Huda Sosebee (Wife/Mom/Force for Good)

Categories // Obits

huda_sosebee.pngHuda Sosebee (nee Al-Masri), passed peacefully over to God”s loving embrace on July 15, 2009 in her home in Kent, Ohio with her beloved family, following a seven-month battle with Leukemia.

Huda was the head social worker for the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF).

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Nancy Wake (Saboteur/Special agent)

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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.

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Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco (Lawyer/Human Rights Activist)

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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
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Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee Leader

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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
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Granny D Haddock Walked Across America When She Was 89

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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

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Amazing Good Samaritan Miep Gies Dies At 100

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Miep Gies, shelterer of the Frank family, died on January 11th, aged 100

BY HER own account, Miep Gies did nothing extraordinary. All she did was bring food, and books, and news—and, on one fabulous day, red high-heeled shoes—to friends who needed them. It was nothing dramatic. But she also bought eight people time, and in that time one of her charges—a teenage girl called Anne Frank, the recipient of the shoes—wrote a diary of life in the “Annexe”. In these four rooms, above the office of Anne’s father, Otto, where Mrs Gies worked as a secretary, eight Jews hid for 25 months in Amsterdam in 1942-44.

miep-gies.jpgOn the warm summer evening when the Franks went into hiding, Mrs Gies took charge. In subsequent months she and her trusty bicycle often carried so many bags of vegetables, bought with forged coupons, that she looked like a pack mule. No one suspected.

Every weekday morning she would climb two flights of stairs to the Annexe and get the grocery list. Every afternoon she would deliver the shopping and stay a while to chat—after composing herself and putting on a cheerful expression. In the cramped, stuffy rooms, made dim with lace curtains tacked across the windows, everyone had to whisper. She kept back the worst news: truckloads of other Jews sent to the camps, shot and gassed, and old friends killed. On their side, the four Franks, three van Pels and a dentist called Dr Pfeffer tried to conceal their tensions from her. Nonetheless, she could often feel “the sparks of unfinished conflicts left sizzling in the air”.

Anne, restless, curious and outspoken, was often the cause of these tensions. But Miep (as they all called her), was something of a soulmate: a teasing office girl who craved sweets, relished independence, loved to dance, drank ten schnapps at an engagement party—and, as a teenager, had also filled up notebooks with her private thoughts. Anne grilled her about her clothes and her hair and, on the one night Miep stayed in the Annexe, insisted that she slept in her bed. Miep found it small and hard and too heavy with blankets. But it was the fear in the place, “so thick I could feel it pressing down on me”, that kept her awake.

Click here to read the complete obituary in The Economist
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Gertrude Dyck (Nurse/Missionary/Author)

Categories // Obits

Posted by Patricia Schmidt
October 21, 2009

gert_camel_close-up.jpgGertrude, otherwise known as Gert, or as Doctora Latifa, enjoyed seventy-five years of life filled with a variety of rich experiences, mostly in a culture foreign to her own. She lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) taking on various roles, giving her heart and life to serve Arab people under the auspices of TEAM--The Evangelical Alliance Mission. For thirty-eight years she worked as a nurse/midwife for the Oasis Hospital in the city of Al Ain.

Gertrude was a prairie farm girl, born to Henry and Olga Dyck on April 2, 1934 in Dunelm, Saskatchewan during the depression years. She was the sister to Ernest, Anne, Henry and Helena.  Having grown up during those years of the depression was good preparation for the beginning years in the UAE, when the lifestyle was extremely basic. Gert's parents were from a Mennonite background and Gert said that her mother, a praying woman, strongly influenced and shaped her future.

Gert became a committed Christian at the age of twelve and realized early that she wanted God to use her in some way, even to be a missionary. She attended Prairie Bible Institute in 1957, followed by training to be a nurse at the Calgary General Hospital. It was there that she grew to love babies. In 1962 God led her then to join the staff of Oasis Hospital in the Arabian desert of the UAE. Incidentally, her belongings that were shipped on her first trip to the UAE did not arrive until the following summer. Her dad had made her a huge plywood box for shipping which was big enough to hold the ironing board that she wanted to take along, and she was teased about her taking her coffin with her. That ironing board lasted her all of those thirty-five years.

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Gayatri Devi, Maharani of Jaipur

Categories // Obits

gayatri_devi.jpgGayatri Devi’s beauty was astonishing, praised by Clark Gable, Cecil Beaton and Vogue, but liner or lipstick had nothing to do with it. She had a maharani’s natural poise and restraint. From her grandmother, she had learned that emeralds looked better with pink saris rather than green.

From her mother, she knew not to wear diamond-drop earrings at cocktail parties. A simple strand of pearls, a sari in pastel chiffon and dainty silk slippers were all that was required.

The fact that she looked equally good in slacks, posing by one of the 27 tigers she personally eliminated, or perched, smoking, on an elephant, merely underlined the point. She was a princess, and a princess could make Jackie Kennedy appear almost a frump.

Click here to read the complete obituary in The Economist
Photo @ Rex Features

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