You Can’t Take It With You

John J. Morris, S.J. 1927 to Sunday
Blackjack Morris was a Jesuit from Montana who was sent to work in a school up in Alaska.  He needed teachers, so he thought to invite some of his friends, offering room and board in exchange for their work.  Well, a bunch of friends came and then other non-profits asked for volunteers and before you know it, Jack’s idea snowballed into the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, which has sent more than 12,000 recent college grads to places from Brooklyn to Kathmandu to live and work with the poor.  Jack’s whim has ‘ruined for life’ Jesuit Volunteers who can no longer look at the world without seeing unjust social structures and doing something about them.

Frank Wilson 1940 to last Thursday
Wilson – who eventually became a minister preaching to, among others, the stars of Motown – produced one of the great jukebox songs of all time: Diana Ross and the Supremes’s Love Child.

Nancy Poore Tufts 1910 to three weeks ago Monday
Things this woman leaves behind: 1) Washington DC’s first handbell-ringing choir, 2) Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the pandas at the National Zoo who survive on the bamboo she grew, 3) women’s suffrage, a cause for which she marched from the age of ten, and 4) the lives she saved as a WWII ambulance driver.

Pill Bottle by AKZOphoto on Flickr.

Good luck getting it open.

James E. Burke 1925 to Friday
Without this man it’s doubtful you could buy Tylenol today.  Remember the 1982 Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide that did in seven Chicagoans?  Burke was the Johnson & Johnson chief at time, and his candor and $100 million recall of 32 million bottles of Tylenol likely kept folks from avoiding the popular painkiller altogether.  Thanks to him we also have those tamper-resistant bottles that confound toddlers and grownups alike.

Anna McCadd 1918 to last month
Bill Cosby counted on her grace backstage at her shows.  Sammy Davis, Jr., claimed her as a confidant.  How’d she come to know these entertainers that she leaves behind?  She met them all while making sure the Bunnies were all ‘covered up and proper’ as the wardrobe mistress at at the Chicago Playboy Club.

Rev. John C. Flynn 1929 to last Monday
Things this man leaves behind: 1) free education and job training to high school dropouts 2) the crucifixes he traded for guns in the South Bronx, 3) the heat and hot water in dozens of tenements that he fought landlords to get turned on 4) the love of Jesus Christ he hoped to bring to Earth through his sacramental ministry and daily walks through the drug-and-gang-torn Bronx.

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