RIP Fred Teutenberg, King of the Dirt Cheap Commercials

Categories: Obituaries

See you at the crossroads, Fred Teutenberg. We expect you to have a cigarette and some "cheap, cheap" Beefeater gin waiting for us.
Fred Teutenberg, hero to the persecuted smokers and cheap drinkers of St. Louis, died of congestive heart failure at his Brentwood home on Monday, December 29.

The 75-year-old entrepreneur, who opened the Dirt Cheap stores chain, earned a special place in St. Louisans' hearts, not just for his reasonably priced alcohol and cigarettes but for the commercials that were always a party in themselves -- a party that included a giant yellow chicken wearing a bathing suit.

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Beloved Comic Book Store Owner Steve Koch Dies, Ran Comic Headquarters for 26 Years

Categories: Obituaries

Steve Koch, the long-time owner and founder of Comic Headquarters.
Before they were married, Steve Koch tried to convince his then-girlfriend Carla to try joining him in something he loved: reading comic books. She was skeptical -- comics weren't really her thing -- but he selected a special book for her, X-Men No. 1, and insisted that she would like it if she just gave it a chance.

"I thought comic books were crazy," Carla Koch tells Daily RFT. "I thought comic-book people were just too stupid to read real books."

When she fell asleep reading it and creased the cover, she was afraid he'd get mad at her for creasing the cover of his collectible.

But he didn't mind, Carla says. "That's just the kind of guy he was. He just wanted me to read it and like it. He knew the true value of a comic book was in the story and the art, not as it being a collectible."

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R.I.P. Harry Slyman: Appliance Store Pitchman Known for Wacky Commercials

Categories: Obituaries

Harry Slyman (right) and his brother, Bob.
One half of a St. Louis legend is gone. Harry Slyman, of the St. Louis appliance-store chain Slyman Brothers, passed away June 14 at the age of 79.

For those who grew up in St. Louis in the 1970s and '80s, Harry and his brother, Bob, were local television stars known for their goofball commercials, which they both wrote and starred in.

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VIDEO: St. Louis Poets Memorialize Maya Angelou at Her Walk of Fame Star

Categories: Obituaries

"Will you hear me or will you see me?" Corey Black says, shouting above the Delmar Boulevard traffic at the dozen or so onlookers who encircle the Walk of Fame star bearing Maya Angelou's name.

Black, a 31-year-old spoken-word poet, organized an impromptu memorial for Angelou, the celebrated St. Louis-born author and poet who died Wednesday morning at the age of 86. With a handful of other St. Louis poets at his side, Black roars the first stanza of one of his longer pieces:

"It's a testimony that somebody needs me,
Some people don't get called but once in their life
But I swear I hear the voice of Maya when I get called to the mic,
And it tells me to get on my feet
And walk to the light."

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Patrick Bray: Blanchette Bridge Accident Claims Worker's Life Weeks Before Retirement

Categories: News, Obituaries

Courtesy of Bray family
Patrick Bray.
Patrick Bray, a 51-year-old worker on the Blanchette Bridge rehabilitation project, was preparing this month for his retirement. Just a few weeks ago, he told his brother that he only needed to work 56 more hours but planned to stay on until July 1 so he could provide insurance for his granddaughters.

"He worked hard his entire life, but he didn't mind doing it," Bob Bray, his 43-year-old brother, tells Daily RFT.

Pat Bray, however, didn't make it to July.

Last Monday, the Jerseyville, Illinois, resident was killed during a construction accident at the bridge, leaving his family to mourn a man who they say was so dedicated to his family and such a hard worker that he was willing to continue the job -- even after he was free to retire.

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Videos: Stan Musial Honored at Funeral Service Featuring Bob Costas Eulogy

Bob Costas eulogy.jpg
Bob Costas delivering his eulogy for Stan Musial. Footage below.
Since news broke that St. Louis icon Stan Musial has died, fans have had many opportunities to pay tribute to the late, great Cardinal.

And on Saturday, fans got to say a final goodbye to the baseball legend, packed inside the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis for Stan the Man's public funeral service.

The ceremony included an emotional eulogy, full video on view below, from sportscaster Bob Costas, who said, "The bond and attachment between this player and this city is unique and lasting."

See Also:
- Stan Musial Bridge: Momentum Builds to Name Missouri-Illinois Connection After Late Cardinal
- Cardinals 101: This Week's Bestseller List

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7 Tips for Living a Really Long Life (from a Really, Really Old Illinois Woman)

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Mayetta Epps-Miller of East St. Louis died at age 111
Mayetta Epps-Miller of East St. Louis died on New Year's Eve. She was 111 years old.

That made her the oldest person living in Illinois, and also one of our nation's elite supercentenarians (meaning she was at least 110 and a superhero). 

Epps was born in April of 1901. It's hard to get your head around that.

It means she lived more than 40,000 days -- in a row.

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Former St. Louisan T.S. Eliot's Non-St. Louisan Wife Dies; Responsible for Existence of Cats

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Valerie Eliot and her husband at a theater in Chicago in 1959. She once wrote, "I sat next to TSE, my darling, and that makes any play endurable." Also, is it possible she actually saw St. Louis?
Valerie Fletcher Eliot, who was married to the poet T.S. Eliot, who grew up in St. Louis and then moved permanently to England although he occasionally mustered enough nostalgic feeling to write poems about the Mississippi (which he described as "strong brown god--sullen, untamed and intractable"), died Friday after what her family described as a long illness.

She has been described as the one person capable of making him happy.

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RIP Betty Anne McCaskill, Missouri Politician and Advocate for Women

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Betty Anne McCaskill and her daughter, Claire.
Betty Anne McCaskill, who is now most famous as one of the chief campaigners for her daughter Claire but who had a long career of her own in Missouri politics, died yesterday at home in St. Louis after a long illness. She was 84.

Claire McCaskill, who had last week suspended her campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate in order to care for her mother, said in a statement, "For some time, mom's health has not been good, and our family takes comfort that she is now at rest."

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RIP Shulamith Firestone, U. City-Raised Feminist Revolutionary

Categories: Obituaries

Firestone, ca. 1970
Shulamith Firestone, a painter and writer whose 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution was one of the seminal books of second-wave feminism, was found dead in her apartment in New York's East Village this past Tuesday. She was 67.

Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Ottawa, Canada, Firestone and her five brothers and sisters were raised in Kansas City and University City. Firestone attended Washington University before moving to Chicago to finish her education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

While still in her early twenties, Firestone helped found several radical feminist groups in Chicago and then in New York, including (with future Village Voice critic Ellen Willis) Redstockings, which ran consciousness-raising groups, taught self-defense classes and advocated for abortion rights. The manifestos she had written for those groups eventually became The Dialectic of Sex, which was published when she was only 25 and cemented her reputation as an important voice in the women's revolution.

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