"How are we to help those who die and those who have died?" --
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

"By writing or reading obituaries,
we can discover ways to make our time on earth more worthwhile, more productive, more meaningful to others." -- Alana Baranick, "Life on the Death Beat"

"'I always read the obituaries in The Times,' I explained to her. 'They make me bloody glad to be alive.'" -- John Mortimer, "Rumpole's Return"

Allen Swift, aka Ira Stadlen

Allen Swift in character as "Captain Allen," host of the Popeye cartoons on WPIX-TV.

Voice actor and kids' TV show host -- via News from Me. He was the voice of Howdy Doody for a year after host Buffalo Bob suffered a heart attack in September 1954. He went on to voice a multitude of characters in Rankin/Bass animated projects. Most memorably for me, he voiced the evil Baron Barracuda and others in the syndicated "Diver Dan":

Never trust a fish with a German accent and a monocle.

And he played Simon Bar Sinister in "Underdog":

UPDATE ON APRIL 27: Here's the belated New York Times obituary --

Virginia Kuzman

 A happy, positive person. Not anyone "special" or "important," but obviously someone who had a good attitude and lots of love to share with the world. Via the Daily Breeze

Dede Allen

One of the best film editors of all time -- her innovations were revolutionary -- via the L.A. Times