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Diane di Prima

Diane di Prima

August 6, 1934 - October 25, 2020

Just 22 and working as a file clerk on Wall Street to support her poetry habit, Diane di Prima turned heads when she mailed in several of her works to City Lights, the legendary San Francisco bookstore and publishing house.

City Lights had just spun the literary world off its axis with the release of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl,” and it seemed audacious that an unknown poet from Greenwich Village would be seeking the attention of a publisher that had become a citadel for an emerging generation of poets, novelists and deep thinkers.

Curious, Ginsberg and author Jack Kerouac drove to New York to meet her, impressed by her verse and her spunk. The three became lifelong friends and cohorts in the Beat movement, dramatically changing the course of 20th century literature.

Prolific and daring until the end, di Prima died Sunday in San Francisco, said Sheppard Powell, her partner of 42 years. She was 86 and had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

A free spirit who viewed life as a candy sampler of opportunities and pleasures, Di Prima published more than 40 poetry collections, novels and memoirs, championed other feminist authors, was arrested for obscenity, read a fiery one-line poem titled “Get Yer Cut Throat Off My Knife” at the Band’s final concert, once lived at Timothy Leary’s psychedelic commune in upstate New York and was named San Francisco’s poet laureate by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“I wanted everything — very earnestly and totally — I wanted to have every experience I could have, I wanted everything that was possible to a person in a female body,” she explained in an interview with Jacket magazine.

Di Prima was born Aug. 6, 1934, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the lone daughter of an attorney and a school teacher. Her parents had lofty and rigid expectations of their daughter, who was more drawn to the impulses and activism of her maternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant and self-proclaimed anarchist.

She said she began writing when she was 6 and knew she wanted to be a poet by the time she was 14. She attended a distinguished elite high school that drew academic high achievers from the city’s five boroughs and put in two years at Swarthmore College before dropping out and moving to Greenwich Village, then alive with jazz musicians, writers and counterculture artists.

Early on she met with Ezra Pound, the acclaimed poet and critic who was then confined to a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. She visited him daily, often over lemonade. And she wrote verse at a furious pace.

Her first collection of poems — “This Kind of Bird Flies Backward” — was followed rapidly by “Dinners and Nightmares,” a collection of short stories, and “Memoirs of a Beatnik,” which became an underground classic for its raw portrayal of the early Beat years.

But it was the multipart epic poem “Loba” that was held in the highest regard by her admirers. First released as a work in progress, the poem was seen by many as the female counterweight to Ginsberg’s “Howl.”


“How was woman broken?

Falling out of attention.

Wiping gnarled fingers on a faded housedress.

Lying down in the puddle beside the broken jug.

Where was the slack, the loss

of early fierceness?

How did we come to be contained

in rooms?”


She also co-founded the Floating Bear, a newsletter that ultimately got her arrested when she published several poems that the government regarded as obscene, including a piece by William S. Burroughs, the elder statesman of the Beat generation. The charges were later dropped.

She raised five children and took pride in being a dutiful mother. When she left a cocktail party early one evening to look after her daughter, she said Kerouac screamed, “Unless you forget about your babysitter, you’re never going to be a writer.”

She disagreed, saying that raising children helped give her the discipline to organize her schedule and set aside time for writing. Husbands were another matter. She was married twice, each ending in divorce.

Di Prima eventually grew weary of New York City and began to roam. She moved to the Catskills, then Leary’s LSD-tinged commune and spent a year traveling the country in a VW bus, reading poetry in storefronts, galleries and universities. She finally landed in San Francisco as the Summer of Love was fading. She never left.

In San Francisco, she became a member of the Diggers, a group of street activists who collected food for the lost souls who wandered Haight-Ashbury. She studied Buddhism, Sanskrit and alchemy. When pressed on her political leanings, she allowed she was likely an anarchist, much like her grandfather. In 2009, she was named poet laureate of her adopted hometown.

“At the root of it, she was a scholar and an off-the-charts genius,” Powell said. “When she got interested in something, she’d want to get to the core of it.”

Her final major collection of poems, “The Poetry Deal,” was published in 2014. As often was the case, City Lights was her publisher.

