Appreciation: some of those Estonia lost in 2014 ({{commentsTotal}})


In 2014, Estonia lost many notable public figures, particularly in the fields of culture and entertainment.

Jaak Joala, who had been out of the public eye in recent years but whose name, it was said, was known to one-sixth of the world's population due to his success across the Soviet Union, died at age 64.

Versatile entertainer Tarmo Leinatamm - conductor, comedian, as well as politician - died this year at 57 after a battle with cancer.

Both Joala and Leinatamm were closely identified as a member of a trio. Joala often sang with two other Estonian pop stars, Ivo Linna and Tõnis Mägi, as the "three tenors" of Estonia, while Leinatamm was one-third of the comedy troupe Kreisiraadio.

Writer, philosopher and nuclear physicist Madis Kõiv, 83, passed as well. He was one of the country's most important 1950s and 1960s playwrights, and also penned novels, treatises and memoirs.

Conductor and pianist Peeter Saul, 82.

Among people in the Estonian Public Broadcasting system not as well known to foreign audiences, host Eve Viilup, 61, Estonian Radio's masterful audio technician Maido Maadik, 54, and an ETV anchor from the 1960s up to the 1990s, Rein Karemäe, 79, all passed in 2014.

In the emigre community, Heldur Tõnisson, a longtime owner of Postimees and son of first independence era statesman Jaan Tõnisson, died in Switzerland at the age of 102. Pianist and writer Käbi Laretei, herself the daughter of an interwar-era diplomat, died in Sweden at 92. And Peeter Ristsoo, a public servant and showman - a genial fixture among the emigres who returned to re-independent Estonia - died.

In the political sphere, the multifaceted and erudite Hardo Aasmäe, an early 1990s Tallinn mayor, died at 63 in an accident in the year's closing week at the encyclopedia office he directed.

Veteran politician Aino Runge, a financial specialist who served a term in Parliament and was a Center Party founding member, died at 89.

Russian-speaking Estonian independence movement activist Valeri Kalabugin, 66, was another noted loss in 2014.

Hille Tänavsuu, journalist and editor, died at 62 after a long battle with cancer, which was publicized through a foundation set up by her son Toivo, also a journalist.

Harald Nugiseks, an Estonian patriot who fought on the losing foreign side in World War II and the last of four Estonians to win Germany's Iron Cross, died early in the year at the age of 93.

The military community also bid farewell to Lt. Col. Meelis "Vanakaru" Säre, 53, known for his work in reinstating the home guard in Tartu, and as a blacksmith and experimental archeologist.


Editor: S. Tambur

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