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Below are the five obits for Obit writer J in Category 7: Short-form Body of Work.
Obit #1: Dan Sudia
Dr. Dan Sudia was a serious scientist with an encyclopedic command of viruses, insects and birds, but he also had a touch of whimsy.
When he identified a new strain of mosquito in the course of his research into an outbreak of Venezuelan equine encephalitis in 1971, he named the creature Culex Cedeci in honor of his employer, the CDC, a.k.a the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the view of Dr. Goro Kono of Fort Collins, Colo., a retired CDC researcher, the dedication and meticulous work of Dr. Sudia should be better appreciated by the current generation of scientists.
"Had he not isolated so many strains of viruses, molecular biologists today could not have made so much fascinating discoveries about the secrets of those viruses," he said. "Each isolation from Dr. Sudia's field collection must have taken a lot of attention and been an arduous task, the significance and value of which most molecular biologists today do not understand."
Dr. David Sencer of Decatur, a former director of the CDC, counts Dr. Sudia as one of the agency's unsung heroes.
"Not only did he have a leading role in the development of the CDC's light trap for catching mosquitoes, a research tool that's used around the world, he was among the first researchers to connect virology, entomology and ornithology in the study of diseases. That's a fascinating cycle."
Prior to the introduction of the CDC's light trap, collecting live mosquitoes for research was a very crude process -- for instance, using a turkey baster to pick them up. The CDC light trap was easy to set up and repair in the field, and it weighed only 1.75 pounds, so a researcher could carry a dozen at a time.
"Dan had the idea to attach dry ice to the trap, which dramatically increased the number of mosquitoes caught, since they are attracted to carbon dioxide," said a retired CDC colleague, Dr. Charles Calisher of Red Feather Lakes, Colo.
"With 20 or so traps set in an area, you might capture tens of thousands of mosquitoes in a single night," he added. "The bigger the sample, the better the analysis."
Dr. Roy Chamberlain of Atlanta, retired former head of the CDC's virology department and a collaborator in the development of the CDC's light trap, said, "Dan was my top assistant, but I'm proud to say we were more like co-workers.
"Together, we determined how and what kind of diseases that mosquitoes transmitted to humans and animals -- something that hadn't been explored before," he said. "It simply wasn't understood which mosquitoes carried the viruses for Western encephalitis, Eastern encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and so on."
Dr. William Daniel Sudia, 88, died Saturday at his Decatur home of lung cancer. His graveside service is 11 a.m. today at Floral Hills Memory Gardens. A.S. Turner & Sons funeral home is in charge of arrangements.
With all the traipsing Dr. Sudia did through swamps, woods and deserts, he became deeply interested in birds, as subjects for research on disease but also for their aesthetic qualities.
Over the years, he took thousands of bird photos, a selection of which can be seen at a Georgia Museum of Natural History website (naturalhistory.uga.edu /content/exhibits/birds /birdindex.html). His photos are still in demand, said a daughter, Shawn Skehan of Lilburn, for use in publications and on T-shirts, tote bags and aprons.
Before and after his retirement from the CDC in 1984, he always had some creative project going, Mrs. Skehan said. When a friend gave him a load of walnut planks in the 1950s, he took up woodworking as a lifetime pursuit, fashioning furniture -- tables, chairs, bookcases -- for his household and later for members of his family. He did the same with stained-glass lamps, Mrs. Skehan said, getting good enough with that medium to be commissioned to do a window for a North Georgia church.
Survivors also include another daughter, Shelly Spahr of Atlanta; a brother and a sister, Dr. Theodore Sudia and Dorothy Evancho, both of Pittsburgh; and a grandson.
Obit #2: Jim Sligh
After putting on more than 150 theater productions over the course of a 31-year career at Georgia State University, Jim Sligh could justifiably claim that at least all of his corner of the world was a stage.
Mr. Sligh didn't just produce and direct this large body of work by the GSU Players. He often planned the set designs and the stage lighting as well, instructing the student crews how to carry out the details. And on more than a dozen occasions he took roles in the GSU shows himself -- for
instance, playing the lead role, Elwood P. Dowd, in "Harvey."
"Jim's knowledge of theater history and productions was greater than anyone I know," said Vic Lambert, also an Atlanta theatrical director. "His directing skills were a pleasure to watch. He was one of the first directors to videotape rehearsals so that actors could see themselves as audiences would."
