Monday, September 7, 2009

A couple of fun Labor Day obits

I love spy obits. Well, I love all sorts of obits, but I find spy obits particularly intriguing. Here's an obit for Edward Ryan (any relation to Jack?) who was a station chief for the CIA and also chaired the CIA's fine arts commission. Fine Arts Commission?! Who knew? He also "amassed one of the largest collections of paper toy soldiers in the United States." I'm not sure how much competition there is for that distinction. It's pretty impressive, though, isn't it?

My other favorite obit of the weekend was for Francis Rogallo, "the Father of Hang Gliding," mostly for the way he and his wife seemed, in this article at least, to be a real partnership. "Mr. Rogallo’s wife, Gertrude, helped him develop his ideas for a flexible, ultralight aircraft. She used her sewing machine and a flowered chintz kitchen curtain to give substance to the vision, a sort of cross between a boat sail and a parachute." And later on, it reports "he and his wife used table fans and cardboard to erect wind tunnels at home." I'm thinking not a lot of wives set up wind tunnels in the house. At least I don't think I would.

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