Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
LIL-logo
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hold pointer over photo for person's name. Click on photo to go to brief obit.
Click on name to return to picture.
LIL-logo

 
Harry Dean Stanton, legendary character actorXavier ('X') Atencio, Disney animator and 'imagineer,' with Walt DisneyPenny Chenery, owner of Secretariat, 1973 Triple Crown winnerPete V. Domenici, former US senator from New MexicoJ. P. Donleavy, author of 'The Ginger Man'Nancy Hatch Dupree, US historian of AfghanistanMitchell Flint, US WWII fighter pilot who helped to form Israeli Air ForceHeiner Geissler, German politicianPeter Hall, British theater directorGrant Hart, drummer and vocalist for Husker Du, indie rock bandAlex Hawkins, NFL running backTommy Irvin, Georgia agriculture commissionerCharles F. Knight, longtime CEO of EmersonBrenda Lewis, operatic soprano, as Rosalinde in 'Die Fledermaus' (left)Gwen Norville, North Carolina corrections officialTony Oglesby, Miles College assistant head football coachDon Ohlmeyer, former producer of 'Monday Night Football'Albert Speer Jr., son of Hitler's architectYefim Stolyarsky, Russian WWII veteranFrank Vincent, character actor who played tough guysDr. Gary Wadler, authority on use of performance-enhancing substancesLen Wein, creator of comic-book characters Wolverine and Swamp ThingEdith Windsor, pioneer in US legalization of same-sex marriage

Art and Literature

Xavier ('X') Atencio (98) animator behind early Disney movies including Pinocchio and Fantasia and “imagineer” behind Disneyland rides like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Haunted Mansion.” Atencio’s drawings for Pinocchio helped to give Disney its permanent identity in film and culture. His contributions to “Pirates” included the words to the “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” song that is sung throughout the ride. He was still a teenager with a gift for drawing in 1938 when he began working for Disney, a company even younger than he was that had just one feature film—Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (1937)—to its name. He retired in 1984 but continued working as a consultant. In 1996 he was declared a Disney Legend by the company. Atencio's death in Los Angeles, California came just weeks after that of another Disney Imagineering legend, Marty Sklar, on September 10, 2017.

J. P. Donleavy (91) expatriate American author whose 1955 novel The Ginger Man shook up the literary world with its combination of sexual frankness and outrageous humor. Donleavy later wrote many other successful novels. The Ginger Man— whose bohemian American-in-Ireland antihero, Sebastian Dangerfield, has been described as impulsive, destructive, wayward, cruel, a monster, a clown, and a psychopath—was both banned and burned in Ireland. When it was published in the US in 1958, Chapter 10 was omitted, along with numerous sentences here and there. The novel eventually won critical acclaim and public acceptance, so much so that it is now considered a contemporary classic, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide. Donleavy was compared to James Joyce and hailed as a forerunner of both the black humor movement and the London playwrights known as the Angry Young Men. He died of a stroke in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland on September 11, 2017.

Albert Speer Jr. (83) son of Adolf Hitler's chief architect who had his own accomplished architectural career but struggled to distance himself from his father's legacy. The younger Speer was 12 when his father was convicted in Nuremberg of war crimes and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Professionally, Speer Jr. concentrated on designing environmentally sound and energy-efficient buildings. The architecture firm he founded, Albert Speer Partner GmbH, was selected to design the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Speer died in Frankfurt, Germany on September 16, 2017.

Len Wein (69) comic-book writer who collaborated on bringing to life two of the art form’s best-known characters, Wolverine and Swamp Thing. In a career spanning almost 50 years, Wein wrote for Batman, The Flash, Superman, The Justice League of America, and numerous other comics series. He was also a comic-book editor, perhaps most notably on DC’s pivotal Watchmen series in the ‘80s. He had writing credits on numerous TV shows, many of them based on characters he had helped to create. Wein died of heart problems in Los Angeles, California on September 10, 2017.


Business and Science

Charles F. Knight (81) led a period of tremendous growth as chief executive of the technology and engineering company Emerson for nearly 30 years. Knight was just 37 when he joined Emerson as CEO in 1973. He retired from that post in 2000 but remained as board chairman until ’04. During his tenure as CEO, Emerson's annual revenue grew from $1 billion to $15 billion, the product line diversified, and international operations grew. The company is ranked 139th among the Fortune 500, with 74,000 employees worldwide. Knight died of Alzheimer’s disease in St. Louis, Missouri on September 12, 2017.

Dr. Gary Wadler (78) authority on the use of performance-enhancing substances and their effects on athletes. Wadler was among the doctors, scientists, and regulators who emerged in the ‘80s and ’90s as sports organizations struggled to keep pace with illicit drug use by athletes. His explanations about steroids and human-growth hormones made him a frequent voice in the news media, at medical conferences, before congressional panels, and at trials as an expert witness. He was equally concerned with medical issues and ethics and how the two intertwined in sports. In 1999 he told the Senate Commerce Committee that performance-enhancing drugs could undermine the Olympic movement. Wadler died of multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder, in Port Washington, New York on September 12, 2017.


