Obituaries, 12th-19th of July 2012

Robert Payne, John Lord, Else Holmelund Minarik, Omar Suleiman, Sylvia Woods have passed away. May their souls rest in peace.

Legendary British climber and environmentalist, Robert Payne, has died during an avalanche on Mount Maudit in the French-Italian Alps. He was 55. Born in London, Payne, having discovered his love for the outdoors at an early age, became a fully qualified climbing instructor while training to be a teacher. 25 years of mountaineering and exploring followed, with Payne conquering some of the world’s most hazardous peaks. In 1989 he became the national officer of the British Mountaineering Council and in 2001 was awarded a similar position in the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation. A tireless eco-campaigner, he also led a United Nations Environmental Program film project to highlight the dangers of Himalayan glacial melting. He is survived by his wife, Julie-Ann.

Roger Payne: born July 16th 1956, died July 12th 2012


John Lord, keyboard player of Rock band Deep Purple has died at the age of 71 after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. A highly respected musician, Lord was famed for his love of classical music, which he fused with that of Rock, and in the process, helped Deep Purple to become one of the biggest acts in history. Lord was born in Leicester, UK, and later moved to London to attend a drama school before forming his first band, Santa Barbara Machine Head, which would later provide two members for Deep Purple in 1968. They were top split 8 years later and reform in 1984 and Lord continued playing with them until 2002. He is survived by his wife, their daughter and a daughter from a previous marriage.

John Lord: born June 19th 1941, died July 16th 2012


Else Holmelund Minarik, notable author of the classic illustrated children’s books Little Bear has died at the age of 91. Such was the popularity of her stories that she is credited with encouraging and improving the literacy of whole generations of youngsters. Born in Denmark, Minarik moved to the US when she was four and would later remark that her stories were inspired by her Scandinavian memories. In 1995, TV network Nickelodeon turned her stories into an animated series. She is survived by her grand-daughter.

Else Holmelund Minarik: born September 13th 1920, died July 12th 2012


Former Egyptian spy Omar Suleiman who briefly stood in as the nation’s President after Mubarak’s resignation has died in a US hospital aged 76. Born in Egypt’s Quena, Suleiman joined the military in 1954 and quickly rose through the ranks, being involved in both the 1967 and 1973 wars with Israel. The following decade he was transferred to military intelligence where he became one of Egypt’s most powerful men after promotion to Head of the General Intelligence Service in 1993, also becoming a close ally of consecutive American governments. He is survived by 3 daughters.

Omar Suleiman: born July 2nd 1936, died July 19th, 2012


Restaurateur Sylvia Woods has died at her New York home aged 86 after suffering from Alzheimer’s in recent years. Her passing was all the more tragic as it was hours before she was due to collect an award to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her eatery. Born in South Carolina, Woods at an early age moved to New York with her family where she was destined to open Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem in 1962. It was to be frequented by major politicians and stars such as Diana Ross and Bill Clinton and she was also the inspiration behind two books, “Sylvia’s Soul Food: Recipes from Harlem’s World Famous Restaurant” and “Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook: From Hemmingway, South Carolina to Harlem.”

Sylvia Woods: born February 2nd 1926, died July 19th 2012  

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