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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 17, 2017

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Bill Dana, TV comedy writer and comedian who played José JimenezDave Armstrong, former Kentucky attorney general and last mayor of old LouisvilleJohn Avildsen, Oscar-winning director of 'Rocky'Manny Azpurua, racehorse trainerGloria Fajardo, mother of singer Gloria EstefanGary Friedman, LA Times photojournalistDavid Fromkin, historian who wrote of Middle East conflictStephen Furst, actor from 'Animal House'Philip Gossett, musicologist who restored original opera scoresNigel Grainge, founder of Ensign RecordsLarry Grantham, NY Jets outside linebackerA. R. Gurney, Pulitzer-nominated playwrightCurt Hanson, Iowa state legislatorErnestina Herrera de Noble, Argentine media mogulLady Patricia Knatchbull, daughter of Britain's Lord Louis MountbattenHelmut Kohl, German chancellor who united his divided country after WWIIDon Matthews, Canadian Football League coachTom Morgan, maker of flawless fly fishing rodsAnita Pallenberg, Rolling Stones museSanjay Pandit, Nepalese mountain climberTom Power, co-owner of Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, Va.Venus Ramey, Miss America 1944Rosalie Sorrels, folk singer and storytellerEdward Switalski, Michigan fire chiefCharles P. Thacker, electrical engineer and computer pioneerFrank Thibault, teacher and board game designerHein Verbruggen, pro cycling executiveOlbram Zoubrek, Czech sculptor

Art and Literature

A. R. Gurney (86) Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright whose work offered a window into the inner lives of the upper-crust white Anglo-Saxon Protestants he grew up with. Among Gurney’s better-known works are The Dining Room, for which he was named a Pulitzer finalist for drama in 1985; Love Letters, which earned a Pulitzer finalist nod in ’90; and The Cocktail Hour. Gurney was a prolific writer, producing almost 50 plays during his career, along with several musicals and three novels. He died in New York City on June 13, 2017.

Olbram Zoubek (91) Czech sculptor, an artist known for taking a death mask of a Charles University (Prague) student who burned himself to death to protest the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Jan Palach set himself ablaze in Prague on January 16, 1969, five months after the Warsaw Pact countries crushed the liberal reforms known as the Prague Spring; he died three days later. Zoubek also made a gravestone for Palach, which was removed by the hard-line Communist regime. Zoubek was also persecuted by the authorities. His memorial plaque for Palach was unveiled in Prague after the 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution. Zoubek's most visible work is his Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Prague, Czech Republic, where he died on June 15, 2017.


Business and Science

Ernestina Herrera de Noble (92) longtime publisher of Argentina’s Clarin newspaper who helped to build one of Latin America’s largest media conglomerates. Herrera de Noble led Argentina’s widest-circulation newspaper for nearly 50 years. She took over Clarin after her husband died in 1969. Under her leadership, the Grupo Clarin bought dozens of cable systems, radio stations, and TV channels besides its flagship daily paper. Clarin and former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez became bitter opponents during her 2007–15 administration. The newspaper criticized her 2008 decision to raise farm export taxes, which sparked a revolt by farmers. Fernandez canceled the tax hike after months of crippling food and transport strikes. Her government then launched an assault on the Grupo Clarin, passing a new media law to try to force big media companies to break apart. Herrera de Noble died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on June 14, 2017.

Tom Morgan (76) past owner of the R. L. Winston Rod Co. whose quest to build flawless fly fishing rods continued long after he was paralyzed by multiple sclerosis. Matt Barber bought Morgan’s company, Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, earlier this year with Joel Doub. For the past five months, Barber and Doub were Morgan’s apprentices at his home workshop west of Bozeman, Mont. to learn how to craft perfect bamboo, graphite, and fiberglass rods. Morgan’s philosophy was to make the best fly rod possible, regardless of cost—every detail, fit, and finish had to be perfect. A bamboo rod sells for just under $4,000, while graphite and fiberglass rods can cost up to $1,500. Morgan died of pneumonia in Bozeman, Montana on June 12, 2017.

Tom Power (81) owner, with his wife, of the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, Virginia. Tom and Mary Ellen Power opened their first cheese shop in Newport News, Va. in 1971. A second shop in Williamsburg followed. In 2003 they relocated the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg and added a wine cellar. They also opened a restaurant, Fat Canary. Tom Power died on vacation while swimming off a beach in Bermuda on June 13, 2017.