One former student actor, Jon Downs of Decatur, who later taught drama courses and directed student plays at Georgia Perimeter College, called Mr. Sligh a by-the-book director.
"Some directors think they haven't been creative if the script remains unchanged during rehearsals. They encourage actors to improvise with their lines. Jim was just the opposite. As a director, he stuck to what the playwright meant and allowed no ad-libbing," he said.
Mr. Sligh was just as exacting about staging, Mr. Downs said. "Jim gave precise instructions to actors on where to stand and just how much they could move. He never let them just wander around the stage."
James E. Sligh Sr., 87, of Stone Mountain died Thursday at Atlanta Medical Center of complications from an infection. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Northside United Methodist Church, Atlanta. Cremation Society of Georgia is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his memory be made to Children International, 2000 E. Red Bridge Road, P.O. Box 219055, Kansas City, MO 64121.
Mr. Sligh's interest in theater wasn't confined to the GSU campus. He regularly took in plays on Broadway and at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. His was a familiar face in theater audiences around Atlanta. "Jim saw more theater here than anyone I know," Mr. Lambert said.
Mr. Sligh often attended opening nights and made a custom of bestowing a long-stemmed red rose on his favorite cast member, said an actress friend, Denise Hillis of Atlanta.
All that theatergoing was fodder for Mr. Sligh's critiques, delivered for years on GSU student-run WRAS radio and on GCTV.
Mr. Sligh also helped out the Little Theater of Savannah, directing three productions, including "Oklahoma," in the early 1980s when the theater company didn't have a staff director.
"Jim had a pleasant directorial style -- low-key and genial -- not at all like the blustery directors you often see in movies about the theater," said a friend, Walt Kossel of Savannah.
Mr. Lambert said Mr. Sligh loved all manner of live productions, from an elementary school Christmas pageant to a Broadway spectacle. "Jim's greatest achievement might just be having instilled that passion in the numerous people he influenced during his life," he said.
Survivors include his wife, Suzanne A. Sligh; two daughters, Julie Williams of Atlanta and Jennifer Lorenz of Woodstock; a son, James E. Sligh Jr. of Tucson, Ariz.; and seven grandchildren.
Obit #3: Ken Gehle
With his camera, Ken Gehle could make the world stand still and look beautiful.
He was a professional photographer who delighted his advertiser clients with spot-on interpretations of their marketing themes. He took great satisfaction himself in his artistic renderings of scenes from nature, which he made available as prints suitable for framing on his Web site, kengehle.com.
"Ken did amazing work for us a few years ago on a project involving our do-it-yourself product line," said Michelle Farmer of Atlanta, associate product manager for Kimberly Clark. "Our goal was to convey the sense of pride of accomplishment in doing home improvements -- a feeling he was familiar with since he was a home handyman himself. Well, his photos were incredible, just what we were looking for. Ken was very talented."
Mark Gooch of Birmingham, a longtime friend and fellow photographer, said Mr. Gehle's work might seem simple to a layperson, but it was the product of exhaustive preparation and follow-up. "He'd scout a location again and again just to determine the best time to shoot and the best vantage to shoot from," he said.
Peer review and recognition are important in the photography profession, and Mr. Gehle got plenty of the latter, in the form of both local and national awards. "Ken made a presentation [titled] 'Rural Gas,' a collection of photos of country service stations, that won our profession's equivalent of an Academy Award," Mr. Gooch said.
Brian Crumb of Atlanta said he learned a lot working as an assistant to Mr. Gehle.
"He not only knew the nuts and bolts of photography -- lighting, composition and all that -- he knew the nuts and bolts of pleasing clients," he said.
"Ken had a passion for photography above and beyond the everyday business of making a living," Mr. Crumb said. "He would go off on his own, like on a camping trip, and would spend the whole time shooting pictures, not for any advertising account, but for his own satisfaction. Once Ken shot a sequence on fly fishing and enjoyed it so much he took [the sport] up himself."
Kenneth Charles Gehle, 46, of Decatur, died of cancer Monday at Emory University Hospital. A memorial service was scheduled Saturday at Decatur Presbyterian Church. A.S. Turner & Sons was in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Gehle was born and reared in New Jersey, but not the urban part. "We lived in the far northwest corner in a hilly and forested area," said his brother Keith Gehle of Suwanee, "so we kids spent hours playing in the woods. That's where Ken learned to love the outdoors."
