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Originally published January 18, 2014 at 6:06 AM | Page modified January 18, 2014 at 4:21 PM

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The week’s passages

A roundup of notable obituaries for the week ending Jan. 18


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Norman Durkee, 65, a Tacoma native and longtime music director for Teatro ZinZanni, a pianist/composer who wrote music for experimental films, opera, ballets and advertisements and who taught at the Bush School, The Evergreen State College and Cornish College of the Arts, died last Sunday of complications from a battle with heart disease.

Russell Johnson, 89, a character actor who became known to generations of TV fans as “The Professor,” the fix-it man who kept his fellow “Gilligan’s Island” castaways supplied with gadgets, died of natural causes Thursday at his home on Bainbridge Island, where he was a longtime resident.

Jack Tuell, 90, Tacoma native and prominent Methodist clergyman who served as a bishop for Portland and Los Angeles, and who emerged late in life as an eloquent voice for change and inclusiveness in his church’s views of homosexuality, died Jan. 10 in Des Moines, Wash. He had been in failing health.

Juan Gelman, 83, a renowned Argentine poet and left-wing activist, died Tuesday of undisclosed causes in Mexico, where he had lived for more than 20 years.

Hiroo Onoda, 91, an Imperial Japanese Army officer who remained at his jungle post on a Philippine island for 29 years, refusing to believe that World War II was over, and returned to a hero’s welcome in Japan in 1974, died Thursday in Tokyo.

Joe Cipiti, 98, the grandfather of NFL coaching brothers Jim Harbaugh (49ers) and John Harbaugh (Ravens), died last Sunday in Ohio.

Ruth Robinson Duccini, 95, the last of the original female Munchkins from the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” (one male Munchkin, Jerry Maren, 93, survives), died Thursday in Las Vegas.

Jose Sulaiman, 82, the longtime head of the World Boxing Council who promoted renowned fighters and introduced rules to protect boxers, died Thursday in a Los Angeles hospital, where he was being treated for a heart condition.

Robert A. Pastor, 66, a White House aide under President Carter who shepherded the 1977 Panama Canal treaties to ratification — and was punished for it 17 years later, when conservatives defeated his nomination to be ambassador to Panama — died of colon cancer Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Dave Madden, 82, the comic actor who played the child-hating agent on the hit 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family,” died Thursday at a hospice near Jacksonville, Fla.

Vugar Gashimov, 27, a chess grandmaster from Azerbaijan who was one of the world’s top players for a decade, died Friday in Germany, where he had reportedly been receiving treatment for a brain tumor.

Suchitra Sen, 82, the Bengali actor who was often called India’s Greta Garbo because of her iconic performances and her reclusive ways, died Friday in Kolkata after a heart attack.

Ken Landwehr, 59, a homicide detective in Wichita, Kan., who played a pivotal role in the capture of the serial killer known as BTK, whose terrorizing spree went unredressed for more than 30 years, died of kidney cancer Monday in Wichita.

Burton R. Lifland, 84, a U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York whose 34 years on the bench included unwinding Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and changing how asbestos liability is treated, died of pneumonia last Sunday in New Haven, Conn.



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