Education

Nancy Hatch Dupree (90) American historian who spent decades in Afghanistan working to preserve the heritage of the war-torn country. Dupree first went to Afghanistan in 1962 and spent much of her life collecting and documenting historical artifacts there. She amassed a vast collection of books, maps, photographs, and even rare recordings of folk music, all now housed at a center she founded at Kabul University. She also wrote five guidebooks. Dupree lamented the fact that young people in Afghanistan, many of whom had grown up as refugees in neighboring countries, knew little if anything about their own history. She died in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 10, 2017.


Law

Gwen Norville (55) deputy secretary in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Norville was named deputy secretary last May for the Division of Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice. She had oversight of prisons, the Office of Staff Development & Training, combined records, women's services, and correction enterprises. Norville had more than 30 years of experience in corrections. She died of cardiac arrest in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 11, 2017.

Edith Windsor (88) widow who brought a US Supreme Court case that struck down parts of a federal law that banned same-sex marriage and led to federal recognition for gay spouses. After the death of her first wife in 2009, Windsor sued the federal government, saying its definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman prevented her from getting a marital deduction when she inherited her spouse's estate. The case led to a Supreme Court decision in her favor and the eventual legalization of same-sex marriage. Windsor had struggled with heart issues for years. In 2009 she had an attack of stress cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome. She died in New York City on September 12, 2017.


News and Entertainment

Peter Hall (86) British theater director and impresario who founded the Royal Shakespeare Co. and helped to build Britain’s National Theatre into a producing powerhouse. Hall was one of the most influential figures in British theater since World War II. In 1955, when he was 25, he directed the first English-language production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, an avant-garde drama more experienced directors had shunned. It wasn’t an immediate success but it brought Hall to wide notice, and the play soon came to be seen as transformational, paving the way for Harold Pinter, Joe Orton, and other rebellious playwrights. One of Hall's four wives (1956–65) was actress Leslie Caron. He suffered from dementia but died of pneumonia in London, England on September 11, 2017.

Grant Hart (56) drummer and vocalist for pioneering indie rock band Husker Du. Hart formed Husker Du with bassist Greg Norton and guitarist Bob Mould, with whom he shared singing duties, in St. Paul in 1978. The band began as a punk outfit before moving into alternative rock. The trio broke up in 1987, and Hart launched his solo career. He died of cancer in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 13, 2017.

Brenda Lewis (96) American soprano whose mastery of a vast range of vocal styles carried her to the world’s foremost opera houses and the Broadway stage. Lewis, who sang for 10 years with the Metropolitan Opera and for 20 years with the New York City Opera, was known for interpreting the music of living American composers. She originated two signal roles in contemporary opera: the alcoholic Birdie Hubbard in Regina, Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s drama The Little Foxes, and the title role in Lizzie Borden, by Jack Beeson. Her Broadway credits include The Girl in Pink Tights (1954) by Jerome Chodorov, Joseph Fields, and Leo Robin to the music of Sigmund Romberg, and Cafe Crown (1964), opposite Theodore Bikel and Sam Levene. Lewis died in Westport, Connecticut on September 16, 2017.

Don Ohlmeyer (72) Monday Night Football producer who came up with the phrase “Must-See TV” in leading NBC to the No. 1 prime-time spot. Ohlmeyer won 16 Emmys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Peabody Awards. He became producer of MNF in 1972, teaming with director Chet Forte and the on-air crew of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, and Frank Gifford. In 2000, during his second MNF stint, Ohlmeyer put comedian Dennis Miller in the booth. He also directed the network's Olympic coverage and created The Superstars. Later at NBC Sports, he produced World Series and Super Bowl broadcasts. Ohlmeyer returned to NBC in 1993 as president of its entertainment division. He came up with Must-See TV in the ‘90s, when NBC's rating soared with such hits as Seinfeld, Friends, ER, and Frasier. Ohlmeyer died of cancer in Indian Wells, California on September 10, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton (91) legendary character actor. For more than 60 years, Stanton played crooks and codgers, eccentrics and losers. He endowed them with pathos and compassion and animated them with his gaunt presence, making would-be fringe figures feel central to the films they appeared in. Stanton spent 20 years typecast in Hollywood as cowboys and villains before his unusual talents began to attract notice on the strength of his performances in the movies Straight Time (1978); Alien, Wise Blood, and The Rose (all 1979); and Escape from New York (1981). In Wim Wenders’ 1984 rural drama Paris, Texas, Stanton’s near-wordless performance is laced with humor and poignancy. His stoic delivery of a monologue of repentance to his wife, played by Nastassja Kinski, through a one-way mirror became the defining moment in his career, in a role he said was his favorite. The film won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival and provided the actor with his first star billing, at age 58. Stanton died in Los Angeles, California on September 15, 2017.

