Irv Letofsky

Irv Letofsky

IRVIN MYLES LETOFSKY

1931 to 2007

By Katharine Blossom Lowrie

In the company of an apostle at the LA Times

Journalists who worked for Irv Letofsky during his fifteen years as editor of The Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar were forever changed—in their personal lives as well as their careers. His piquant personality, the expletive-littered asides, the mood-elevating spirit that made you feel you were in the company of an apostle, well, that was Letofsky, a man who loved writers and never worried about political correctness. He died just before Christmas.

1letofsky1225.jpgSince all the usual suspects have been eloquently presented in a myriad of obits, I’ll touch on just a few statistics here. Born a Taurus in Fargo, North Dakota on April 26, 1931, he graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of North Dakota in 1954; served as assistant city editor at the Minneapolis Tribune from 1963 to 1976; editor of the arts and entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times until 1991; TV critic for the Hollywood Reporter until 2007, and, in 2003, he co-produced the documentary “All the Presidents’ Movies.”  Married since 1978 to beauteous actress Brian Ann Zoccola; father of four children: Laurie, PJ, Cara and Polly (who walked around the world on behalf of breast cancer, a four-year trek her father championed every step of the way), and grandfather of Rosie and Eamon.

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning

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Roger Allen Johnson

ROGER ALLEN JOHNSON

1947-2003

Repaying a debt of joy

By Bill Jordan

from-bill.jpgInsurance adjuster, X-ray technician, Hypnotherapist, Roger’s legion of friends knew him best as an affable host, always up for making whatever room he was in a better, happier place. So, it would be criminal ingratitude for me to repay a debt of joy with the currency of tears. Roger provided me many happy memories and I will repay him with the interest on that debt and in kind, but never have I found words so heavy than when I tried to lift sad ones to find the happy ones crushed beneath. So I’ll refer to this as a celebration since Roger would be appalled to find himself the cause of an unhappy gathering. He wouldn’t hesitate to remind any of us this is his party and everyone should be having fun. He’d also be asking why there isn’t an open bar, a dance floor, and shouldn’t there be more people here.

I’m not sure he knew middling adjectives

Roger Johnson possessed an audacious enthusiasm for life. Better, faster, more. I never saw his attention waver from living to the fullest every minute, always doing whatever could be done in a single day, and often more. All the things he did were experiences to be shared, breathed through other lips. Even the ones he did alone were so he could go to all his friends and say “You’ve got to try this! It’s amazing!” Few things were “Really good” or “Quite nice” to Roger. I’m not sure he knew middling adjectives. In Roger’s dictionary, the definition of adequate says See amazing. He flung his arms wide and said “Give it to me Life. All of it. I want everything you’ve got.”

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F.W. Stark, Jr.

FREDERICK WILLIAM STARK, JR.

September 4, 1935 to May 24, 2007

by Katharine Blossom Lowrie

He drew so many, especially “the chicks”

Stark & GoobersAn unparalleled mentor and friend, Frederick William Stark, Jr. (“Willie” or “Bill” to most) departed this earth on May 24, 2007—in his single-engine Diamond Star, no doubt—to see “what life is like on Jupiter and Mars.” He was 72. Legendary for his verbal shorthand, tireless research and racy wit, Bill enjoyed no greater honor than to serve those seeking and maintaining the sobriety he prized for 25 years. Whether offering encouragement, a flight to some distant meeting, or the “even-keel” approach that drew so many (especially “the chicks,” said one), he availed himself to others with utter confidence and enthusiasm 24/7. “He would drop anything if you needed him,” said longtime pal Christine Peterson, one of hundreds of friends who packed an airplane hangar at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad by the Sea in early June.

Two things came easily: flying and entrepreneurship

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