In 1972 his family moved to Augusta, and Ken Gehle took up Scouting, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout, and often took part in camping jamborees. For college, he chose the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, one of the premier schools for photographers.
After working for several Atlanta photographers, he set up his own business in Decatur, building his own studio in his backyard.
Decatur was more than a place to work for Mr. Gehle; he took its civic life seriously.
"Ken was a stand-up guy, very civic-minded," said a neighbor, Mary Visscher. "He and I were allies on a number of causes, especially against the encroachment of developers on our residential area. He could be very articulate making our case before the City Commission."
Another cause that was important to him was keeping Decatur a pedestrian-friendly city. "Ken walked everywhere," Ms. Visscher said, "including walking his children to school for the last nine years."
He also devoted the last several summers to coaching baseball for Decatur's youth sports program.
"We coached kids from ages 7 to 10, including his son and my two boys," said a friend, Mark Treese of Decatur. "Ken stressed that the players should carry themselves like winners, win or lose. He not only taught the rules of the game; he taught sportsmanship."
Survivors include his wife, Tamara Gehle; his parents, Frederick and Jane Gehle of Augusta; a daughter, Eilis Gehle; a son, Eric Gehle; two sisters, Donna Hagan of Richmond Hill and Susan Davis of Greenville, S.C.; and two other brothers, Rick Gehle of Moultrie and John Gehle of Augusta.
Obit #4: Pam Reynolds Lowery
On a recent CD she recorded with Rob Robinson, Atlanta singer-songwriter Pam Reynolds Lowery included a couple of tunes she wrote from the standpoint of an acknowledged expert. Their titles are "Coming Back to Life" and "Side Effects of Dying."
Ms. Reynolds Lowery, you see, had a vivid near-death experience on an operating table in Arizona 19 years ago, and her story has been retold numerous times in scientific journals and television documentaries.
Her out-of-body recollection is "the single best instance we now have in the literature on near-death experiences to confound the skeptics," according to Kenneth Ring, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut and a chronicler of these episodes.
Before and after that brush with death, Ms. Reynolds Lowery was a fixture at the Atlanta recording studio of her husband, William "Butch" Lowery. She sang, she did arrangements, she played backup piano or guitar or keyboard, she gave counsel.
"Just like the maharishi was the guy the Beatles sought out for inspiration, Pam was the maharishi for people who came to Butch's studio," said Tim Wilson, a comedian from Louisville. "Spend an hour of conversation with her, and she would pump you up and set you straight. She had so many life experiences to draw on."
Pamela Reynolds Lowery, 53, died May 22 of heart failure at Emory University Hospital. Her memorial service is at 2 p.m. today at H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Hill.
In 1991, Ms. Reynolds Lowery was diagnosed with an aneurysm at the base of her brain. Informed that it was inoperable, she chose to try a novel procedure developed by Dr. Robert Spetzler, chief of neurosurgery at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. To prevent a rupture of the aneurysm during surgery, her body temperature was lowered to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and blood was drained from her brain. Her heart was stopped, and brain activity ceased. Clinically, she was dead.
Afterward, Ms. Reynolds Lowery was able to describe the procedure in minute detail -- including the little dent in the device the surgeon used to open her skull -- even though her eyes were covered with surgical pads and plugs were inserted in her ears.
In a 1999 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, she described her out-of-body episode:
"I came up out of my body. I realized it was my body, but I felt less attached to it than to some cars I've had to get rid of." At one point, she said, she felt she was looking over her surgeon's shoulder.
She said she saw and heard things more clearly and distinctly than ever before. She sensed a presence -- a light at the end of a vortex -- pulling her away. She heard -- or, more precisely, sensed -- her grandmother calling. "She passed away when I was 19," Ms. Reynolds Lowery said. "I saw behind her uncles, aunts, cousins, a good friend of mine who was murdered young, a distant cousin I didn't know had passed."
As the surgery ended, she was resuscitated, and her heart began beating. At the same time, Ms. Reynolds Lowery's conversation with her grandmother and other deceased relatives and friends drew to a close. "I wanted to go into the light," she said, "but they stopped me. They communicated that if I continued to go into the light, I would change and would not be able to get back into my body."
