Category Archive 'Obituaries'
14 Feb 2017

“I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You”

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Leslie Ray Charping, Nov 20, 1942 – Jan 30, 2017

Texas families don’t mince words. This outspoken obituary made international news.

Leslie Ray “Popeye” Charping was born in Galveston on November 20, 1942 and passed away January 30, 2017, which was 29 years longer than expected and much longer than he deserved. Leslie battled with cancer in his latter years and lost his battle, ultimately due to being the horses ass he was known for. He leaves behind 2 relieved children; a son and daughter, along with six grandchildren and countless other victims including an ex wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers.

At a young age, Leslie quickly became a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive. Leslie enlisted to serve in the Navy, but not so much in a brave & patriotic way but more as part of a plea deal to escape sentencing on criminal charges. While enlisted, Leslie was the Navy boxing champion and went on to sufficiently embarrass his family and country by spending the remainder of his service in the Balboa Mental Health Hospital receiving much needed mental healthcare services.

Leslie was surprisingly intelligent, however he lacked ambition and motivation to do anything more than being reckless, wasteful, squandering the family savings and fantasizing about get rich quick schemes. Leslie’s hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing, which he was less skilled with than the previously mentioned. Leslie’s life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick whited sarcasm which was amusing during his sober days.

With Leslie’s passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend. No services will be held, there will be no prayers for eternal peace and no apologizes to the family he tortured. Leslie’s remains will be cremated and kept in the barn until “Ray”, the family donkey’s wood shavings run out. Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all.

Reminds me of me, except I’m a really good fisherman.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

13 Feb 2017

Lt.-Gen Hal Moore (February 13, 1922 – February 10, 2017)

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Russ Vaughn met Hal Moore in Vietnam and penned a nice tribute to a great combat officer.

We had no idea who this tall, strapping, lean colonel was who blew through the flaps of our forward Tactical Operations Center tent like a whirling dervish with questions, orders and possible salvation, but even more possible menace. I had been a paratrooper for five years at that point, a combat infantryman in a rifle company for several months prior to coming to battalion headquarters, and an NCO for a few of those years. I must confess I had never seen anything quite like Colonel Moore in my previous years of service. The man exuded that essential quality of leadership that all officers so desire: command presence. Hal Moore had it in spades. In my six years of Army service, I never saw another officer so confidently, completely in command.

Read the whole thing.

16 Dec 2016

Another Epic Obit

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Via Instapundit, “Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey“:

Chris Connors died, at age 67, after trying to box his bikini-clad hospice nurse just moments earlier. Ladies man, game slayer, and outlaw Connors told his last inappropriate joke on Friday, December 9, 2016, that which cannot be printed here. Anyone else fighting ALS and stage 4 pancreatic cancer would have gone quietly into the night, but Connors was stark naked drinking Veuve in a house full of friends and family as Al Green played from the speakers. The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority and he paved his own way. And if you said he couldn’t do it, he would make sure he could.

Most people thought he was crazy for swimming in the ocean in January; for being a skinny Irish Golden Gloves boxer from Quincy, Massachusetts; for dressing up as a priest and then proceeding to get into a fight at a Jewish deli. Many gawked at his start of a career on Wall Street without a financial background – but instead with an intelligent, impish smile, love for the spoken word, irreverent sense of humor, and stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.

As much as people knew hanging out with him would end in a night in jail or a killer screwdriver hangover, he was the type of man that people would drive 16 hours at the drop of a dime to come see. He lived 1000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor. At the age of 26 he planned to circumnavigate the world – instead, he ended up spending 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama. In 1974, he founded the Quincy Rugby Club. In his thirties, he sustained a knife wound after saving a woman from being mugged in New York City. He didn’t slow down: at age 64, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest. Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8).

He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important – the simplicity of living a life with those you love. Although he threw some of the most memorable parties during the greater half of a century, he would trade it all for a night in front of the fire with his family in Maine. His acute awareness of the importance of a life lived with the ones you love over any material possession was only handicapped by his territorial attachment to the remote control of his Sonos music.

