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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, March 10, 2018

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Davide Astori, Italian soccer starJoaquin Avila, civil rights lawyerTrevor Baylis, inventor of wind-up radioReynaldo Bignone, last of Argentina's military dictatorsLucie Brock-Broido, prize-winning poet and educatorJohn H. Buchanan Jr., former US congressman from AlabamaGary Burden, designer of album coversCharles M. Campion, Democrat campaign operativeRonnie Franklin, jockey who rode Spectacular Bid, winner of 1979 Kentucky DerbyHiubert de Givenchy, French couturier, with actress Audrey HepburnOskar Gröning, 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz,' one of last Nazis tried for war crimesWilson Harris, Guyanese novelistSala Kirschner, Holocaust survivorPaul Magriel, world's best backgammon playerHelmut O. Maucher, former CEO of NestléBrian Murphy, southern California concert promoterWilliam Pulte, home builderNargis ('Shammi') Rabadi, Bollywood actressRuss Solomon, founder of Tower RecordsEthel Stein, right, artistic weaver and designer of sock puppets, including Lamb ChopJohn Sulston, British scientist who helped to decode human genomeTogo D. West Jr., former US secretary of the ArmyHayden V. White, scholar and historianKate Wilhelm, writer of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery

Art and Literature

Lucie Brock-Broido (61) prize-winning poet and educator. Brock-Broido was the author of four poetry books, most recently Stay, Illusion, a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle prize. Her other honors include the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize and the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award. Brock-Broido directed the creative writing program at Harvard and the poetry division of Columbia University's writing program. Wallace Stevens was among her influences. She died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 6, 2018.

Wilson Harris (96) Guyanese novelist and essayist who addressed themes of colonialism and cultural identity in weaving stories of history, fantasy, myth, and philosophy. Harris, who had lived in England for almost 60 years, was one of the leading intellectuals to come out of Guyana, a small country on the northern coast of South America. He had been a land surveyor for almost 15 years; that work, which involved trips into Guyana’s jungles and vast savanna and contact with its diverse populations, turned out to be excellent preparation for a literary career. His books included Resurrection at Sorrow Hill (1993), The Dark Jester (2001), and The Ghost of Memory (2006). Harris died in Chelmsford, England, 16 days before his 97th birthday, on March 8, 2018.

Ethel Stein (100) weaver who created countless intricate textile artworks and one influential sock puppet, Shari Lewis's (died in 1998) Lamb Chop. Working largely out of the artistic limelight at her home in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, Stein resurrected historical weaving techniques and merged them with 20th-century Bauhaus design sensibilities. She designed several puppets for Lewis, who by 1953 was making a name for herself in children’s TV in the New York market and later in the ‘50s achieved national fame with Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse, and the rest of her puppet pals. Stein died of pneumonia in Cortlandt, New York on March 9, 2018.

Kate Wilhelm (89) award-winning science fiction writer. Wilhelm wrote more than 60 works of sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery, including the Hugo Award-winning novel Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. She started writing sci-fi when the field was dominated by men. Rather than spaceships and gadgets, she was focused on characters and why they were in particular situations; Wilhelm was also known for writer workshops she established with her late husband Damon Knight. Kate Wilhelm died of respiratory failure in Eugene, Oregon on March 8, 2018.

Business and Science

Trevor Baylis (80) British inventor of the wind-up radio, a device capable of running without electricity or battery power. Baylis was inspired to create the radio after watching a TV program about AIDS in Africa, learning that a lack of electricity and batteries to power radios was preventing the spread of important information. Baylis's radio features a hand crank users wind to power the radio. He won countless awards for his invention, including the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and the Presidential Gold Medal from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He died on Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, England, near London, on March 5, 2018.

Hubert de Givenchy (91) French couturier, a pioneer of ready-to-wear who designed Audrey Hepburn's (died in 1993) little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Givenchy was part of the elite cadre of Paris-based designers, including Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, who redefined fashion after World War II. A towering man with impeccable manners, he forged close friendships with his famous clients, among them Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and Princess Grace of Monaco. Givenchy was born into an aristocratic family in the provincial city of Beauvais in 1927 and founded his label in ‘52, selling it to luxury conglomerate LVMH in ‘88. He died outside Paris, France on March 10, 2018.

Helmut O. Maucher (90) German-born businessman who transformed Nestlé into the world's largest food company after working his way up from a job in a milk production facility to chief executive (1981–97). Maucher revived and nurtured Nestlé, based in Switzerland, by slashing its bureaucracy and work force while snapping up key competitors like American milk producer Carnation and British confectioner Rowntree, maker of the popular Kit Kat bar. He died in Bad Homburg, Germany, a suburb of Frankfurt, on March 5, 2018.