Frank Vincent (80) veteran character actor who often played tough guys, including mob boss Phil Leotardo on The Sopranos. Besides Leotardo, the ruthless New York mob boss who frequently clashed with Tony Soprano on the popular HBO drama and was memorably whacked at a service station, Vincent portrayed gangsters for director Martin Scorsese. He appeared in Raging Bull, Goodfellas—where he played Billy Batts, a made man in the Gambino crime family—and Casino, playing Frank Marino, based on real-life gangster Frank Cullotta. Vincent had small roles in two Spike Lee films, Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever. Among his more than 50 movies, he also was in The Pope of Greenwich Village, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Night Falls on Manhattan, and Shark Tale. He died in New Jersey on September 13, 2017.


Politics and Military

Pete V. Domenici (85) former US senator from New Mexico, a Republican who became a power broker in the Senate for his work on the federal budget and energy policy over more than 30 years. The Albuquerque-born son of Italian immigrants carried a consistent message of fiscal restraint from his first term in 1972 until leaving office in 2009—regardless of which party was in power. Domenici even refused once to buckle to President Ronald Reagan, who wanted him to delay the budget process. Domenici announced in October 2007 that he wouldn't seek a seventh Senate term because he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder, frontotemporal lobar degeneration. He had undergone abdominal surgery in recent weeks and died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 13, 2017.

Mitchell Flint (94) American aviator who helped to form the Israeli Air Force in 1948 and served in Israel’s first fighter squadron. A former US Navy fighter pilot, Flint was one of the founding members of “Machal,” a group of non-Israelis who fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He was one of the original members of the Israeli Air Force's first fighter squadron and helped to train Israel’s first military pilots. Flint and other members of the Machal had flown in German planes that were captured during World War II and covered the Nazi insignia with Stars of David. He flew in rebuilt Messerschmitts, Germany’s main fighter plane during the war, along with Mustangs and Spitfires. When he returned to the US, Flint became a lawyer and continued flying until 2016. He died in Los Angeles, California on September 16, 2017.

Heiner Geissler (87) top official in Germany’s main conservative party under former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Geissler was general secretary of Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union from 1977–89, shaping strategy and running election campaigns. Geissler, who sought to modernize the CDU’s image, also was minister for families and health from 1982–85. He fell out with Kohl in 1989 and later became a sought-after arbitrator in wage and other disputes. He was known for his liberal views and joined the antiglobalization group Attac in 2007. Geissler died in Gleisweiler, Germany on September 12, 2017.

Tommy Irvin (88) former Georgia agriculture commissioner whose 40 years in office made him one of the longest-serving statewide officials in the US. First appointed as state agriculture head in 1969 by then-Gov. Lester Maddox, Irvin later won 10 consecutive elections before deciding to retire in 2011 because of age and health reasons. For most of his career, he was both promoter and safety regulator of agriculture, Georgia’s largest industry. He died of Parkinson's disease on September 15, 2017.

Yefim Stolyarsky (94) president from 1996 until last March of the Los Angeles Association of Veterans of World War II, a dwindling group of Russian-speaking immigrant veterans. A native of Ukraine, Stolyarsky served 30 years in the Red Army. During the war he was a division commander and a squad leader, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was twice wounded as he battled to help prevent the Nazis from seizing St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad, during an 872-day siege of the city. After retiring from the military in the late ‘60s, he immigrated to the US in 1991 as a refugee from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, where Russians and Jews faced hostility and discrimination after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He died of a brain tumor in Los Angeles, California on September 10, 2017.


Sports

Penny Chenery (95) breeder and racer of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat who realized her ailing father’s dream to win the Kentucky Derby in ‘72 with Riva Ridge. In 1973 Secretariat captured the imagination of racing fans worldwide when he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. He won the last leg by a whopping 31 lengths in one of the greatest performances in sports history. In 1972, Riva Ridge won the Derby and Belmont Stakes. Both colts were inducted into the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame. Chenery died of a stroke in Boulder, Colorado on September 16, 2017.

Alex Hawkins (80) longtime NFL running back. Hawkins became the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 1958. In his junior season he led the Gamecocks in passing, rushing, scoring, and punt returns in 1957. He played 10 NFL seasons, eight for the Baltimore Colts and two with Atlanta. Hawkins played on the NFL title team in 1959 in Baltimore and on the Colt ‘68 NFL championship squad. In 125 career games, he rushed for 787 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 129 passes for 1,715 yards and 12 touchdowns. He died in Columbia, South Carolina on September 12, 2017.

Tony Oglesby (53) Miles College assistant head football coach. Oglesby had been Miles defensive line coach since 2011, helping the Golden Bears to win two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships and make their first Division II playoff appearance. He was a three-year starter for Livingston University, now West Alabama, from 1983–86. The coach had a seizure during the Clark Atlanta game last season and tried to return for fall camp but left before the season because of an illness. He died in Fairfield, Alabama on September 12, 2017.


Previous Week
Next Week


Return to Main Page
Return to Top