Charles P. Thacker (74) electrical engineer who played an early, central role in some of the most important ideas in personal computing and computer networking. In the ‘70s Thacker was part of a group that designed the first modern personal computer, the Alto, working out of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, known as PARC. The Alto, completed in 1973, became part of personal computing lore, in part because of a visit Steven P. Jobs, cofounder of Apple, made to PARC for a demonstration of the computer. The visit became famous for what Jobs took away with him. Thacker and his colleagues who designed the Alto—Butler Lampson, Alan Kay, and Robert Taylor—had built into the Alto what is known as a graphical user interface, the technology that Apple and Microsoft borrowed from in creating their Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Thacker died of esophageal cancer in Palo Alto, California on June 12, 2017.


Education

David Fromkin (84) historian whose book on the Middle East warned the West against nation-building by partitioning antagonistic religious groups behind arbitrary boundaries. A lawyer and investor, Fromkin became a published author only in his 40s and a professor at Boston University in his 60s. His book on the Middle East, A Peace to End All Peace (1989), traced the roots of conflict in the region to the creation of unsustainable nations there through artificial mapmaking by European diplomats in the early ‘20s after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Fromkin concluded that those cartographers had underestimated the population’s faith in Islam as the foundation of everyday life, politics, and government and that they had failed to account for the Middle East’s lingering resentment of Western imperialism. He died of heart failure in New York City on June 11, 2017.

Frank Thibault (92) father of Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault and grandfather of assistant coach Eric Thibault. The eldest Thibault was a high school English teacher who designed board games as a hobby. His best-selling game is called Topple, which he designed in 1983. It’s still sold in stores and online and was recently reissued by the Pressman Toy company as Topple Chrome. In 2016 Thibault released In Kahoots, a word game sold exclusively on Amazon. He died in Saratoga, California on June 16, 2017.


News and Entertainment

John Avildsen (81) director of Rocky and The Karate Kid—two dark-horse, underdog favorites that became Hollywood franchises. Rocky (1976) was a huge success; it won Oscars for best picture, director (Avildsen), and editing and was nominated for seven others. Written by star Sylvester Stallone, then an unknown, the film was shot on a tight budget, less than $1 million, and it was completed in 28 days. Avildsen died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California on June 16, 2017.

Bill Dana (92) comedy writer and performer who won stardom in the ‘50s and ‘60s with his character José Jimenez. Early in his career, Dana wrote jokes for Don Adams and Steve Allen, on whose show he was head writer and a member of the performing troupe. A Massachusetts native of Hungarian-Jewish descent, Dana first appeared as Mexican immigrant Jimenez in a 1959 edition of The Steve Allen Show for one of the show’s “Man on the Street” interviews conducted by fellow cast member Pat Harrington Jr. Introducing himself in broken English, “José Jimenez” cracked up the studio audience and convinced Dana that he had a hit on his hands. On Garry Moore’s variety program, Dana appeared as José the Astronaut when the Space Race was heating up. Interviewed for his planned mission, José was asked what he planned to do while in space and replied, “I plan to cry a lot.” Dana died in Nashville, Tennessee on June 15, 2017.

Gloria Fajardo (88) mother of Grammy Award-winning singer Gloria Estefan. Fajardo was a Cuban teacher who fled with her husband to the US in 1959 and settled in Miami when Fidel Castro rose to power and Estefan was only a toddler. Fajardo received a standing ovation at one of her last public appearances, the February debut concert of Gloria Estefan’s daughter. Fajardo had been hospitalized for more than a month. She died in Miami, Florida on June 13, 2017.

Gary Friedman (62) longtime photojournalist who over the decades covered presidential elections, Olympic games, and the devastation of the 9/11 terror attacks for the Los Angeles Times. Friedman had an expansive career, covering landmark moments such as the breakup of the Soviet Union. One photo he captured of the space shuttle Endeavour’s return to southern California in 2012 forced him to explain how he did it: The shuttle, riding atop a 747, circled the LA skyline on its return and—for a second or two—glided above the Hollywood sign. It was a classic LA moment. Friedman died of prostate cancer in Los Angeles, California on June 14, 2017.

