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Originally published Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 6:19 PM

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The week's passages

A roundup of the week's notable obituaries

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Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29, a Tacoma native who was raised in Gig Harbor, was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on Sept. 26. He was based in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Joan Cecchi, 91, a Seattle wife and mother who rounded up volunteer doctors, coaxed a developer to give her space and founded the free Georgetown Medical Clinic, and also led a food bank for decades in the Georgetown neighborhood, died Sept. 9 in Seattle.

Barry Commoner, 95, a visionary scientist and author who helped launch the environmental movement in the United States and whose ideas influenced public thinking about nuclear testing, energy consumption and recycling, died last Sunday in New York City.

Nguyen Chi Thien, 73, a dissident poet who spent nearly 30 years in communist prisons in his native Vietnam and was considered the most famous Vietnamese poet of his generation, died Tuesday in Southern California, where he lived. He had contracted tuberculosis in prison and had recently struggled with lung problems.

Barbara Ann Scott, 84, a world and European champion figure skater who became a Canadian heroine at age 19 when she won gold at the 1948 Winter Olympics, died last Sunday in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Fla.

Pedro Sanjuan, 82, a U.S. government official who was at the forefront of a State Department campaign to eliminate discrimination in housing and public accommodations in the early 1960s, died of cardiovascular disease Sept. 28 in Somers, N.Y.

R.B. Greaves, 68, a pop singer whose "Take a Letter, Maria" was a 1969 hit, died of prostate cancer Sept. 27 in Los Angeles.

Robert J. Manning, 92, who covered the White House during the final term of Franklin D. Roosevelt, worked for the State Department under President John F. Kennedy and later became editor of The Atlantic Monthly, where he broadened its scope and readership, died Sept. 28 in Boston.

Robert Christy, 96, one of the early recruits to the Manhattan Project, who helped design the trigger for the atomic bombs used in World War II, died Wednesday.

Big Jim Sullivan, 71, an acclaimed session guitarist who played on dozens of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, died Tuesday in West Sussex, England. He had heart disease and diabetes.

Frank Wilson, 71, a Motown producer and songwriter who wrote or co-wrote some of the label's biggest hits, including "Love Child," performed by the Supremes, died Sept. 27 in Duarte, Calif., of a lung infection.

Antoine Ashley, 27, a classically trained dancer who competed on "RuPaul's Drag Race" in 2010 as Sahara Davenport, died Monday of heart failure in Baltimore, Md.

James Burke, 87, the chief executive whose leadership of Johnson & Johnson during the deadly Tylenol poisonings in the 1980s is seen as a textbook example of humanity and candor, died Sept. 28 in New Brunswick, N.J., after a long, unspecified illness.

Eugene Genovese, 82, an eminent historian who challenged the traditional portrait of slavery in the antebellum South with the prizewinning book "Roll, Jordan, Roll," died Sept. 26 in Atlanta. No cause was reported.

Shlomo Venezia, 88, an Italian Jew who in 1944 was forced to load corpses into the ovens nonstop at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland, died of respiratory failure Monday in Rome. He told his story in a 2007 book.

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