Clarence Davis Sr., a World War II veteran, died from complications of COVID-19 at St. Louis University Hospital on November 20, 2020 at the age of 97.
During World War II, Clarence served in the U.S. Navy, achieving the rank of Carpenters Mate Second Class; he was among the first Black enlisted men to attain this designation. He was also a Freemason, a Boy Scout Leader, and an active member of the VFW. After WWII, Clarence worked a variety of jobs before retiring from the Records Management Department at Monsanto. He always loved carpentry, and was known and respected for his skill across St. Louis City and County. Clarence also loved gardening (especially roses), watching baseball, bowling, and keeping active with church activities (St. Johns Church). He was a devoted husband and father, and contributed to the development of countless children and teenagers in the community.
Clarence Davis Sr. is missed deeply by his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, extended family, church family, and those in the St. Louis community fortunate enough to know him.
Audrey May Sullivan of Florissant MO died of COVID-19 on January 15, 2021 at the age of 96.
Audrey was born on February 29, 1924 making her a leap year baby, which she was very proud of. She was past president of the Florissant Lady Elks, a lifelong Cardinals fan, and worked and taught candy-making classes at Fischer’s Cake & Candy for over 40 years.
Audrey Sullivan is missed deeply by her two sons, grandchildren, extended family and friends. She was buried at Jefferson Barracks next to her late husband of 61 years.
Nelly Grosswasser, Ph.D., a professor emerita of Russian literature and the founder of the Russian program at Saint Louis University, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 16, 2020 at the age of 95.
She was described as being feisty and a “true force of nature”. Like the Russian literature she taught, Nelly’s life story involved romance, war, and spanned continents. She was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, USSR and moved with her brother to avoid the Nazis during World War II. She met her (late) husband Sol (who had just been released from a labor camp) while in Kazakhstan. They escaped to Germany after the war, eventually immigrating to the USA with their young son in 1949.
Although she had a BA in engineering, Dr. Grosswasser’s true calling was education, in which she earned an MA and PhD from Washington University. Her impressive career accomplishments are detailed beautifully in the sources below, but what she was probably most noted for was being St. Louis University’s first full-time Russian language teacher, remaining at the university for 47 years. Nelly mentored thousands of students, was voted most popular teacher at SLU numerous times, won many teaching awards, and continued to support students of Russian language long after retiring.
According to her obituary, “Nelly tried to ease the way for others. She prepared a booklet for Russian immigrants that explained how to shop, bank, get gas, etc. She helped them with job placement and translated documents for them. She also was a founding member (for over 50 years) of the “Culture Vultures”, a book group of working women whose motto was “No talking about diapers, children or husbands, just literature”.”
Nelly is missed deeply by her brother, son and daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchild, friends, and all the thousands of people who she taught, mentored, and otherwise helped.
WWII veteran Joseph C. Budde died of COVID-19 on December 9, 2020 at the age of 96.
Joseph served in the Army Air Corps in WWII flying 35 missions in Europe, including the days leading up to D-Day, followed by another 60 missions in Asia. After the war, he got a degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis University and worked at Sverdrup and Parcel Engineers and Architects for the next 35 years while he and his wife raised their two children. Joseph and his late wife were longtime parishioners at Our Lady of Providence in Crestwood.
Joseph C. Budde is missed deeply by his children, grandchildren, extended family, friends, and everyone who was fortunate to know him.
Ellen L. Brasunas died of COVID-19 three days after turning 96 on November 19, 2020.
Ellen was a woman who gave to others and helped them heal. She first worked as a psychiatric nurse, stopping to raise her three children and returning to work as a public health and school nurse once she moved to St. Louis. When she was 52 she went back to graduate school to pursue her passion, counseling, and opened her private practice in 1980. She continued to be active as a therapist, and held her license until at least 2017.
Ellen Brasunas is deeply missed by her 3 adult kids, grandkids, great-great grandkids, extended family, church family at the St. Louis Ethical Society, huge circle of friends, and countless others who she helped out in life.