Chris enjoyed cross dressing, a well-made fire, and mashed potatoes with lots of butter. His regrets were few, but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from an unmemorable convenience store in the summer of 1986.

Of all the people he touched, both willing and unwilling, his most proud achievement in life was marrying his wife Emily Ayer Connors who supported him in all his glory during his heyday, and lovingly supported him physically during their last days together.

Absolut vodka and Simply Orange companies are devastated by the loss of Connors. A “Celebration of Life” will be held during Happy Hour (4 p.m.) at York Harbor Inn on Monday, December 19.

In lieu of flowers, please pay open bar tab or donate to Connors’ water safety fund at www.thechrisconnorsfund.com.

He could have skipped the cross dressing. Jesus.

18 May 2016

And Who Can Blame Her?

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MaryAnneNoland

Richmond Times-Dispatch, 17 May 2016:

NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68. Born in Danville, Va., Mary Anne was a graduate of Douglas Freeman High School (1966) and the University of Virginia School of Nursing (1970). A faithful child of God, Mary Anne devoted her life to sharing the love she received from Christ with all whose lives she touched as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and nurse. Mary Anne was predeceased by her father, Kyle T. Alfriend Jr. and Esther G. Alfriend of Richmond. She is survived by her husband, Jim; sister, Esther; and brothers, Terry (Bonnie) and Mac (Carole). She was a mother to three sons, Jake (Stormy), Josh (Amy) and David (Katie); and she was “Grammy” to 10 beloved grandchildren. A visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., in Henrico. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 1 p.m., with a reception to follow, also at Trinity UMC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to CARITAS, P.O. Box 25790, Richmond, Va. 23260 (www.caritasva.org).

28 Mar 2016

Jim Harrison (1937-2016)

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Jim-Harrison
Harrison looked like one of those European mastiffs, so ugly that he was beautiful.

Jim Harrison, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 78, was for my money the best living American writer of fiction. Jim Harrison wrote simply, elegantly, and perceptively about real Americans, the out-of-doors, and what the Japanese refer to as “the immortal questions.” He was prolific: 21 books of fiction and 14 of poetry, and, with the help of a loan of $15,000 from Jack Nicholson early in his writing career that gave him time to complete the break-through collection of novellas which sold some screenplays, successful enough to support a life-style which included flying to Paris to have lunch, extreme oenophilia with an emphasis on Burgundies, and a kitchen larder loaded with caviar and pâté.

Jim Harrison could step gracefully from writing violent escapist fantasies to serious, meditative novels focused on love, guilt, aging, and la condition humaine. He did not like being compared to Ernest Hemingway, but the comparison was an obvious one. Like Hemingway, Jim Harrison was a masculine writer, sophisticated and intellectual, but fundamentally and always an outdoorsman. Like Hemingway, Harrison was a romantic and a stoic, whose fiction was preoccupied with acute and intelligent observation in the course of living up to a demanding and aristocratic code.

The novelist Thomas McGuane was Harrison’s classmate at Michigan State, and Jim Harrison was himself the most distinguished representative of a group of rural, huntin’, fishin’, and shootin’ writers, basically at odds with the contemporary urban community of fashion culture, which included McGuane, Russell Chatham, Guy de la Valdène, and Steve Bodio.

The New York Times obit has some great anecdotes:

His food writing, much of which first appeared in Esquire, was collected in his 2001 book, “The Raw and the Cooked,” whose title invokes the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’s volume of that name. Mr. Lévi-Strauss’s book is about myth and ritual. Mr. Harrison’s is about rituals that include his flying to France for the sole purpose of having lunch — a lunch that spanned 11 hours, 37 courses and 19 wines. …

At bottom, Mr. Harrison was not so much like Hemingway as he was like something out of Hemingway. Or, more accurately, something out of Rabelais — a mustachioed, barrel-chested bear of a man whose unapologetic immoderation encompassed a dazzling repertory:

There was the eating. Mr. Harrison once faced down 144 oysters, just to see if he could finish them. (He could.)

