Ray Manzareck 1939 to last Monday
You could say that Mr. Manzarek finally broke on through to the other side. The Chicago-born ‘Doors’ keyboardist earned his fame playing organ licks behind the sultry moans and wild life of the all-too-soon departed Jim Morrison. Ray leaves behind that distinct lick that kicks off ‘Light My Fire’:
Marcella Pattyn 1921 to six-weeks-ago Sunday
With Ms. Pattyn dies a community more utopic than many feminists could imagine. Marcella was a Beguine, a woman voluntarily living in a cloister with other women, governing in common and supporting themselves with their work. She leaves behind this feminist colony occupied by thousands in the 13th century, dozens in the 20th, and none in the 21st.
Lothar Schmid 1928 to last Saturday
Philistine me had no idea that chess had referees. And none were more important than dear Lothar. He negotiated the truce that allowed Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer to complete the chess match of the century. The first game of that 1972 battle between the best of the free world (at least at chess) and the best from behind the Iron Curtain (winners get to tell the story). Competition was played before cameras and a live studio audience. Fischer flipped out and blundered his way to a loss. He refused to play the second game and forfeited. Bobby then demanded that he and Boris play in a CCTVed back room, all in private. The parties agreed but when they got to their hidden gaming chamber, Bobby went ballistic making all kinds of other crazy demands (oh, Bobby…). Just as the naturally annoyed Spassky nearly walked out, Lothar jumped in. Like a good schoolteacher, this German gentleman communicated to each competitor at his own level. To the mature Mr. Spassky, he said: “Boris, you promised me you would play this game here. Are you breaking that promise?” To the childish Mr. Fischer? “Bobby, please be kind.” Lothar leaves behind a century that–without him–would never have had a defining chess match.
Zach Sobiech 1995 to last Monday
“I didn’t write ‘Clouds’ to be famous,” Mr. Sobiech told People Magazine. Instead, he wrote the posthumously-charting (a hot-shot #26 on the Billboard Hot 100) and YouTube-sensation (6,524,785 views and counting) ballad for him and his family. In 2009, Mr. Sobiech was diagnosed with an aggressive form of osteosarcoma. In spite of hard-core radiation and harder-core surgery, his bone-cancer spread until last summer when doctors told him he had but a year to live. ‘Clouds’ was written simply to process the intense emotions generated by his juvenile death-sentence. As the Children’s Cancer website puts it, Zach leaves behind “a lasting legacy that many of us will never achieve, [a beacon] of love and hope delivered through infectious lyrics and simple tunes … imprinted on the minds and hearts of millions around the world.” Join those millions here:
Cover photo of Riders on the Storm album cover, copyright The Doors. All Rights Reserved.