As written: “Marian Constance Gates of Bridgeton MO died of COVID-19 on August 31, 2020 at the age of 96 in the hospital (DePaul) after three days of attempts to conquer her dreaded virus failed. She was a long time nursing home resident where she contracted this dreaded virus. Even though her short term memory began to fail, her long term memory never wavered one bit. No longer will additional wealth of her first hand family history can be shared with the rest of the family. COVID restrictions imposed on family and friend visitors were difficult on all because they prevented both from being with her at the nursing home and hospital during her final days. She was buried next to her beloved husband of many years, Curtis Gates, Sr. Our 96 year old family matriarch will be greatly missed.”
Rose Beatrice “Bea” Gillooly of Ferguson MO died of Covid-19 on November 18, 2020 at the age of 98. She suffered from dementia the past few years, but she still knew and loved her family.
Bea was a woman ahead of her time, encouraged by her husband Dick (who was accomplished in the field of space exploration at McDonnell Douglas). Bea learned about the stock market and investing in a progressive women’s group after Dick opened a checking account in her name (at a time when women could not open accounts on their own). She was paid a salary to be a homemaker because her late husband also recognized that caregiving and housekeeping is a valuable service too often (still) uncompensated and unacknowledged.
Her obituary briefly attempts to summarize Bea’s fascinating life: “Bea’s two passions in life were traveling and reading. Beginning in 1968, and as often as she could, she traveled the world. She visited multiple countries on six continents, taking photos whenever possible. Reminiscing of those trips when viewing photos brought her great joy over the years. In her early St. Louis years, Bea joined a women’s book group and continued to meet monthly to discuss books, politics, and current events for over 50 years. In addition to raising 10 children, Bea was an active volunteer. She started a rental book system at Sts. John and James allowing families to pay a small annual fee to borrow books for the school year and not have to purchase new sets for their children each year. She was involved in The Experiment in International Living, allowing children and students from other countries to temporarily live with host families in the St. Louis area. She went on to become a board member of that group as well as a docent for the First Street Forum, a contemporary art gallery. She was also involved as a volunteer for the ScholarShop for many years.”
Even later in life, Bea was engaged and active volunteering and learning new things. She had an email address early on, and used the internet for research. Bea kept abreast of politics, voting in the 2016 election. She was a proud progressive Democrat and fan of Rachel Maddow.
Her family’s statement reads: “Many of her children would have been with her in the end if she hadn’t been isolated in a Covid 19 ward for her last two weeks. We hold the Trump administration directly responsible for robbing us of the opportunity of saying goodbye to our mother.”
Bea Gillooly is missed deeply by her nine surviving children, numerous grand and great grandchildren, her wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and the many people who she inspired and helped lift up.
LaVerne A. Schlinkmann died on November 8, 2020 from complications of COVID-19 at St. Mary’s Hospital at the age of 99.
LaVerne was born and raised in St. Louis, and worked as a secretary for the old National Screen Co. and then for many years at Monsanto while she and her late husband raised their two sons. Her favorite things in life were her family and church, with music a close third. LaVerne was a lifelong member of St. Paul United Church of Christ on Giles Avenue where she sang in the choir and played in the bell choir, and also kept active with the Phi Beta sorority, the local Toastmistress Club, and as a volunteer usher for the Fox Theatre.
In her later years LaVerne moved into BJC Extended Care in Clayton, where she kept her mind and body sharp by making friends with the other residents and playing piano to the joy of everyone! Her formative youth being shaped by The Great Depression and as a young adult during World War II, LaVerne was known for her optimism and courage against odds and for her kindness and sweet nature.
LaVerne Schlinkmann is missed deeply by her surviving son and daughter-in-law, a brother, extended family, and the many friends she made in life.
Cheldron “Marty” Fox, a WWII Army Veteran who participated in Day 3 of the Normandy Invasion, died from COVID-19 on June 20, 2020 at the age of 100. He’d enjoyed swing dancing, golf, and kept active well into his 90s. He was loved for his quick smile and kind heart.
Cheldron Fox is missed deeply by his surviving adult children, grand children, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and his extended family and friends.
