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Thurber, James (1894-1961)

"God bless . . .God damn."

James Thurber was a U.S. cartoonist and author who often contributed to The New Yorker magazine.  In 1961, he was operated on following a blood clot on the brain.  After making a partial recovery, he contracted pneumonia and died.

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Tolstoy, Leo (Nikolaevich), Count (1828-1910)

"Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six."

Leo Tolstoy was a Russian writer who had served as an officer in the Crimean War.  He lived a life based upon pacifism and asceticism and rejected the teachings of the Orthodox Church.  Even as he died, Tolstoy rejected friends who attempted to convince him to reconcile with the church.

Tolstoy's last words are also often recounted as "But the peasants, how do they die?"

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Trotsky, Leon (1879-1940)

"I feel this time they have succeeded.  I do not want them to undress me.  I want you to undress me."

Stalin seized control of the Soviet Union after Lenin died in 1924 and began a relentless effort to purge all possible rivals.  Leon Trotsky, who had been Lenin's principal assistant, was Stalin's biggest threat.  Fearing for his life, Trotsky left Russia in 1929, but was unable to convince any country to let him settle in exile.  Eventually, Mexico agreed.  During his absence, Trotsky was convicted of two accounts of treason by the Soviet courts and sentenced to death.  As a result, Trotsky took great pains to secure his Mexican home.  After a machine gun attack by the secret police in 1940, he built additional defensive pillboxes, constructed a fifteen foot high wall surrounding his house, and increased his staff of bodyguards.  Later that summer, he became friends with a friend of a former employee, Frank Jackson.  Unfortunately for Trotsky, Jackson was actually Ramon Mercader, a Spanish communist who had been sent by Stalin.  One day, while Trotsky was meeting with Jackson in his home office, Jackson struck him in the back of the head with a mountaineer's ice ax.  Trotsky ran screaming from the room and collapsed saying "I feel . . ."  He was taken to the hospital where he spoke his final words to his wife while being prepared for surgery.

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Tucker, Karla Fay (1960-1998)

"I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. . . .  I will see you all when you get there.  I will wait for you."

In 1983, Karla Fay Tucker was found guilty and sentenced to die for the murder of Jerry Dean and Deborah Thorton.  Tucker, a prostitute and drug addict, used a pickax to viciously hack both of them to death while they slept, leaving the three-foot long tool embedded in Thorton's chest.  In her confession, Tucker graphically recounted how she had experienced sexual orgasms with each of the blows.  While in prison awaiting decisions on her numerous appeals, Tucker became a darling of American Christian fundamentalists--led by Pat Robertson--after she married a prison missionary, shed a few crocodile tears, and claimed to have accepted Jesus as her savior.  Despite a massive public relations campaign by a bizarre alliance of Amnesty International and the religious right to have her sentence commuted to life imprisonment, the State of Texas finally executed Tucker in 1998 for her heinous crime.

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U.S. Presidents

George Washington "Tis well."

John Adams "Thomas Jefferson still surv . . . ."

James Madison "Nothing more than a change of mind, my dear."

James Monroe ?

John Q. Adams "I am composed." or "I am content."

Andrew Jackson "Oh, do not cry.  Be good children, and we shall all meet in Heaven." 

Martin Van Buren ?

William H. Harrison "I wish you to understand the true principles of government.  I wish them carried out.  I ask nothing more."

John Tyler "Doctor, I am going. . . .  Perhaps it is best."

James Polk ?

Zachary Taylor 'I am about to die.  I expect the summons very soon.  I have tried to discharge my duties faithfully.  I regret nothing, but I am sorry I am about to leave my friends."

Millard Fillmore ?

Franklin Pierce ?

James Buchanan "Whatever the result may be, I shall carry to my grave the consciousness that at least I meant well for my country." 

Abraham Lincoln (Laughter)

Andrew Johnson ?

U.S. Grant "Water"

Rutherford Hayes "I know that I am going where Lucy is."

James Garfield "Swain, can't you stop this (pain)?  Swain!"

Chester Arthur ?

Grover Cleveland "I have tried so hard to do right."

Benjamin Harrison ?

William McKinley "It's God's way.  His will, not ours, be done."

Teddy Roosevelt ""Please put out the light."

William Taft ?

Warren Harding "That's good. . . . Read some more."

Calvin Coolidge ?

Herbert Hoover ?

Franklin Roosevelt "I have a terrific headache."

Harry Truman ?

Dwight Eisenhower "I've always loved my children.  I've always loved my wife.  I've always loved my grandchildren.  I've always loved my country."

John Kennedy "That's very obvious."

Lyndon Johnson ?

Richard Nixon ?

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Vanderbilt, William H. (1821-1885)

"I have had no real gratification or enjoyment of any sort more than my neighbor on the next block who is worth only half a million."

William Vanderbilt was the son of the famous railroad tycoon, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt.  At the time of his death in 1885, Vanderbilt's fortune was about $200,000,000

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Vega Carpio, Lope Felix de (1562-1635)

"All right, then, I'll say it, Dante makes me sick."

Vega Carpio was a prolific Spanish playwright who wrote more than 1800 plays.

Vespasian, Titus Flavius Sabinus, Emperor (9-79)

"Woe is me, I think I am becoming a god."

Vespasian was a Roman emperor who rose from humble origins as a result of his military accomplishments.  He was pronounced Emperor to resolve potential conflict following the death of Nero, and he worked hard to improve the life of the common Roman citizen.

Villa,  Francisco "Pancho" (Doroteo Arango) (1878-1923)

"Don't let it end like this.  Tell them I said something."

Pancho Villa was a Mexican bandit, revolutionary, and folk hero.  He conducted a guerilla war against the national government for many years until he was granted amnesty and a hacienda in return for laying down his arms.  He retired in Chihuahua, Mexico, but was assassinated by supporters of his long-time enemy, General Alvaro Obregon.  Villa made his last request to newspaper reporters as he lay dying.

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