The Sheehan World
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Obituary Page

2006 - 2012

The Sheehan World obit writer was on a leave of absence from 2009-2012, but the newspaper wishes to acknowledge the departure of the following dear friends and relatives. May they rest in everlasting peace.

  • Jeff Komenda, 71, Aug. 31, 2012
  • George Renault, 84, on Dec. 6, 2011
  • Annelise Pysanky, 59, Nov. 13, 2011
  • Gil Spencer, 85, June 24, 2011
  • Ruth Harvey, 69, May 31, 2011
  • Shearlean Duke, 64, Feb. 2, 2011
  • June Wark, 90, Jan. 3, 2011
  • Pamela Champagne, 60, Nov. 16, 2010
  • Nina Hodgson, 58, July 22, 2010
  • Joan Curtin, 79, June 15, 2010
  • Lawrence Pinkham, 83, Feb. 28, 2010
  • Lee-Anne Clark, 88, Oct. 8, 2009
  • Joe Paquin, 61, June 30, 2009

  • ROSEMARY HARRIS, 93, a peacemaker who started Bellingham's Friday Afternoon Peace Vigil in 1966 with her husband Howard Harris, died on Jan. 1, 2009. The vigil is the longest running weekly peace demonstration in the nation. Rosemary was a Quaker.

  • CAPT. PENNY BRITTON, 67, an inspiring sailboat captain, airline pilot, and university instructor, died Dec. 30, 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer. Penny had tremendous amounts of both enthusiasm for life and patience for her employees, students, and family. She and her husband Dick were the former owners of Penmar Marine in Anacortes, where I worked as a checkout skipper for a couple of summers after I got my captain’s license in 1997. She hired me at the marina after I met her at WWU. I was teaching journalism, part-time, in the same building as her. Besides being a great leader, Penny won the Ronald Kleinknecht Excellence in Teaching Award at WWU in 2008.
  • RICK SELVIN, 63, a witty Philadelphia Daily News editor and features writer who amused staffers and readers with his offbeat headlines, died Feb. 12, 2008 of multiple organ failure. Rick worked at the Daily News from 1980 until 1997 when he received a heart transplant. He authored one of the paper's most famous headline in 1981 after the body of Lee Harvey Oswald was exhumed in Texas: Oswald Still Dead. Rick was also a talented musician (who almost played music at our wedding reception). He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Florence; a son, David; a daughter, Emily; a sister, Rene Gold; and three grandchildren. Donations in his memory may be made to the St. Francis de Sales Organ Restoration Fund, c/o Charles Haub, treasurer, 47th Street and Springfield Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19104.

  • LISA RICHETTE, 77, a flamboyant, chain-smoking feminist and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge, died Oct. 26, 2007 of lung cancer. The socially active judge was an advocate for prisoners and those with mental illness, the homeless, battered women and abused children. Known to wear bikinis and mules well into her 70s at a Center City pool that I belonged to, she almost officiated at our 1994 wedding (I had written a news story about how she sprung a lifer from jail for a few hours, bought flowers for his fiance and married the couple in her courtroom. Chuck didn't trust her not to smoke during our ceremony.). Philadelphia Daily News reporter Kitty Caparella, a close friend, gave a eulogy and wrote Richette's obituary.
  • JOAN BEARDSLEY, 64, a Massachusetts native and high school science teacher who served on the Bellingham City Council, died March 12, 2007. Joan was the widow of Dick Beardsley, former editorial page editor at The Bellingham Herald.
  • CATHY LOGG, an award-winning police reporter in Washington state, died Feb. 7, 2007 in Bellingham. Logg covered crime in the Pacific Northwest for some two decades. Her passion for uncovering truth in municipal and tribal government, domestic violence, law enforcement, fires and other subjects earned her numerous journalism awards. Known for never being far from a police scanner, she covered the police beat for The Bellingham Herald from 1989 to 2000 and for the Everett Herald from 2000 to January 2006. Sheehan World publisher Kathy Sheehan shared a corner office with Cathy at The Bellingham Herald in 1994 and 1995.

  • TONY BERSANI, 47, a veteran New Jersey newspaper reporter and editor known for his self-deprecatory wit and his generosity, died April 17, 2006, after a four-year battle with cancer. He worked at The Press of Atlantic City with Sheehan World publisher Kathy Sheehan in the 1970s, a time he referred to as "back in Reagan's America, when debt wasn't bad and disco wasn't old." He also worked at papers in Asbury Park and East Brunswick and for the Dow Jones and Associated Press news services. He was working for Dow Jones at a building across from the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. "I took the PATH in and got off at the south tower," he wrote in an e-mail. "I still have my last Blackberry e-mail to my wife: "Can't write. lotta smoke. gotta go," Six weeks later, he faced something much larger than jetliners flying into the World Trade Center, a diagnosis of a rare type of cancer. He endured several surgeries and an experimental chemo regimen in typical Bersani style. He worked for the AP from home when he wasn't feeling well from the chemo: "Puking on the bus is so freshman-year," he said. On days he did go to the AP's New York bureau, Bersani made a sport out of walking through Time Square on his way to work, positioning himself in the background of home movies and still photos taken by tourists. His personal best was 10 in one day. Bersani also was a volunteer EMT with the East Brunswick Rescue Squad, a position he sought after he was diagnosed with cancer. Bersani was at least the third journalist from the small Atlantic City Press news staff in the 1970s to die of cancer contracted in their 40s.
  • BETTY FRIEDAN, whose 1963 best seller, The Feminine Mystique, helped launch the modern-day feminist movement, died on her 85th birthday, Feb. 4, 2006. She inspired several generations of women to be strong, independent and seek out lives of their own. "A woman ... mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children," Friedan said of "the problem with no name." She became the first president of NOW in 1966 and was a founder in 1968 of the National Conference for Repeal of Abortion Laws (now the National Abortion Rights Action League) and of the National Women's Political Caucus, in 1971. Friedan worked as a labor reporter, teacher, women's right activist and mother.

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