Articles in Category: Obits

Nancy Wake (Saboteur/Special agent)

Nancy WakeCONVIVIAL, and not averse to a drink, Nancy Wake could often be found cheering up a cocktail bar.

In the late 1940s, and again towards the end of her life, it might have been the American Bar of the Stafford Hotel, just across the road from The Economist’s offices in London.

In 1940, when she was living as a newlywed in Vichy France, it could have been another American Bar, this one in the Hôtel du Louvre et de la Paix in Marseilles.

Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco (Lawyer/Human Rights Activist)

biljana-kovaevi-vuo.jpgBiljana Kovačević-Vučo, president of Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, passed away on April 20th 2010 in Belgrade.

Kovačević-Vučo was well-known human rights defender and one of the founders of the Yugoslav Action NGO and the independent union Nezavisnost in March 1999.

She was also a member of the Working Group for the Future of former Yugoslavia (established at a conference in Bratislava in July 1999. which was organized by EastWest Institute from New York).

During her long career as a peace movement and human rights activist, Kovačević-Vučo was the founder of the Human Rights Council of Center for Antiwar Action in Belgrade and head of the SOS helpline for the victims of political, ethnic and workplace discrimination.

She also founded and was secretary general of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Office for Legal Help in Belgrade from 1994 until 1997, president of the Democracy Transition Center executive board in 1997, and founder and president of YUCOM since 1997.

During her career as a lawyer she worked at the Commercial Court in Belgrade from 1978 until 1988 and as a senior associate at the Serbian Supreme Court’s criminal and civil departments from 1988 until 1996.

Kovačević-Vučo represented journalist

Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee Leader

wilma-mankiller.jpgFlags flew at half-staff outside the Cherokee Nation's headquarters in Talequah, Oklahoma, on Tuesday in honor of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to lead the Native American tribe.

Mankiller died Tuesday morning at age 64 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Cherokee leaders announced. Her successor, Chad Smith, called Mankiller "the iconic leader of the tribe."

Mankiller served 10 years as principal chief of the Cherokee, the second-largest U.S. tribe, and became its first freely elected leader in 1987. President Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, in 1998.

She was born in Oklahoma, where most of the Cherokee had been exiled by the U.S. government in the 1830s, but moved to California with her family in the 1950s.

She returned to Oklahoma in 1977 to work for the tribe's community development agency and is credited with improving health care, education and tribal governance during her administration.

Click here to read the complete obituary on CNN

Granny D Haddock Walked Across America When She Was 89

doris-haddock.jpgTHE most trying part came in the Mojave desert of California.

The royal blue sky glared down on the grey brittlebush, and the heat was searing. Great trucks thundered past, showering her with grit, and a fierce wind got up that made her stagger.

The worst of it was that her hat (the straw garden hat that had belonged to her dear friend Elizabeth) was whipped off and trundled through the cacti, where it splintered and broke.

She was walking across America, an odd occupation for a woman of 89. But Doris Haddock became annoyed if anyone made much of that. Her large, dark eyes narrowed then, and her gentle voice acquired an edge. And indeed there was little in that voice, with its perfectly enunciated consonants (drilled into her at Emerson College of Oratory, when she had girlish dreams of going on the stage) to suggest she was much over 30.

The adventurer in her heart, she liked to say—stressing that she meant the adventurer in everyone’s heart—was always young. She could still ski, hump a 25-pound pack, sleep on the ground and get up again; and though she went to bed choking on dust in Arizona, or nursing bleeding feet from frozen shoes in West Virginia, the next day she made sure she walked her set ten miles, until all 3,200 had been done. Friends in Louisville made a stout oak staff for her; she slung it over her shoulder, and hung her banner from it.

The question she wanted people to ask was not how (on earth!), but why. Why, in January 1999, had she set off to walk from Pasadena to Washington, DC? The simple answer was that she had lost patience with the power of big money in American politics. Congressmen and senators did not listen to people like her—people who spent years nursing their husbands when they had Alzheimer’s, or who battled to keep the interstate out of their small towns, in her case Dublin, New Hampshire.

They patted little old ladies like her patronisingly on the head, while taking wads of money from special interests for whom they would do favours later. Mrs Haddock was sick of it. She had organised petitions for campaign-finance reform, with tens of thousands of signatures, but got nowhere. So it was sneakers on, and hit the road.

Susan notes: Doris "Granny D" Haddock, died March 9, 2010. She was 100 years young.

Click here to read the complete obituary in The Economist