The week’s passages
A roundup of the week’s notable obituaries
Melissa Erickson, 34, a former University of Washington basketball player who after graduating played professionally in Germany and Portugal, died Wednesday of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which was diagnosed when she was 27.
Sean O’Connell, 38, a longtime Washington State Patrol motorcycle officer from Lake Stevens, was killed May 31 in a traffic collision while patrolling the detour around the collapsed Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River.
Vigo Rauda, 82, who created thousands of exacting scale models — for architects, national parks, museums, manufacturers and others — at his Lake City business, which is now operated by his sons, died of heart failure at his Seattle home on May 7.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, 89, of New Jersey, the last World War II veteran in the Senate and a stalwart Democrat who led battles over three decades to toughen gun laws, ban smoking on planes and crack down on drunken driving, died of viral pneumonia Monday in a New York hospital.
Esther Williams, 91, the teen swimming champion who shot to stardom in the 1940s in the “aqua musical,” an odd subgenre of films that became an enormous hit with the moviegoing mainstream, fanned popular interest in synchronized swimming and turned her into Hollywood’s Million Dollar Mermaid, died Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Deacon Jones, 74, the fearsome football Hall of Famer, master of the quarterback sack and one of the NFL’s greatest defensive players, died of natural causes Monday in Anaheim Hills, Calif.
Richard Ramirez, 53, the death-row inmate who claimed to be inspired by Satan when he killed at least 14 people in the “Night Stalker” attacks that terrorized California in 1985, died of liver failure Friday in a hospital in Greenbrae, Calif.
Joey Covington, 67, the former Jefferson Airplane drummer who co-wrote several of the band’s songs, including “Pretty as You Feel’’ and “With Your Love,” died Tuesday in a car crash in Palm Springs, Calif.
Chen Xitong, 82, mayor of Beijing during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and the armed crackdown that crushed them, died of cancer last Sunday.
Tom Sharpe, 85, a British writer who satirized everything from apartheid to academe in his best-selling novels, died of diabetes complications Thursday in Llafranc, Spain, where he lived.
Alixa Naff, 93, a pioneering historian who documented the lives of the first wave of Arab-American immigrants a century ago, died June 1 in Mitchellville, Md.
Pierre Mauroy, 84, who as France’s first Socialist prime minister after World War II pushed through some of the Socialist Party’s most important overhauls, died of lung cancer Friday near Paris.
Claramae Turner, 92, a Metropolitan Opera contralto who also recorded songs for movies and for whom “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” was written (though Tony Bennett’s version became the huge hit), died May 18 in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Richie Phillips, 72, a lawyer who quintupled the salaries of Major League Baseball umpires as their union representative in the 1970s, and then caused many of them to lose their jobs by having them resign en masse in 1999, died of cardiac arrest May 31 in Cape May, N.J.