William Pulte (85) developer who built his first house as a Detroit teenager and later founded one of America's largest home builders, churning out some 600,000 houses and becoming a billionaire. Pulte was part of a new generation of home builders who got their start when a postwar nation was building miles of new freeways and rings of expanding suburbs. Those builders dotted the landscape with manufactured subdivisions and made vast fortunes off the growth of the baby boom generation, turning what had once been a mom-and-pop industry into giant corporations that were traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Pulte's company is now based in Atlanta and operates in about 50 markets around the US, with brands like Centex, Pulte Homes, Del Webb, DiVosta Homes, and John Wieland Homes & Neighborhoods. He died in Naples, Florida on March 7, 2018.

Russ Solomon (92) pioneered the superstore hangout for music lovers by founding Tower Records and expanded it worldwide before Internet pirates and crushing debts rendered the chain obsolete and bankrupt. Solomon was the driving force behind a sprawling enterprise that began with one store in Sacramento in 1960 and grew into a dominant competitor in music retailing with nearly 200 stores in 15 countries. Sales of recorded music, videos, and books eventually topped $1 billion a year. Solomon built megastores, some bigger than football fields, and stocked them with as many as 125,000 titles, virtually all the popular and classical recordings on the market. But the company lost $10 million in 2000 and $90 million in '01. At the same time the music business went into a slump. Tower declared bankruptcy in 2004, and in '06 it was forced to liquidate and close. Solomon died, apparently of a heart attack, while watching the Oscars ceremony on TV in Sacramento, California on March 4, 2018.

John Sulston (75) Nobel Prize-winning British scientist who helped to decode the human genome. Sulston graduated from Cambridge University in 1963 and did postdoctoral research in California before joining Sydney Brenner's group at the Cambridge molecular biology lab, where the structure of DNA first was identified. In 1990 they published the gene map of the nematode worm. In 1992 Sulston was appointed director of the Sanger Center, established at Cambridge to spearhead the British contribution to the international Human Genome Project. He shared the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2002 for work on how genes regulate organ development and how cells die. Sulston died in Cambridge, England on March 9, 2018.


Hayden V. White (89) scholar whose ideas on history and how it is shaped have fueled discussions in academic circles for 50 years. White began attracting attention in 1966 with his essay “The Burden of History,” which suggested that history was being relegated to a sort of second-class citizenship by advances in other disciplines. He taught at several universities, including Wayne State, the University of Rochester, Wesleyan, Stanford, and several campuses in the University of California system. He died in Santa Cruz, California on March 5, 2018.


Joaquin Avila (69) civil rights lawyer who fought discrimination in classrooms, workplaces, and voting booths as a leader of the Mexican-American Legal Defense & Educational Fund. Avila was a point man in the Latino civil rights battle and argued voting rights cases before the US Supreme Court. In 1996 he was awarded the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” one of several noted accolades for his work on the issue. He died of cancer in Seattle, Washington on March 9, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Gary Burden (84) beginning in the late ‘60s, Burden designed memorable album covers for Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, and numerous other stars of rock and folk-rock. Working in the predigital era, when music was sold primarily on vinyl and artists were often trying to make a personal statement with their albums, Burden created cover after cover that seared their way into the minds of fans. He designed the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album in 1969, featuring a Henry Diltz photograph of the three on a ragged couch. He also designed the cover of Mitchell’s acclaimed 1971 album, Blue, a striking close-up of the singer in blue and black tones, and put the Eagles in Wild West regalia for Desperado and Young in a cheesy yellow jacket for On the Beach (1974). Burden died in Los Angeles, California on March 7, 2018.

Brian Murphy (70) southern California concert promoter who helped to bring to the main stages acts including Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Eagles, AC/DC, and hundreds more, in the process developing connections in a business and a city (Los Angeles) fueled by relationships. As cofounder of Avalon Attractions, he built a buzzing concert company that in its prime was the most powerful promoter in the region. After selling Avalon in 1998 to SFX, Murphy became a key executive at Live Nation, where he oversaw the renovations of the Wiltern Theatre and the Hollywood Palladium while pushing tickets across the region. He died of a respiratory disease on March 6, 2018.

Nargis ('Shammi') Rabadi (89) actress who appeared in some 200 Bollywood films and was beloved for her comedic roles as doting sisters, mothers, and grandmothers. Shammi appeared mostly in supporting roles in a career that stretched over 60 years, including as the lovable grandmother Choti Nani on the popular sitcom Dekh Bhai Dekh. Known for her comedic timing, she attributed her long career to her eagerness to accept any role. She died in Mumbai, India on March 6, 2018.

Politics and Military

Reynaldo Bignone (90) last military president from Argentina's 1976-83 dictatorship. Bignone was named de facto president by the military junta after Argentina lost the 1982 war with Britain over the Falkland Islands. He was the last survivor of Argentina's four military presidents, and his death brings an end to one of the symbols of the darkest chapters in Argentina's history. Human rights groups estimate that up to 30,000 people were kidnapped, tortured, or killed during the dictatorship. Many were pregnant women who were “disappeared” shortly after giving birth in torture centers. The baby thefts set Argentina's brutal dictatorship apart from all the other juntas that ruled in South America at the time. Bignone had been serving a life sentence under house arrest for multiple human rights crimes. He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 7, 2018.