Di Prima continued to write until weeks before her death, though her arthritis forced her to use a stylus on a cellphone to write. Sometimes, Powell said, she’d dictate her verse, often to him.

She is survived by Powell, two brothers, five children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Remembering Diane di Prima

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Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser

January 5, 1931 - October 13, 2020

Percy Schmeiser, farmer known for fight against Monsanto, dead at 89. Schmeiser is remembered by his son as a dedicated father who loved taking his grandchildren fishing. Schmeiser, who had Parkinson's disease, is survived by his wife, Louise Schmeiser. 

John Schmeiser told CBC News his father died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday afternoon at the age of 89. Schmeiser had Parkinson's disease.

The Saskatchewan farmer became famous in the late 1990s after agrochemical giant Monsanto took him to court. The company had found its genetically modified canola in Schmeiser's field, but he had never paid for the right to grow it. Schmeiser insisted the seeds had blown onto his field in the wind and that he owned them. Monsanto sued him, and in the end, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the farmer had knowingly violated Monsanto's patent. 

As the world media descends on Percy Schmeiser and his battle with Monsanto, neighbours and scientists question the validity of his defence. Schmeiser's son John said the court case was only one part of his life, as it happened when Schmeiser was getting ready to retire. John said he'll remember Percy as a dedicated father, grandfather and businessman. 

"I am privileged to this day to be his son," John said. "Growing up, it was very, very evident right from the beginning about how concerned he was about his community and his family." Schmeiser served on town council in Bruno, Sask., for several years, both as mayor and as a councillor. He also ran a couple of businesses and ran a farm, John said. "We were always busy," John said. "And he always made time to be with family. And when grandchildren started to rise, it just took it to another level for him because he had more children to be around."

Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser’s battle with Monsanto, which went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, has been turned into a Hollywood movie called Percy. Although the movie is endorsed by Schmeiser’s family, there are concerns about its accuracy. Zakreski saw the movie at the Calgary Film Festival with Schmeiser's son, John, and said it was a strange and surreal experience. Though he said the film got more things right than wrong, there were some aspects where the director took artistic license. "The trial was a lot more intense and a lot more dramatic than it was portrayed," he said. "It took place in Saskatoon on a larger scale and it drew an incredible amount of interest. There were media scrums going into and out of court. It was a very high pressure situation."

"He was just an extraordinary person. I haven't met someone like him … an example for us all."

John said memories about his father that stand out are his passion for fishing and sharing his skills. "He would go to great lengths to take his grandchildren, when they were four, five, six years old, he would take them fishing. And he just loved doing that," John said. "For all of us, that was a very, very special thing and it was so important to him." Schmeiser would be filled with pride when he saw his grandchildren catch their first fish, John said. "I don't know who had a bigger smile, [Schmeiser] or one of his grandchildren," John said. "For him, that was just an incredible sense of accomplishment, to see them catch fish."

John said he hopes his father is remembered as that dedicated grandfather, passionate fisher and someone who would do anything to see his community succeed. Schmeiser would be there for his customers at the farm equipment dealership at any time, and even in retirement watched the weather to make sure they had a good harvest, John said. 

Schmeiser is survived by his wife Louise. The two had just had their 68th wedding anniversary on Oct. 2. John said they met at a dance in Bruno, Sask., and lived there their entire lives. Now, Bruno is home for him and his siblings forever, he said. 

In a video recorded in September 2020, the Schmeisers thanked people for their support through the legal battle and for the opportunity to have their story told in a recently released movie called Percy. (Mongrel Media/Vimeo)


Source: Saskatchewan

Remembering Percy Schmeiser

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Bernard S. Cohen

Bernard S. Cohen

January 17, 1934 - October 12, 2020

With Philip J. Hirschkop, he brought Loving v. Virginia to the Supreme Court, which struck down laws against interracial marriages.

“Dear Sir,” began the letter from Washington that found its way to Bernard S. Cohen at the American Civil Liberties Union in June 1963. “I am writing to you concerning a problem we have. Five years ago my husband and I were married here in the District. We then returned to Virginia to live. My husband is white, and I am part Negro and part Indian.”

The letter, from Mildred Loving, went on to explain that when she and her husband, Richard, returned to Caroline County, Va., to live, they were charged with violating Virginia’s law against mixed-race marriages and exiled from the state.

