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Remembering those who died in 2013

  • 9/27/2013: B1:

    12/8/2011: B1:

    PC: Pearl Harbor survivor Jesse Love salutes the flag during a playing of "Taps" at the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Hall in Santa Rosa, California on Wednesday, December 7, 2011. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Many of the people who died along the North Coast in 2013 were, as is generally expected, older — among them Pat Wiggins, 73, Jesse Love, 91, and Jim Grady, 77 — and so their passings prompted reviews of their many decades engaged in living.

But others died tragically young. The deaths of Alyssa Byrne, 19, and Hope Sega, 18, were excruciating reminders of the dearness of life and how final youthful error can be.

The October death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, shot dead on Moorland Avenue by a sheriff's deputy, grieved and enraged the community, with many residents taking to the streets in protest of the deputy's use of deadly force.

In Memoriam 2013

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Some deaths, like that of banker Dave Brown, 53, rattled industries. Others, like that of winemaker of Jim Barrett, 86, summoned memories of landmark achievement.

Death also occurred at society's margins. At least two people who had long been homeless died on local streets, Anatolio Barocio, 58, and James Wood, 60 — shoving to the fore life's hardness.

Sometimes death can knit a community more tightly.

"The larger culture has celebrated individuals to such a degree that people don't celebrate how connected we are. And it's quite clear that when people lose people, that they become aware of their connections," said Kathy Charmaz, a Sonoma State University sociologist.

"I think we tend to deny and minimize our connections to community," said Charmaz, who teaches a course titled Death and American Culture. "In that way, recognizing the lives of people who have died, whether they are known to many or just a few, is important."

In the early hours of 2013, Alyssa Byrne of Petaluma, 19, a Casa Grande High School graduate known for her fierce wit and lacrosse skills, died in a Tahoe snowbank after wandering off alone after a concert. Friends said she had been drinking and methamphetamine was later found in her system. Her parents launched a public awareness campaign urging young people to look out for one another to keep danger at bay.

In January, George Snyder of Occidental, a chronicler of his community, and an avid campaigner for the outdoors, died. A San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Snyder, a tall black man of American Indian ancestry who liked to wear a cowboy hat, was 68.


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