Fred Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Roughly 40,000 Marylanders per year go to Bliss Eternal. And of those, roughly 39,998 want an obituary in The Baltimore Sun. The current Sun newsprint budget, however, allows for only 14 a week. You do the math. The task of deciding who gets in falls upon Fred Rasmussen, The Sun's preeminent obit writer. He's been bringing the dead to life for 20 of his 40 years at the paper. From the beginning, he shunned The Sun's practice of featuring only doctors, lawyers, and bankers. Now, the carpenter from White Avenue gets the same treatment as the society swell from Roland Avenue. He has provided last hurrahs for hotel-desk clerks, bartenders, truck drivers, and doormen-and always with grace, dignity, and wit. Baltimore is lucky to have Fred Rasmussen. He knows where the bodies are buried.

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