“It was that simple letter that got us into this not-so-simple case,” Mr. Cohen said later. The not-so-simple case was Loving v. Virginia, which Mr. Cohen and his co-counsel, Philip J. Hirschkop, eventually took to the Supreme Court. In a landmark unanimous ruling in 1967, the court said that laws banning interracial marriage, which were in effect in a number of states, mostly in the South, were unconstitutional.

Mr. Cohen died on Monday at an assisted-living center in Fredericksburg, Va. He was 86.

His son, Bennett, said the cause was Parkinson’s disease.

The Lovings had married in 1958. Five weeks later they were in their home in Caroline County when the county sheriff and two deputies burst in and arrested them. They pleaded guilty to violating the state’s Racial Integrity Act and were sentenced to a year in jail; a judge, Leon M. Bazile, suspended the sentence on the condition that they leave the state and not return together for 25 years.

By 1963 that restriction had begun to chafe, since they had relatives in Virginia and Ms. Loving missed “walking on grass instead of concrete,” as she put it. A relative noticed her distress.

“I was crying the blues all the time, so she said, ‘Why don’t you write Robert Kennedy?’” she recalled in a 1992 interview with The New York Times. “She said that’s what he’s there for.”

Mr. Kennedy was the attorney general at the time, and Ms. Loving did indeed write to him, asking if the national civil rights legislation then being formulated would provide any relief. Mr. Kennedy in turn suggested she write to the A.C.L.U., where Mr. Cohen was a longtime volunteer.

Mr. Cohen acknowledged that he was not particularly well versed in the relevant areas of law. He faced other obstacles as well, not the least of which was Judge Bazile, whose rulings in the case included this oft-cited declaration: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages.”

He began by filing a motion to set aside the sentence, but Judge Bazile took no action on it for months; the Lovings became concerned that they’d been forgotten. But in 1964 a law professor introduced Mr. Cohen to Mr. Hirschkop, who had only recently graduated from law school but knew civil rights litigation. He helped steer the case onto a path that eventually brought it to the Supreme Court, where, Mr. Hirschkop said in a phone interview, he argued that the Virginia law was a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution and Mr. Cohen argued that it was also a due process violation.

“Under our Constitution,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in finding in their favor, “the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”

Bernard Sol Cohen was born on Jan. 17, 1934, in Brooklyn. His father, Benjamin, was a furrier, and his mother, Fannie (Davidson) Cohen, was a homemaker.

He grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from the City College of New York in 1956 with a degree in economics. He graduated from Georgetown Law School in 1960.

Bennett Cohen said that, after the Loving case, his father did a lot of work in environmental law. In one case, he said, “the Jewish boy from Brooklyn represented some Christmas tree farmers whose whole crop of Christmas trees was destroyed by acid rain.” That lawsuit, he said, forced nearby power plants to reduce their pollution.

From 1980 to 1996, Mr. Cohen served in the Virginia House of Delegates, where among his accomplishments were measures that restricted smoking — a hard sell in a tobacco state like Virginia. Over the years, the story of the Loving case was told in a 1996 Showtime movie; the 2011 HBO documentary “The Loving Story,” directed by Nancy Buirski; and the 2016 feature film “Loving,” based in part on that documentary.

Richard Loving was killed in a car accident in 1975. Mildred Loving died in 2008.

In addition to his son, Mr. Cohen is survived by his wife of 61 years, Rae (Rose) Cohen; a daughter, Karen Cohen; and three grandchildren.

In 1994, when Mr. Cohen received a distinguished service award from the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, he gave an acceptance speech in which he lamented that public opinion of lawyers had turned negative, focusing on a few big-dollar civil verdicts and stereotyping anyone seeking redress in the courts as being part of an overly litigious society.

“There seems to be months of trial time available for Pennzoil to sue Texaco and for Polaroid to sue Kodak,” he said, “but cluttering the court with everyday people has become bad form, bad habit, bad business.”

He worried, he said, about the chilling effect.

“In a society of laws, driven by centers of economic and financial power,” he said, “if the courts are not available for the average person to seek justice, then the average person will not receive justice.”