There was the drinking. One fine summer, he personally tested 38 varieties of Côtes du Rhône. (“It was like a small wine festival. Just me, really,” he told The Washington Post afterward.) …

All these ingredients were titanically encapsulated in a dinner Mr. Harrison once shared with Orson Welles, which involved, he wrote, “a half-pound of beluga with a bottle of Stolichnaya, a salmon in sorrel sauce, sweetbreads en croûte, a miniature leg of lamb (the whole thing) with five wines, desserts, cheeses, ports” and a chaser of cocaine.

He will be missed.

14 Feb 2016

Antonin Gregory Scalia (1936-2016)

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Antonin_Scalia

Let’s remember him with some of his best comments.

“A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless.”

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“[There’s] the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that; the Constitution is not a living organism; it is a legal document. It says something and doesn’t say other things…. [Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided] not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court …. They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it’s the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable.”

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“To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.

If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

19 Jan 2016

Keith Reading the Obits

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KeithOutlived375

21 Sep 2015

Brian Sewell (1931-2015): “Odi Profanum Vulgus!”

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BrianSewell
Brian Sewell

Art critic and cultural commentator Brian Sewell deservedly received one of the Telegraph‘s celebrated obituary tributes.

Brian Sewell, the loquacious art critic and broadcaster known for his acerbic wit, has passed away at the age of 84. He had been suffering from cancer.

He was an award-winning contributor to the Evening Standard and presented a series of travelogues for Channel 5, as well as often appearing on panel shows such as Have I Got News for You.

He was known as the UK’s “most controversial art critic”, and would openly criticise those who he deemed worthy of it, once calling Damian Hirst “f—–g dreadful” and stating that Banksy “should have been put down at birth”. …

n 1994, 35 figures from the art world, including Bridget Riley, George Melly and Maureen Paley, signed a letter to the Evening Standard attacking Sewell for “homophobia”, “misogyny”, “demagogy”, “hypocrisy”, “artistic prejudice”, “formulaic insults” and “predictable scurrility”.

This was followed up by a counter-letter in support of Sewell, signed by 20 other art figures. …

He maintained his negative opinions about female artists throughout his life. “The art market is not sexist,” he said in interview with The Independent in 2008. “The likes of Bridget Riley and Louise Bourgeois are of the second and third rank. There has never been a first-rank woman artist. Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness. Women make up 50 per cent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20s or 30s. Maybe it’s something to do with bearing children.”

He was also a vocal critic of the Turner Prize, calling it an “annual farce” and its nominees “a sad little band of late labourers in the exhausted pastures of international conceptual art”.

But it was not only art that he was scornful of. Despite being bisexual himself (though he preferred the term “queer”), he also spoke out about gay marriage, saying, “The recent institution of civil partnerships seemed to be the final necessary reform… Why, then, do they and lesbians demand the right to marry? Indeed, how many of us have made that demand? One in 20? One in 10?… But every minority has within it a core of single-issue politicians and protesters who are never satisfied and always ask for more, and homosexuals, both male and female, are no exception.”

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There was a time when homosexuals naturally gravitated to the upper class lifestyle, adopted an arch reactionary perspective, and were champions of high culture and civilization. Brian Sewell’s negative commentary on a masked ball in Venice could easily have been delivered by Brideshead Revisited‘s Anthony Blanche.

24 Jun 2015

James Salter, 1925 – 2015

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JamesSalter

James Salter, West Point graduate, fighter pilot, novelist, film director, lady killer, and mountain climber, died last Friday suddenly at his local gymnasium in Sag Harbor, Long Island at the age of 90.

Salter never attracted a mass audience and consequently never wound up included in last century’s list of “great American writers”, but sophisticated readers did read him with deep respect and always kind of wondered exactly why that was the case. I suppose the combination of Salter’s hyper-masculine point of view and the gem-like perfection and careful stoical restraint of his prose style somehow failed to capture the attention of the popular culture in our hyper-democratic age. Salter’s perspective reeked of elitism, and he never trafficked at all in conventional archetypes.

I expect he would have enjoyed more money and larger public recognition, but Salter never took any of the conventional writer’s shortcuts to obtain them. He never manufactured a public persona (like Papa Hemingway) nor even a specifically recognizable genre of writing of his own. Each of Salter’s novels is very different from the others. There is a kind of stubborn authenticity about Salter.