The experience had a profound effect on her. She told the AJC she became more idealistic and less judgmental. Once a colorful dresser, she chose more subdued clothing. A self-described liberal Christian, she said she did not pretend to know the nature of God, "but I know for a fact that God exists and permeates everything."
Mike Dyche of St. Simons Island, a fellow singer-songwriter, considered Ms. Reynolds Lowery his mentor in the music business and a close friend. "After her near-death experience," he said, "she would call me from time to time to find out if something was bothering me -- and she would be right! In her phone conversations, she could describe the rooms of my house, even though she'd never been in it."
Mr. Lowery said his wife had a highly developed sense of empathy. "She could be standing in line at a grocery store and detect people there who were troubled, some of them so much so that it could move her to tears," he said.
Survivors also include four daughters, Danielle Emanuele and Michelle Lytle, both of Braselton, Kerry Loy of Tucker and Lisa Beale of Midlothian, Va.; a son, Michael Najour of Lawrenceville; her mother and sister, Alma Warner and Lennie Reynolds, both of Clarendon, Texas; two brothers, Al Reynolds of Anniston, Ala., and Joey Reynolds of Lubbock, Texas; and six grandchildren
Obit #5: Susan Rule
Susan Rule spent most of her adult life building an insurance business, but in the latter 1990s it started going sour.
Insurance companies began reducing her commissions for the health care policies she sold to small businesses. To compound her problems, the insurance firms also denied many claims of her policyholders, who turned angrily to her to rectify the situation.
"Susan reached the point where she was working twice as long and hard for one-third of the compensation that she used to get," said her husband, Randall Rule of Marietta. "I told her we were well off enough that she could quit the insurance game and find a neat hobby to occupy her time."
What she enjoyed more than anything was making people laugh. All her life, her husband said, she told jokes or otherwise brandished her quick wit, whether in one-on-one conversation or speaking to a crowd.
So it was that Mrs. Rule transformed herself into a stand-up comedian. It wasn't just a hobby; it was her new vocation.
Starting in 2001, she took instruction in comedy for two years at Jeff Justice's workshop in Buckhead. "I think Susan holds the record for taking courses with me," he said.
"Susan was a very funny lady," Mr. Justice said. "What she did best was develop hilarious voices and characters. Her humor sprang from her own experiences or funny things she observed."
Jamie Bendall, co-owner of the Punchline comedy club in Sandy Springs where Mrs. Rule performed numerous times, said he liked her act because it was smart. "Susan's material never descended to the lowest common denominator."
She reminded him, he said, of a little pixie, a witty Tinkerbell.
Stand-up comic Manny Oliveira, with whom Mrs. Rule later studied, called her humor offbeat, upbeat and very quirky. "Her routines appeared to be effortless, but she worked very hard as a comedy writer to make them perfect. As for content, she wasn't afraid to talk about herself in front of an audience in a very personal way."
He said he liked her routines so much he had her appear as his opening act at the Jokers Wild club in the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, the Twin Rivers casino in Lincoln, R.I., and comedy clubs in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Florida.
"Susan could have had a long career in comedy if she had wanted," Mr. Oliveira said.
Susan Ilene Rule, 53, of Marietta died Tuesday at Altus House, Atlanta, of ovarian cancer. A memorial service will be at 5 p.m. today at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4680 Hadaway Road N.W., Kennesaw. SouthCare Cremation Society and Memorial Centers, Marietta, is in charge of arrangements.
Born in Oregon, Mrs. Rule moved around often as a child since her father was first a Peace Corps dentist, then later a U.S. Foreign Service officer with postings in Latin America and Europe. In the process, she became proficient at an early age in Spanish, Portuguese, German and French.
She retained her facility for languages in adulthood. Making friends with a couple from Iran in her east Cobb neighborhood, she frequently communicated with them in Farsi. "She must have learned 250 to 300 words in that language," her husband said.
Survivors also include a daughter, Ashley Rule of Marietta; her father, Stephen Dachi of Arlington, Va.; her mother, Nancy Conser of Boring, Ore.; a sister, Sally Valdez of Marietta; and a brother, Chris Dachi of Arlington.