Remembering Bernard S. Cohen

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Josephine 'Jo' Crack

Josephine 'Jo' Crack

December 31, 1969 - October 11, 2020

Josephine Crack, better known as ‘Jo’ was born in 1935 into a hard-working and highly respected family of grocers in the village of Lound, near Lowestoft. She had an older sister, Rosalie, who was disabled, and her life was centred at home and the small village school where she thrived.

Following her early education Jo went on to the grammar school in Lowestoft and it was a visit from the school’s headmaster which persuaded her parents that Jo had the potential to go to university. Jo headed to University College London where she studied German and earned her degree and certificate in education. She went on to spend a year in Germany and when she returned to England her first teaching post was in Rochester, Kent.

Then, in 1965, Jo moved to Maidenhead and started work at Maidenhead High School, now known as Newlands Girls’ School, as a German teacher. Jo stayed at the school for 27 years, seeing its gradual conversion to comprehensive schooling and its change of name to Newlands School in 1973. During this time she became deputy head, a post she later shared with joint deputy head Janet Longstaff. Janet said: “She was lovely to work with, really supportive, sympathetic, she was great.”

According to Janet, Jo was also an excellent teacher, producing ‘very successful’ exam results, as well as being principled. “She always claimed to be firm and fair, but she was always great fun and very sociable,” said Janet.

“She taught my sister an awfully long time ago, but when I told my sister she’d died, she said ‘Jo’s lessons were such fun’, she said ‘we would all end up giggling and Jo would be giggling too’.

Jo and Janet became good friends, and Celia Phillips, a fellow teacher, was another very good friend Jo met at school, the pair going on to share a flat and then a house together. Throughout her life Jo cherished friendships, and kept in touch with school friends, family friends, foreign friends, village friends and colleagues.

She also loved music and literature, and enjoyed sport, from playing hockey at school, to badminton in her thirties and short tennis following her retirement in 1990. As a spectator, eventing and horse riding came first for Jo, followed by football, golf and snooker. Although she liked to travel and explore different countries, in her retirement Jo was happy with spontaneous days out and short breaks in England.

Jo had Parkinson’s and moved to Boulters Lock Residential Care Home in Sheephouse Road in 2015.

She died at the home on Sunday, October 11.


Remembering Josephine 'Jo' Crack

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Jane Darrah Gates

Jane Darrah Gates

March 6, 1942 - October 3, 2020

Mercer Island, Washington - Jane Gates, age 78, passed on peacefully, surrounded by family, on October 3, 2020. Jane was known for her laugh, dry Midwestern one-liners, and her ability to make every moment a teaching moment.

Jane was born on March 4, 1942, in Wichita, Kansas, to John and Joanne Darrah, the second of five kids, sister to Tom, Cindy, Jody, and Bo. After graduating from Wichita High School in 1960, Jane got a degree in Education in 1964 from Kansas University. She also majored in having fun as a member of Pi Beta Phi.

Jane then headed to California to teach and met Navy man and future attorney, Mike Gates, at a party. Jane and Mike were married June 28, 1966, and shared a life of laughter, love and fun for nearly 55 years.

As mom to Kim and Adam, the kids remember mom as in charge of everything, the "mayor of Arden Park" and excessively generous. As Nana to Kim and Ron Thunen's children, Ella, Charlotte and Maddy and Adam and Silvia Gates' children, Zephyr and Colton, Jane found her true calling.
Jane taught first, second, and third graders for nearly 20 years. Described as a book-loving Mary Poppins, students continued to track down Mrs. Gates for many years.

Ever the Midwesterner and a 30-year resident of Sacramento, Jane loved her retirement life split between Palm Dessert and Mercer Island, Washington.
Jane was a consummate do-er, effortless entertainer, gardener and gourmet cook. She enjoyed a strong cup of coffee, a Manhattan cocktail, and anything sweet. Jane loved playing games with friends, from tennis and golf to bridge and mahjong. Jane was famously the queen of the frugality and the thrifty bargain.

Jane and Mike were perhaps happiest when travelling the world. From Europe to China to Washington, DC, Jane's warm smile and engaging personality started many great conversations throughout the years. Jane was easy to be around.

Jane suffered and died from Multiple System Atrophy.

