Niles Gordon Brewster, 67, was a UW theater arts graduate who became a versatile actor, dancer, and director in Seattle's budding '60s and '70s theater scene. He had a bit part in the 1973 filmed-in-Seattle movie Cinderella Liberty. In one of his day jobs, he appeared as the regional Ronald McDonald, wearing the famous yellow clown suit at the fast-food chain's outlets throughout the Northwest and Alaska. He'd sometimes still be in the clown suit when he showed up for evening rehearsals of classical plays he was in. He moved to L.A. in 1977 and found many small roles in films, commercials, and TV shows, including an occasional recurring role as an opposition attorney on L.A. Law. (In his final TV role, he played a guest lawyer on a 1997 episode of Ally McBeal.) Relatives and friends describe him as having a zest for life and a jovial sense of humor. (Once, after the first George Bush left the White House, Brewster showed up at an L.A. freeway onramp bearing a sign that read, "Former Bush aide will work for food or money.") Brewster died from natural causes on July 3 at his home in Santa Monica, California.

James Edward Peck, 94, was a prolific watercolor painter, graphic designer, and ceramic artist, with works in many museums and private collections across the country. He was better known for teaching and influencing other artists. He headed the fine arts department at Cornish College for several years, and taught at the Burnley School of Art (a predecessor of the Art Institute of Seattle). He also served as a graphic designer at Boeing, and belonged to the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters. Peck died on September 15 after years of decline, which included muscular degeneration that hindered his artistic work.

Merle B. McKaig, 87, was a violinist, a music teacher, and (for 32 years) an acoustical engineer at Boeing. In 1953 he cofounded McKaig Electronics, a local company that patented the first "instant replay" audio tape recorder (a boon to stenographers, legal transcribers, and conceptual artists everywhere). As a musician, he performed with the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Philharmonic, Seattle Pacific University's Thalia Symphony, Philharmonia Northwest, and several other groups. He taught with the Bellevue Youth Symphony and the Olympic Music Camp, working with individual students as well. Along the way he also managed to study advanced mathematics and write a book about Boolean algebra. Relatives report that he played his violin on his last day on Earth, August 7.

The Renton Highlands branch of Dixon's Used Furniture closed up shop on September 21, leaving scads of queen-sized mattress sets and loveseats for patrons of its Capitol Hill store at 12th and Pine.