William Edward “Ed” Gorman died from complications of COVID-19 on September 10, 2020 at the age of 91. He caught the virus while he was resident at White Hall Nursing and Rehab Center in White Hall, Illinois.
Ed served with the US Army in the Korean War and afterwards worked as a plumber for the University of Delaware for 26 years. He and his wife moved to Brighton Illinois in 2011 to be closer to family. They had just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary when COVID-19 took his life.
William Edward Gorman is missed deeply by his wife, numerous nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.
Juanita Rice died of COVID-19 on August 12, 2020 at the age of 94. Although she was quite old, she had not lost her spitfire spark.
Juanita was known as “Grandma Rice” to all her neighbors, and fearless of the growing crime around her. She was practically a neighborhood institution having lived in her house 67 years. Juanita was very active in Compton Heights Baptist Church, and was involved in the Inner-City Ministry (being their “oldest member”). Juanita worked the election polls for many years, and was active in her neighborhood and community. She loved listening to and going to Cardinals games, playing rummy, shooting pool, and telling a good story.
Juanita genuinely loved people and opened her home to those in need. Through trying to make this world a little better, she taught countless others how to love and to not give up hope, just keep on fighting and believing for a miracle ‘till the end. Faced with hardship in her own life, it only gave her more empathy, and she truly consistently lived her values. She would do anything to help family, a friend or an acquaintance if they needed her. She never gave up!
Juanita is missed by her surviving children, her grand children, extended family, many friends, church, and all her neighbors and those lucky enough to know her in any way.
Dorothy J. Lauman passed away on May 7, 2020 from Covid-19, at the age of 96.
Dorothy was born and raised in South St. Louis City, and raised her kids in St. Louis City. She started playing piano at the age of 6, and was still playing it for the residents of Nazareth Living Center up until about a month before she died (90 years!). Music was a big part of her life, and she taught piano to all ages of students throughout her life. She and her late husband were also very involved with sports while raising three boys. Dorothy was active in many parish events, extra-curricular school activities, and volunteer work with Epiphany Catholic Church. She baked 3000 cookies every Christmas and knitted sweaters for family and pets (and her knitted dish-rags “never wore out”). Setting up her Christmas tree, with stories behind ornaments from every year and part of life, is a memory her grandchildren treasure.
Dorothy J. Lauman is missed deeply by her surviving sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family and all those whose lives she touched.
Irene A. Taschler died July 20, 2020 from complications of COVID-19. She was 95 years old.
Irene was a respected former executive secretary at Emerson Electric. She stayed active with her late husband, visiting their second home in Hawaii and traveling often to see her family in Austria. In her later years Irene loved volunteering at St. Anthony’s Medical Center (Mercy South Hospital).
Irene Taschler is missed deeply by her adult children, great grandchildren, and extended family both here in St. Louis and in Vienna, Austria.
WWII Veteran William D. “Bill” Baker, died May 1, 2020 at Edwardsville Care Center of complications related from COVID-19. He was 96.
BIll served in the US Army as an amphibious engineer in the South Pacific under Admiral Halsey during WWII. He also served in major assaults on Morotai Island in Indonesia, in the Netherlands, the East Indies, Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippine Islands, and eventually in Osaka, Japan.
After his honorable discharge from the military, Bill married his sweetheart June (who passed in 1996) and began his large family (raising 13 children in all). He retired after a long career at the US Post Office in 1984.
Bill loved to take his family on camping trips, playing any card game (especially poker and pinochle), and the Chicago Cubs. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family.
Bill is deeply missed by his 12 surviving children, 90 great-grandchildren, and 19 great-great-grandchildren… and all his neighbors and friends that he made over his long life.
Alvin George Edgell was enjoying his golden years in health at Alexian Brothers Landsdowne Village close to his family when he was struck with COVID-19, over 6 weeks after the nursing home locked down to visitors in an effort to prevent the novel coronavirus. Still very mentally sharp, he was using email to communicate until his last days. Al died on May 4th at the age of 96 with his son, a doctor at the hospital, by his side.