Stephen Furst (63) actor who played naïve fraternity pledge Flounder in the hit movie Animal House. The 1978 film also starred John Belushi, whose character, Blutarsky, drew Flounder into a prank that went terribly wrong and ended up with the frantic Flounder shooting a gun loaded with blanks into a ceiling, frightening a horse so much that it died of a heart attack. Furst's credits included the ‘80s medical drama St. Elsewhere, on which he played Dr. Elliot Axelrod. He died of complications from diabetes in Moorpark, California on June 16, 2017.

Philip Gossett (75) musicologist whose research helped to bring long-lost operas back to the stage. Gossett made it his life’s work to recover scores that had disappeared or become messy—marred by years of bad copies, mistakes, revisions for different singers and productions, later insertions and lost passages—and return them to something close to what their composers had intended. He was a pioneer in the creation of scholarly critical editions of opera scores and was general editor of new editions of the works of Verdi and Rossini. A professor at the University of Chicago, Gossett became a familiar figure in rehearsal rooms around the world, sought after by top conductors, singers, and opera companies working to bring his discoveries to life. He died of progressive supranuclear palsy in Chicago, Illinois on June 13, 2017.

Nigel Grainge (70) British-born recording executive who founded Ensign Records, home to some of the most adventuresome musical acts in the late ‘70s and ’80s, including Sinead O'Connor, the Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy, the Waterboys, 10cc, and the Steve Miller Band. Grainge died of complications from surgery, in Santa Monica, California on June 11, 2017.

Anita Pallenberg (75) German-Italian model and actress who had three children with British guitarist Keith Richards and was a muse for the Rolling Stones. Pallenberg was the inspiration for the Stones’s “Miss Amanda Jones” and “You Got the Silver.” She appeared in films like Barbarella, Candy, Le Berceau de Cristal, and Performance, which included Mick Jagger. She first dated the late Brian Jones of the Stones. She said in an interview with The Guardian in 2008 that she didn’t want to write her autobiography because publishers wanted dirt and drama about the Stones. She died in Chichester, England on June 13, 2017.

Venus Ramey (92) first red-haired Miss America. Born in Ashland, Ky., Ramey was crowned Miss America in 1944 when she represented Washington, DC, where she had moved from Kentucky to work during World War II. She returned to Kentucky in 1990. In 2007 at age 82, Ramey shot out the truck tires of trespassers on her Waynesburg, Ky. farm, earning her a guest appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She died in Kentucky on June 17, 2017.

Rosalie Sorrels (83) singer and storyteller who drew on her own life in songs of struggle and heartache that inspired a generation of rising folk musicians in the ‘80s. Sorrels first came to widespread attention at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, where she performed traditional songs from Idaho, her native state, and Utah, where she lived with her family. She soon began writing her own material, about life on the road, her marital difficulties, and the challenges of raising children, then broadened her scope to include social issues like prison reform, suicide prevention, and women’s rights. Suffering from dementia and colon cancer, Sorrels died in Reno, Nevada on June 11, 2017.


Politics and Military

Dave Armstrong (75) former Kentucky attorney general whose long public career included helping to guide the state's largest city and its most populous county toward a merged government. A Democrat, Armstrong was a fixture in Louisville politics for years, first as a two-term Jefferson County judge-executive, then during a term as Louisville's mayor. He was the last mayor of the old city of Louisville, in a term that ran through 2002. He held the job during a time of transition, playing a high-profile role in supporting the ballot measure that resulted in the consolidation of Louisville and Jefferson County governments in 2003. He also was remembered for promoting economic development projects, especially downtown. In recent years Armstrong had battled myasthenia gravis, a physically debilitating disease. He died in Louisville, Kentucky on June 15, 2017.

Curt Hanson (73) Iowa state representative. A Democrat, Hanson was serving his fifth term in the Iowa House. He represented District 82, which includes Davis, Jefferson, and Van Buren counties. He was a retired driver's education teacher at Fairfield (Iowa) High School and was named Fairfield Teacher of the Year in 1994. He died in Fairfield, Iowa on June 16, 2017.

Helmut Kohl (87) former German chancellor whose reunification of a nation divided by the Cold War put Germany at the heart of a united Europe. During his 16 years at the country's helm from 1982–98—first for West Germany, then for all of a united Germany—Kohl combined a dogged pursuit of European unity with a keen instinct for history. Less than a year after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, he spearheaded the end of Germany's decades-long division into East and West, ushering in a new era in European politics. It was the close friendships that Kohl built up with other world leaders that helped him to persuade both anti-Communist Western allies and the leaders of the collapsing Soviet Union that a strong, united Germany could live at peace with its neighbors. He died in Ludwigshafen, Germany on June 16, 2017.

