A roundup of notable obituaries from the week ending Jan. 04.
Blake W. Nordstrom, 58, part of the fourth generation to lead his family’s namesake retail company through one of the industry’s most tumultuous periods, died of cancer in Seattle on Wednesday
Nordstrom employees, customers and observers shared memories and condolences Wednesday, painting a picture of a humble leader who carried on his forebears’ tradition of treating employees as family and who was not above performing low-level tasks even as he advanced to the company’s top ranks.
Like all long-tenured retailers, Nordstrom has been navigating the upheaval driven by online shopping, now well into its second decade. Blake Nordstrom was instrumental in guiding the company’s strategy through this period with an increasingly sophisticated e-commerce offering that has sought to blend the convenience of shopping online with the unique attributes of Nordstrom’s luxurious department stores, which it has renovated, relocated and continued to expand.
Daryl Dragon, 76, the “Captain” half of the pop duo the Captain & Tennille, whose string of soft-rock hits in the 1970s included “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Muskrat Love,” died of renal failure Wednesday in Prescott, Arizona, his former wife and singing partner, Toni Tennille, announced.
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Bob Einstein, 76, whose career as a comedy writer on shows such as “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” took a quirky turn into television acting as the hapless daredevil Super Dave Osborne and later as a friend of Larry David’s on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” died of cancer Wednesdayin Indian Wells, California.
Amos Oz, 79, renowned Israeli author whose work captured the characters and landscapes of the young state of Israel and who matured into a leading moral voice and an advocate for peace with the Palestinians, died of cancer Dec. 28. One of Israel’s most prolific writers, he published more than a dozen novels, including “My Michael” and “Black Box,” as well as collections of short fiction, works of nonfiction and many essays; his writing was translated into more than 35 languages. His acclaimed memoir, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” became an international best-seller and a movie.
Bre Payton, 26, writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets, died suddenly Dec. 28 in San Diego. Doctors determined Ms. Payton had H1N1 flu — also known as swine flu — and meningitis. An obituary in The Federalist called her “joyful, hardworking, and compassionate.”
Richard Overton, 112, the nation’s oldest World War II veteran who was also believed to be the oldest living man in the United States, died Dec. 27 at a rehab facility in Austin, Texas. He was in his 30s when he volunteered for the Army, where he served in the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion, and was at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese attack in 1941. He once said that smoking cigars and drinking whiskey were among the secrets to his long life.
Rick Anderson, 77, a Seattle journalist for more than 50 years and a former Seattle Times columnist who wrote about “underdogs and underdog causes,” was found dead Dec. 24 by his daughter, Darcy Anderson, in her White Center apartment. The cause was complications of congestive heart failure.
“We used to call him the Hoquiam kid,” said Dick Clever, a former Seattle P-I and Seattle Times reporter and editor, recalling how the “tough town” where Mr. Anderson grew up gave him a feeling for people with tough lives and an ability to puncture the egos of “self-important politicians.”