dr. Brzezinski fought tirelessly to bring freedom to his homeland of Poland. He was a fierce Cold Warrior against Russian aggression,” he wrote. The former Florida Congressman also shared an image of Brzezinski at Camp David.

Scarborough also posted another image, showing his fiancé as a kid with her father on the White House lawn.

Remembering Emilie Venes Brzezinski

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Susan Barrett

Susan Barrett

December 16, 1938 - July 21, 2022

One of Santa Monica’s best-known philanthropic leaders died recently but her name lives on in the community thanks to a lifetime of community work. 

Susan Barrett, of Barrett’s Appliances died earlier this month from Parkinson’s Disease and while many locals shopped from the store she ran with her husband Pete, others may also recognize her name from her generous community work.  

Born to Julian and Amada Jimenez on December 16, 1938, on the dining room table in Lincoln Heights, Susan was the eldest of three children proceeding her brother Julian Jr. and sister Juanita. She attended Lady Help Of Christian School in Los Angeles, Sacred Heart Academy, and college of the Holy Names in Oakland, California where she majored in education and Spanish. Her deep love of learning drove her to continue her education at St. Joseph College in Orange; Queen of the Holy Rosary College in Mission San Jose; Loyola University; Pepperdine University; and CSU Long Beach.

Friends said Susan will be remembered for her strength of character, her genuine faith in people, and the steadfast manner in which she dedicated herself to recognizing excellence and supporting the journeys of others. As a nun, an educator, philanthropist, friend, and family member, she proceeded always with generosity and meticulous thoughtfulness. 

From childhood, Susan wanted to be a nun and manifested that reality with as much conviction and faith as she went about all aspects of her life. In 1958, she entered Dominican Sisters of San Jose. During the 18 years in the convent, Susan taught in primary schools in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Portland, where she also worked as a principal.

After she left the convent in 1975, Susan moved to Santa Monica and was hired as a first-grade teacher for the Santa Monica School District. 

It was there that she met her husband, Pete Barrett. When Susan’s students wanted to construct a post office for the classroom, Susan went to Barrett’s Appliances on Main Street, where Pete made sure to deliver the necessary materials; mainly, a large refrigerator cardboard box. 

It was the beginning of a lifetime of creative collaboration and 23 wholesome years of marriage.

She has left a legacy that reflects the utmost care she poured into the many communities she served throughout her life.

With Pete, she created and sustained a life consistently driven by humanitarian concern. She volunteered substantially with the YMCA; the Santa Monica College Foundation; the American Heart Association; the National Conference of Christians and Jews; the Santa Monica/Malibu Education Foundation; Family Service of Santa Monica; the Senior Health and Peer Counseling Center; and the Santa Monica Heritage Museum, among many other organizations. 

After Pete’s death, Susan continued her work and was very involved in the establishment of the Cornerstone of Women’s Leadership at Saint Monica’s Parish.

The couple’s name still sits on the Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery at SMC. 

A member of the SMC Foundation Board of Directors, Susan was credited for working tirelessly on SMC Foundation’s capital campaign. 

“Each year, the Barrett Gallery at Santa Monica College showcases the work of professional artists as well as blossoming student talent,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn Jeffery. “Gallery attendees enthusiastically come from all across the Los Angeles metropolitan region and beyond, and it is the generosity and vision of Pete & Susan Barrett that made this possible. We are indeed so sorry to hear of Susan’s passing. Here at SMC, Pete and Susan’s light will continue to shine on, for years to come.”

As dedicated as Susan was to her community work, she and Pete found time to enjoy their leisure time. They both played golf regularly as members of Mountain Gate Country Club, forming many close friendships there, while also traveling to the world’s renowned courses to try their skills. They enjoyed seeing the world and built wonderful memories from their journeys. Susan, also a legendary and generous hostess, was known for her delicious as well as beautiful dinner parties.

Susan Barrett is survived by her sister Juanita Jimenez, as well as her nephews Julian, Brian, and Andrew Jimenez.

Diane Margolin and Juanita Jimenez contributed to this story.

Remembering Susan Barrett

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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

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General Information
info@parkinsonsresource.org

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017