Al had a tremendously adventurous life, which is eloquently detailed in his obituary and public radio story linked in the sources below. A conscientious objector to WWII, his plea was rejected and he served as a medic in a non-combat role. He subsequently served in the Korean War. Al built his career around his passion, doing development work around the world.
In 1986 Al retired from Save The Children. When his wife retired they moved to St. Louis to be closer to their adult children and grandchildren. Al quickly became active in the St. Louis Ethical Society and gave speeches to other groups about world affairs. He published a memoir “Hindseeing: A Life in the World” under the pseudonym Bertram Clive Beardsley.
Alvin George Edgell is missed deeply by his wife of 50 years, his adult children, extended family, and everyone whose lives he touched.
Earl Crenshaw, 99, was a fighter in life and tried his best to beat COVID-19 when he caught it at the Meramec Bluffs Assisted Living Center in Ballwin! He passed away peacefully on April 25, 2020.
After serving in WWII in the Army Air Corps, Earl started working for Western Electric. He and his family settled in Manchester, MO after living 20 years in Texas. Earl retired from Western Electric in 1981 and remarried after his first wife passed of cancer.
Earl made a great many friends at Meramec Valley Bluffs where he lived for many years and was given excellent care. He is missed by his large extended family, his many friends, the staff at Meramec Valley Bluffs, and everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.
Edward Wood Cissel died on June 16th due to complications from Covid-19 on June 16, 2020. He was 99 years old. Although not from St. Louis, Edward Cissell spent 19 years as the headmaster of John Burroughs School from 1967 to 1986, a pivotal time for the school. During Wood’s time, the financial position of the school was strengthened, faculty salaries were raised, environmental education benefited from the acquisition of Drey Land, increased community service by students, construction of a fine arts building and a sports and performing arts center, and many more improvements. Cissell and his wife (who was also influential in the school) were named “honorary alumni”, a title that only 5 other people in the history of John Burroughs School have held.
Cissell also served in WWII as a forward observer in a field artillery battalion in the Fourth Infantry Division. On D-Day, he landed on Utah Beach and fought in the battles of Cherbourg and Saint Lo, earning a Bronze Star.
Edward Wood Cissell is missed by the hundreds of students and coworkers whose lives he touched, his many friends, his four children, grand children, and extended family.
Joan Blase Goodson, a philanthropist and founding board member of the Contemporary Art Museum, died at on May 9 of complications from COVID-19 at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center (MOBap) at 94 years old.
Joan graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1947 and returned to where she grew up, St. Louis. She found work as an advertising copywriter and publicist for retail stores. In 1962 she married the love of her life, Jean S. Goodson, president of the International Hat Company. They stayed married until his death in 2003.
Her entire life was vibrant and interesting, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch has a great article memorializing Joan here.
Joan Goodson supported and contributed to many St. Louis arts and cultural institutions including:
Founding board member of the Contemporary Art Museum
Opera Theatre of St. Louis
St. Louis Chamber Chorus
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis Art Museum
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Frank Lloyd Wright House
Joan Blase Goodson is missed by her nieces, godchildren, her many friends, and the entire St. Louis arts community.
Dr. Fred Phillip Handler died of coronavirus complications on April 20, 2020 at the age of 95. He had lived a long and love filled life. The son of immigrants, his parents placed a high value on education and his mother made sure that her children attended college and graduate school.
He completed his medical degree from Washington University and completed his residency in pathology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and joined the staff there. In 1951 he was sent to Asia to serve in the military and became an expert in tropical and parasitic infections, creating an extensive reference slide collection.
After he finished his military service, Fred and his wife Estelle moved to Jefferson City where they raised their family and Fred practiced pathology at St. Mary’s Hospital and Memorial Community Hospital. Fred was a mentor and teacher to many of the aspiring doctors and nurses who he crossed paths with.
In 1984 Fred and Estelle moved back to St. Louis and enjoyed their retirement. A voracious reader and observer of nature, Fred never stopped learning. He also loved fishing, the St. Louis Symphony, classical music, and live theatre.
His wife of 72 years preceded him in death on December 10, 2019.
Dr. Handler is loved and missed by his adult children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all the friends and acquaintances whose lives he touched over the years.