Remembering Jane Darrah Gates

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Jerome Abraham Gliksman

Jerome Abraham Gliksman

April 30, 1940 - October 3, 2020

Jerome Abraham Gliksman passed peacefully into eternal life on Saturday October 3, 2020, in Rolling Hills Estates with his loving family by his side.

Jerry was born April 30, 1940, in Middletown, Pennsylvania to Josef and Julia Gliksman, Polish immigrants who escaped Poland in 1938 arriving in New York on the Queen Mary. The family, including Jerry’s sister Jeanette, moved to the Bronx in New York when Jerry was young, and when Jerry was fifteen, the family moved to Los Angeles. Jerry attended Hollywood High and went on to UCLA earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in structural engineering. It was at UCLA where he met the love of his life, Kathleen Lenihan, in the bridge room. This was also the beginning of his life-long love for anything UCLA.

Bruin basketball and Bruin football were staples in the Gliksman household. Mentioning USC beating UCLA in any year would earn some trash talking, as his grandsons, Rob, and Andrew, so loved to do with him in later years.

In 1962, Jerry and Kathy ventured to Vegas and eloped much to the disapproval of their parents. But 58 years of marriage pretty much erased any doubts how much they love each other. Their five children and thirteen grandchildren are living proof!

Jerrys chosen career path all started because, as the story goes, the engineering major didn’t require a foreign language. How lucky for the aerospace industry because he truly found his calling as an engineer and later as program manager for numerous satellite programs. He started at Northrop Grumman on the F5 program, then went to work for STL, which was eventually bought by TRW. When he joined the Space Park team in 1965, he spent the first ten years as lead structural engineer for several satellite programs, and as his career progressed, he was Program Manager for numerous satellite programs such as ROCSAT, TDRSS, DSP, and GRO. We imagine there are others that cannot be named due to national security.

He loved being an engineer and was especially proud being Program Manager for DSP and GRO (his baby). He was awarded the NASA Public Service Medal in 1992 for his GRO work; and received numerous accolades over the course of his career. He was well respected and loved by all who worked with him and for him.

He gave so much of his time to his kids in all aspects of their lives. Softball and baseball were a constant and at one point or another, he coached all five of his children. From 1978 to 1984, he was one of the girls’ softball varsity coaches at Rolling Hills High School. He also co-founded the PVP Girls Softball League on the Peninsula and was the president for many years. He was known as "Jer" which was a sign of absolute respect. He played tennis his entire life until a shoulder injury permanently sidelined him from the sport he truly loved. He would have loved to play professionally but he chose engineering over tennis when his counselor told him he couldn’t do both. On most weekends, he played tournaments at South End.

He loved to garden, so after his weekend tennis matches, he would come home and work in the yard!

He loved the Dodgers! For many years, he had season tickets to the Dodgers and loved taking his kids and his grandkids to the games. Such fond memories and great times we shared with him!

With all his spare time (HA!), he was civic minded too! He sat on the Traffic Commission for the City of Rolling Hills Estates, was president of the Dapplegray Lanes Property Owners Association for many years and led the DLPOA Architectural Committee.

He tutored not only his children but other kids as well. "Define your variables" was his motto. And oh did he love to dance! He so enjoyed the "happy feet" gatherings, and he sure had some moves.

With all his accomplishments, his family was most important to him. He was devoted to his family, and his unconditional love for his wife, kids and grandkids was extraordinary.

Jerry was truly a great man. He was decent, kind, and honest. He had character, integrity, and honor. He had an unmatched work ethic, uncompromising loyalty to family, had a wickedly wonderful corny sense of humor, and he was brilliant. He fiercely fought the disease that robbed him of his life way too young. And through it all, he never complained - he just accepted the challenges and tried to find a way to overcome them. And as the challenges kept coming, he kept fighting until his body just couldn’t anymore.

He is our hero and our guiding light. He exemplified a life well-lived. He showed us how to take care of each other in sickness and in health, how to laugh (even in the darkest hours), and how to love each other. Life will never be as bright without him with us. He will forever be loved and greatly missed!