Edward Switalski (55) Michigan fire chief who worked for more than 30 years at Pleasantview Fire District in suburban Chicago before becoming Comstock Township chief in 2013. Switalski died after being struck by a vehicle as he responded to another crash on Interstate 94 in Comstock Township, 135 miles west of Detroit, Michigan, on June 13, 2017.


Society and Religion

Lady Patricia Knatchbull (93) grande dame of Britain‘s titled elite whose life embraced a fabled childhood between two world wars and deep personal tragedy after her father, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Britain’s onetime First Sea Lord and its last imperial viceroy in India, and her teenage son were killed in a bomb attack at sea in 1979. With close ties to Britain’s royal family, Knatchbull—also known as Lady Patricia—belonged to what an official biography called “a dynasty of royal, political, and wealthy relations.” She died in Mersham, Kent, England on June 13, 2017.


Sports

Manny Azpurua (88) thoroughbred trainer who gained national attention while racing Social Inclusion in the 2014 Preakness Stakes. Azpurua had been a fixture on the south Florida racing scene since 1980. He saddled several graded-stakes winners, including Weigelia and Nightmare Affair, who finished third in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Azpurua attracted national attention while racing Social Inclusion in 2014. The colt began his career with two straight wins, including a 10-length victory while breaking the Gulfstream track record for 1-1/16 miles with a 1:40.97 clocking. Social Inclusion finished third in the Wood Memorial, third behind winner California Chrome in the Preakness, and third in the Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Azpurua died in Hallandale Beach, Florida on June 13, 2017.

Larry Grantham (78) former New York Jets outside linebacker, a starter and defensive standout on the 1969 Super Bowl team. Grantham was an original member of the New York Titans franchise, which became the Jets in 1963 after three seasons. He was a five-time American Football League All-Star during his 13 years with the team and was inducted into the Jets's Ring of Honor in 2011. Grantham had three tackles and two passes defensed in the Jets’s 16-7 Super Bowl victory over the Baltimore Colts in 1969. His last season with the Jets was in 1972, but he returned to the field in ‘74 to finish his playing career with the Florida Blazers of the World Football League. He died in Jackson, Mississippi on June 17, 2017.

Don Matthews (77) Canadian Football Hall of Fame member, one of the CFL’s most successful coaches. A larger-than-life character with a sharp wit who thrived in the spotlight, Massachusetts-born Matthews kept people around him on edge with his abrasive, no-nonsense style. It worked: he had 231 wins and five Grey Cup victories on his resumé. But he was also a controversial figure who had a high-risk, high-reward philosophy. Players loved suiting up for him because of his reputation for creating a winning atmosphere and protecting his athletes. He had announced in 2012 that he was battling cancer but died of pneumonia in Beaverton, Oregon on June 14, 2017.

Sanjay Pandit (28) climber who died on Denali, North America's highest mountain. Pandit, from Nepal, was descending the mountain with two teammates when he died of an unknown medical illness. He was on Denali's West Buttress route. Kathmandu, Denali's summit, is at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters). The National Park Service received a request for help at about 1 a.m. on June 16 from a party at the 17,500-foot (5,334-meter) level. Two park service mountaineering volunteers reached the party and found the stricken climber unresponsive. Despite emergency interventions, the climber did not regain consciousness and was pronounced dead. Pandit's body will be recovered when cloudy and windy weather conditions improve. He died on June 16, 2017.

Hein Verbruggen (75) brought the sport of cycling to new audiences and new countries as president of the International Cycling Union in the ‘90s but was accused of failing to confront the pervasive use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. A former food executive in the Netherlands, Verbruggen dreamed of turning cycling into a world sport, like soccer or Formula 1 auto racing, and enhancing its presence in the Olympic Games, which did not allow professional cyclists to compete. He immediately merged the sport’s two other associations, the International Professional Cycling Federation and the International Amateur Cycling Federation, with the ICU, a move that smoothed the way for professionals to compete in the Olympics in 1996. Verbruggen had recently been treated for leukemia. He died one week before his 76th birthday, on June 14, 2017.


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