Mossbacks Remembered: 2005

From Bozo to Scotty, an annual farewell to some of the locals who shaped life in our region.

August Wilson, 60. The country's most prominent African-American playwright. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner's works included Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences, and The Piano Lesson. His life in the Hill district of his native Pittsburgh, Pa., was an inspiration on which he continued to draw after he moved to Seattle's Capitol Hill. His reasons for moving here will ring familiar for many. In 1993, he told the Hartford Courant: "I got divorced in 1990, and my first thought was to get the hell out of town. . . . One of the reasons why I went [to Seattle] was that I didn't know anyone. Also, you can't go any farther because of the ocean. It's OK. It's cool. It rains."

Eugene Corr, 82. Former beat cop who rose through the ranks to assistant chief of the Seattle Police Department and earned notoriety—and a city's thanks—when he risked his life and career by blowing the whistle on his boss and fellow officers during one of the largest police corruption scandals in city history in the late 1960s and early '70s.

Don McGaffin, 78. Legendary KING-TV newsman. Whether exposing police department spying on local journalists and politicians or the cruelty in capturing orcas or the dangerous flammability of children's pajamas, McGaffin's career proved that "fearless local television reporter" doesn't have to be an oxymoron.

Andy Stephenson, 43. Seattle Subway shop owner who was radicalized by election fraud and became, along with Bev Harris, one of the country's most ardent black box voting activists. He was also, briefly, a Democratic candidate for secretary of state in 2004. After he was diagnosed with cancer, his supporters raised funds for his treatment, but soon a Swift-boat-style Internet campaign fueled by the right wing alleged that Stephenson was faking his disease and defrauding donors. Unfortunately, he was truly sick and died in July. Despite the ugliness that clouded his last days, Stephenson is likely smiling somewhere, now that more major media are beginning to take the problems of electronic voting seriously.

Michael Dahlquist, 39. Whidbey Island native, Greener, drummer for the popular '90s Seattle-based band Silkworm, who died in a Chicago area crash along with two other musicians when their car was rammed by a Mustang driven by an allegedly suicidal woman.

Jason Sprinkle, aka Subculture Joe, 35. Guerrilla artist who got the city's attention in the '90s, first when he attached a 700-pound ball and chain to Hammering Man's ankle, and later when he left a sculpture in a pickup truck at Westlake resulting in a bomb scare that caused one of the worst traffic jams in downtown history.

Lloyd Meeds, 77. The respected Scoop-and-Maggie-era Democratic congressman from Everett who served seven terms and later joined the D.C. lobbying branch of Seattle law firm Preston Gates Ellis, in the news these days as a former roost of GOP scandal figure Jack Abramoff.

Martin Durkan Sr., 81. Powerful Demo-cratic state senator, two-time guberna-torial candidate—once described as "one of the best governors we never had." He was head of the influential political clan that includes lobbyist son Jamie and lawyer daughter Jenny.

Fred Haley, 92. President of the Brown & Haley candy company in Tacoma, makers of the signature Northwest confection, the pink-tinned, gold foil–wrapped Almond Roca. Beyond being a purveyor of sweets, Haley was also a longtime political activist, civil libertarian, and education reformer and was nationally recognized for his civil rights work.

Philip Spaulding, 92. Naval architect who designed the new Jumbo class ferries the Walla Walla and Spokane, ushering in a new, modern era for the Washington State Ferry system.

Malcolm Stamper, 80. Boeing executive who oversaw production of the 747, the new jumbo jet for Boeing that sparked a new modern era in aviation.

John Stewart Deltie, 96. Oscar-nominated Hollywood set designer and architect (Children's Hospital). His most fascinating local work may be his most ephemeral. For the Army Corps of Engineers he created a 26-acre faux town and landscape that, when seen from the air, camouflaged Boeing's B-17 bomber factory during World War II.

J.D. Alexander, 66. Gruff, good- humored, old-school newspaperman who was executive editor, then publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in the '80s and '90s.

James Doohan, 85. Star Trek's "Scotty," who lived in Redmond. Some of his remains, along with those of pioneering Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper, are due to be shot into orbit in January.

Linda Farris, 61. Flamboyant Seattle art dealer and major booster of contemporary art.

Glynn Ross, 90. Appointed founding general director of Seattle Opera in 1963, Ross cut a large figure in the city's post–1962 World's Fair culture boom. He brought The Ring to town and "merchandized" opera with such gimmicks as skywriting and bumper stickers. Anything to haul Seattle out of the cultural "dustbin." It worked.

William Dunlop, 69. Poet, University of Washington English professor, colleague of Theodore Roethke, and onetime Seattle Weekly opera critic.

Nicole duFresne, 28. Former Seattle actress, tragically gunned down outside a New York nightclub by a mugger in New York after asking, "What are you going to do, shoot us?" Her fiancé, Jeffrey Sparks, is reportedly making a film, Widowed, about people who lose their spouses to violence.

Jerry Sando, 71. Actor and theater director remembered by local TV-addicted boomers as Bozo the Clown on Stan Boreson's KING's Clubhouse.

kberger@seattleweekly.com

 
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