His 1998 autobiography, Burning the Days, struck a sudden bell in the consciousness of the establishment media. From being an author lucky to be favored with a quick one-column review in the rear pages, Salter suddenly became, in his latter years, “the best writer you’ve never read.” I expect he smiled ironically at that line.

12 Jun 2015

Ornette Coleman, 9 March 1930 – 11 June 2015

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His was just about the only Jazz I ever liked.

Times obituary

11 Jun 2015

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015)

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ChristopherLee4

Christopher Lee died at 8:30 A.M. last Sunday morning in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London at the age of 93. His family delayed the public announcement of his death until today to allow time for relatives to be notified.

Christopher Lee worked as a character actor in the course of his long career, typically in second-rate horror films, though he was obviously a first-rate human being. He stood 6’5″ (1.9558 m.) in height, spoke six languages, was a world champion fencer, and made a point of performing all his own stunts personally.

Lee was also a political conservative who volunteered to fight for Finland against Soviet Russia during the Winter War, and who then went on to serve as a British commando through the entirety of the Second World War.

He advised Peter Jackson on how properly to sound record a killing during the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dissatisfied with a scene, Christopher asked director Peter Jackson: “Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back? Well, I have, and I know what to do.”

Christopher Lee became the oldest person to record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote and performed on a progressive symphonic concept album about the life of Charlemagne, from whom he traced his own descent via his mother, an Italian countess.

Christopher Lee remained married to the same woman (a Danish model) for 54 years, and in his later years frequently campaigned for the Tories in national elections.

ChristopherLee3
The younger Christopher Lee as we knew him best.

02 Jun 2015

Jean Ritchie, 8 December 1922 — 1 June 2015

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jeanritchie

Jean Ritchie, the best singer in the American Appalachian folk tradition, passed away last evening at the age of 92. She was born in Viper, an unincorporated settlement in Eastern Kentucky, and died in Berea, Kentucky.

America Folklife Center announcement. Formal obituaries have yet to appear.

Wikipedia bio.

Here is a good example of her repertoire and voice:

26 May 2015

Tanith Lee, 1947-2015

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TanithLee

Sci Fi/Fantasy writer Tanith Lee has passed away.

Heavy has five facts about Lee.

Locusmag obituary.

Tor.

16 May 2015

Margot, Dowager Marchioness of Reading, 11 January 1919 — 19 April 2015

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Margot

The Telegraph does the best obituaries, and its subjects seem to live the best lives.

The Dowager Marchioness of Reading, who has died aged 96, was a society beauty of the 1930s and 1940s and a woman of independent spirit.

She was one of the first British women to get a pilot’s licence, competed on the prewar stock car racing circuit, and became a rally driver in the 1950s. In later life she became a campaigner for animal rights and an outspoken English nationalist.

As Harold Brooks-Baker, the former publishing director of Burke’s Peerage, once observed, Margot Reading had views “diametrically opposed to most sane people”. At no time was this more clear than in 1998 when, after the maverick Tory politician Alan Clark paid tribute to the “martial spirit” of English football supporters who had gone on the rampage in Marseille, she wrote a letter to The Spectator in which she observed: “We are a nation of yobs. Now we don’t have a war, what’s wrong with a good punch-up?”

In a later interview she elaborated on her views. “I love England so much and I just feel that the so-called hooligans are just sort of over-enthusiastic. How is it that we conquered the world and that our armies went over the top? It is because we are a nation of fighters … What an English tough guy does is to fight with his fists, which is a good clean fight… With so many milksops, and Left-wing liberals and wetties around, I just rejoice in the fact that there are people who keep up our historic spirit.”

Her comments came in for severe criticism, prompting her eldest son, the Marquess of Reading, to beg her not to take any more telephone calls. “I am very fond of my mum, but I do not always agree with her,” he explained.

One of three sisters, she was born Margot Irene Duke on January 11 1919. Her father, Percy Duke, was said to have been the last man to wear a wing collar on the floor of the Stock Exchange and , for reasons which remain obscure, divided the world into people he called “George,” and those he called “McGregor”

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.

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