Cleve Duncan 1934 to last Wednesday
Duncan sang tenor for the Penguins’s decouple-platinum 1954 doo-wop hit ‘Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)’. He leaves behind Marty McFly, who without this ballad at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance would have ceased to exist and failed to return ‘Back to the Future.’
Derek Hutchinson 1933 to five weeks ago Wednesday
Hutchinson was the ‘Sea Daddy’ of kayaking. He came by that title honestly, popularizing the sporting use of Eskimo Sea Kayaks in the 1960s. Or maybe they called him that because of his 1975 misadventure: when attempting to cross the North Sea (will someone please explain to me why on Earth someone would try such a thing), he and his five companions became lost and had to paddle–dehydrated and hypothermic, hallucinating and vomiting–for 34 straight hours before they were saved by a passing ferry. He leaves behind the University of Sea Kayaking he founded where they likely taught the fundamentals of Hutchinson’s technique: “Hold your paddle like a fairy holds her wand, not how a witch holds her broomstick!”
Frances Hashimoto 1943 to last Sunday
Frances was a member of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, the sixth-highest honor granted by the Japanese government. That’s a long way to come for a woman born in a WWII internment camp. She was the driving force behind LA’s Little Tokyo community and leaves behind mochi ice cream which she invented.
Susan Jeffers 1938 to three weeks ago Saturday
You know that “God only gives you what you can handle” line? That’s the spiritualized version of the Gospel Jeffers preached, most famously in her 1987 blockbuster book ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. Her work sprung from the insights she acquired as a breast cancer survivor. She leaves behind these instructions for her funeral: “When I die, I would like it to be the best party I ever attended. I plan to be there in spirit and I expect to have a great time. I want to hear laughter, and compliments, and see color everywhere … absolutely no black allowed, and lots of balloons.”
Lawrence Marchetti 1938 to two weeks ago Monday
His papa got from Tuscany to Chicago by selling a cow. And that cow’s paid dividends for the Windy City. Larry ran the Como Inn, one of the Second City’s longest-running restaurants–and always kept his nightly date with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News. He leaves behind the model railroads he maintained at the Chicago Botanical Garden, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Butch McGuire’s tavern where perhaps he can take some credit for the thousands of ‘relationships’ spawned at “Chicago’s Original Single’s Bar.”
Valerie Fletcher Eliot 1926 to Friday
Forty years his junior, Valerie Fletcher was married to T.S. Eliot for the last eight years of the latter’s life. They would nightly eat cheese and play scrabble. She leaves behind the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Cats’ to which she released rights to the Eliot poems on which that musical is based.