He is preceded in death by his parents Josef and Julia; his sister Jan; and his granddaughters Elizabeth Wieland and Julia Wieland. He is survived by his loving wife Kathy, his children: Melissa (Ron) Wieland, Kristi Turchi, Joe (Clarissa) Gliksman, Mary Gliksman, and Pattie (Dan) Frandson; his grandchildren: Rob, Andrew and Ashley Wieland, Megan, Jamie, Kelsey and Mia Turchi, Robert and Samantha Gliksman, Kristina, and Daniel Frandson; his nephew Kris (Erin) Hermes.

Remembering Jerome Abraham Gliksman

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Michael Whishaw

Michael Whishaw

August 29, 1936 - September 27, 2020

Michael was born in England on August 29, 1936 and passed away at 84 peacefully in his sleep early September 27, 2020 in La Quinta, California due to Parkinson’s Disease.

He was a very gentle, kind, and humble Gentleman whose passion was sailing, fishing, garden design, cooking, ceramic repair and loved building Department 56 Christmas Villages. He was a great Host who loved entertaining family and friends. 

He is survived by his wife, Jan, his three children in England, Nick (Tania) Whishaw, Catherine Whishaw, James (Newby) Whishaw and his stepdaughter Jacquie McClure.  His 5 grandchildren Tim, Natasha, Telisa, Jack and William, who all live in England.

He was in sales all his life and loved public speaking.

Michael, you will be deeply missed but your legacy will continue through your loving wife, your children, and your grandchildren, and by all the people that your wonderful life has touched.

A Memorial Mass is scheduled for October 24, 2020 at Sacred Heart Church at noon.

In lieu of flowers, may we suggest donations be made in Michael’s memory to Parkinson’s Resource Organization,74-090 El Paseo #104, Palm Desert, CA 92260 www.parkinson’

Remembering Michael Whishaw

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Robert Lewis Smith

Robert Lewis Smith

June 22, 1938 - September 23, 2020

Robert Lewis Smith died peacefully in Murfreesboro, TN on September 23, 2020. His wife of 60 years, Mary "Sue" Crisp Smith, also died peacefully in Murfreesboro, TN on November 19, 2020.

Robert was born on June 22nd, 1938 in Ranger, TX. He grew up in nearby Abilene as the 4th child of the late Lewis Smith and Eunice Turner Smith. He was preceded in death by his brother Ned Smith of Houston, TX and his sister Marilyn Owens of Abilene, TX. His sister Bonnie Baker of Dallas, TX passed away on May 3, 2021.

Sue was born in Victoria, TX on December 11, 1938, the firstborn to her parents, the late Noah and Elizabeth Crisp. She is survived by her brothers Don Crisp and Jerry Crisp, both of Dallas, TX.

Robert and Sue are survived by their children Sara Smith of Shreveport, LA, Timothy Smith and his wife Jocelyn of Olympia, WA, Marcie Smith Castleberry and her husband John of Murfreesboro, TN, and Andrew Smith and his wife Erin of Seattle, WA. They have five grandchildren: Will Smith, Nathan Smith, Erin Smith, Elliot Smith, and Ben Smith.

Robert and Sue both graduated from Abilene Christian College in 1961. Robert received a doctoral degree from The University of Tennessee, Memphis. They moved to Shreveport in 1968 where Robert joined the faculty of LSU Health Sciences Center. He was a researcher and professor of Biochemistry there until he retired in 2006.

Sue worked as an advocate for people with disabilities. She was president of the PTO at Sara's school, and she worked for many years with the Caddo-Bossier Association for Retarded Citizens, including serving as its president. In 1979 Sue created ACCESS, a state-funded agency designed to help disabled people access resources to enable them to overcome limitations.

Sue and Robert were both longtime members of Southern Hills Church of Christ and then Clearview Church of Shreveport. Robert served first as deacon then as elder at Southern Hills. Sue was a gifted teacher and leader. She taught Bible classes and led home Bible studies. Robert and Sue opened their home to many "small groups," furloughed missionaries, and other friends over the years. In 2010 they helped establish Clearview Church of Shreveport with the goal of reaching more young people with Christ's message of hope.

Robert was deeply interested in the interface between science and faith. Well after retirement he continued to read scientific books and journals, compelled by his love for nature and respect for the scientific process. This wonder also compelled him to hike, fish, and garden for as long as his Parkinson's Disease would allow.

Sue had a quick and inquisitive mind. She loved to learn and was interested in new ideas. When home computers came on the scene, Sue was an early adopter and she loved helping others with her skills. Even in old age, she could help her middle-aged children with their software woes.

Both Robert and Sue especially loved visits from their children and grandchildren. During those times, their home was full of the family cooking and eating together, playing games and working puzzles, laughing, talking, and watching football, with grandkids running joyfully through the house. Their family will always cherish memories of those times together.

Remembering Robert Lewis Smith

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Reverend Robert Graetz

Reverend Robert Graetz

May 16, 1928 - September 20, 2020

The Rev. Robert Graetz, the only white minister to support the Montgomery bus boycott and who became the target of scorn and bombings for doing so, died Sunday at his home in Alabama. He was 92.

Graetz died from complications of Parkinson’s disease, said Kenneth Mullinax, a friend, and family spokesman.

Graetz was the minister of the majority-Black Trinity Lutheran Evangelical Church in Montgomery, Ala. He was the only local white clergyman to support the boycott. He and his wife, Jeannie, faced harassment, threats, and bombings as a result.

Sparked by the December 1955 arrest of Rosa Parks, the planned one-day boycott of Montgomery City Lines became a 381-day protest of the segregated bus system that ended with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.

The parsonage where the Graetzes lived was twice hit by bombs, once when they were away and again in 1957, not long after the boycott ended, in a wave of attacks by white supremacists on civil rights leaders and churches. Four Black churches and the home of the Rev. Ralph Abernathy were also bombed on Jan. 10, 1957. The Graetzes were at home with their children at the time, including their then-9-day-old baby.

One bomb blew out the windows of the home. A second bomb, a package of 11 sticks of dynamite wrapped around a small box of TNT, was at the parsonage earlier that night but failed to explode.

In his book, “A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation,” Graetz described how during those years of danger he played a game with his children in which he encouraged them to duck behind the sofa if they were told to hide because of a strange noise outside.  

Despite the scorn, violence and threats he and his wife faced, Graetz wrote they would not change a thing if they were given the opportunity.

“The privilege of standing up for righteousness and justice and love is greater than any other reward we might have received,” Graetz wrote.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said Graetz “lived what he preached.”

“Rev. Robert Graetz and his wife, Jeannie, stood against hate and put their lives in danger because the cause, of their all-Black congregation and the community itself, was just,” Reed said.

Tafeni English, the director of the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center, called Graetz a “remarkable civil rights and social justice leader.”

“Rev. Graetz was a kind and gentle soul, who along with his revered wife, Jeannie, dedicated his life to creating Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community,” English said.

Graetz is survived by his wife and several children.

Remembering Reverend Robert Graetz

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Dale Walsh

Dale Walsh

February 20, 1937 - September 19, 2020

Philip Dale Walsh, 83, of Sioux City, passed away Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, at his residence.

Services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, with the Rev. David Hemann officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. today, with the family present 5 to 8 p.m. and a vigil service at 7 p.m., at Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel. Online condolences may be given at

Dale was born on Feb. 20, 1937, on the family farm near Kimball, S.D., the son of Philip and Frances (Blasius) Walsh. Dale graduated from Kimball High School and the University of South Dakota. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and was discharged with an honorable discharge on Dec. 31, 1966.

Dale married Patricia Fillmer on Aug. 10, 1963 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. He worked as a salesman for Vita Craft, and then at MCI for a number of years before starting his own business, the Walsh Upholstery Shop. Dale worked up until Parkinson's made it too difficult.

He enjoyed camping, being with his family, and watching sports. Dale was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Walsh of Sioux City; children, Renee Scholler of Sioux City, Jeff Walsh of Sergeant Bluff, Denise Berger of Sergeant Bluff, and Kelly Walsh of Sioux City; six grandchildren, Alexander Berger, Aaron Berger, Austin Walsh, Andrew Walsh, Katie Scholler, and Kandi Scholler; and two brothers, Robert (Janice) Walsh of Minden, Neb., and Thomas (Barb) Walsh of Sioux Falls, S.D.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Philip and Frances Walsh; a brother, Kenneth Walsh; and a sister, Vivian Geppert.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the medical professionals, including Hospice of Siouxland.

Remembering Dale Walsh

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

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Updated: August 16, 2017