John H. Buchanan Jr. (89) moderate Republican who represented Alabama in Congress and later was a spokesman for the progressive organization People for the American Way, founded by TV producer Norman Lear. Buchanan was a Tennessee native who was raised in Birmingham, where he was elected to Congress in 1964 after serving as a pastor. He supported civil rights during his 16 years in Congress. A conservative Republican defeated him in 1980, but he remained active in international affairs and human rights work. He died in Rockville, Maryland on March 5, 2018.

Charles M. Campion (62) stalwart of Democrat election campaigns, a cofounder of the Dewey Square Group, a public affairs consultancy in Boston, and a key operative for presidential candidates, including Walter F. Mondale, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. In a career that witnessed enormous changes in political campaigns, with the rise of cable news and the transformative influence of the Internet, Campion relied on political instinct, personal connections, and the power of a knock on the door. He had a history of kidney trouble, requiring three transplants, and died of complications from surgery in Boston, Massachusetts on March 7, 2018.

Oskar Gröning (96) onetime corporal in Hitler’s Waffen SS who became known as the bookkeeper of Auschwitz, one of the very last Germans to face war-crimes charges arising from the Holocaust. Gröning was convicted nearby in Lüneburg in 2015. In a case that turned on the tangled interplay of moral responsibility, criminal guilt, and the consequences of complicity, Gröning, who never rose above the rank of corporal, insisted that he had played no more than a back-office role in the management of funds confiscated from Jews at Auschwitz. When he finally came to trial in Germany, Gröning was accused as an accomplice in the murder of some 300,000 Hungarian Jews who had been transported to Auschwitz in 1944. By the time he was sentenced to a four-year jail term—which his lawyers appealed—he was 94. He died in Germany on March 9, 2018.

Togo D. West Jr. (75) secretary of the Army in the ‘90s who oversaw its post-Gulf War conversion to a truncated peacetime fighting force that granted women more combat roles and vowed to shield them from sexual abuse. West was the second black Army secretary and the second black to hold the cabinet-level position of secretary of veterans’ affairs, appointed to both posts by President Bill Clinton. After the Army department was flooded with thousands of complaints of sexual harassment in the mid-‘90s and three male instructors at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland were accused of rape in 1996, West responded by greatly tightening penalties for sexual transgressions and ordering an internal investigation. He died of a heart attack on a cruise ship in the Caribbean on March 8, 2018.

Society and Religion

Sala Kirschner (94) Holocaust survivor who in 1991 revealed her secret cache of 350 letters, postcards, and photographs from family and friends that she had hidden from Nazi guards while an inmate in seven forced-labor camps over five years, starting when she was just 16. The yellowed, tattered letters—in Yiddish, Polish, and German, some with Hitler stamps and inky Zs indicating that they had been censored—offered glimpses of the disintegration of Jewish life before and during World War II in Kirschner's hometown, Sosnowiec, in southwestern Poland, whose Jewish population was confined to a ghetto before 35,000 of them were deported to Auschwitz. The material became the subject of a book and a play. Kirschner died of congestive heart failure in New York City, two days after her 94th birthday, on March 7, 2018.


Davide Astori (31) Fiorentina captain. Astori made his Italy debut in 2011 and played at the '13 Confederations Cup in Brazil, where he scored against Uruguay. He started out in the Milan youth academy but never played a senior match for the Rossoneri, making his Serie A debut with Cagliari in 2008. He spent six years at the Sardinian club before loan spells at Roma and Fiorentina, where he was signed on a permanent basis in 2016. Astori was found dead in his hotel room after a suspected cardiac arrest before an Italian league match. The defender, who also played 14 times for Italy's national team, was discovered by Fiorentina staff when he failed to show up for breakfast at the hotel in Udine, Italy. Fiorentina's game at Udinese in northeast Italy was called off, along with all fixtures in the country's top two divisions, on March 4, 2018.

Ronnie Franklin (58) jockey who rode Spectacular Bid to victory in the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before their Triple Crown try was derailed in the Belmont. Franklin was 19 when he guided Spectacular Bid to victory as a 3-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby. After winning the Preakness by 5.5 lengths, his bid to capture the Triple Crown ended in the Belmont Stakes, when Spectacular Bid finished third. In the mile-and-a-half race, Spectacular Bid chased a speedy long shot early in the race and tired in the stretch. Franklin rode 1,403 winners in 9,242 starts from 1978-92 and had purse earnings of more than $14 million. He won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey. He died of lung cancer in Baltimore, Maryland on March 8, 2018.

Paul Magriel (71) former youth chess champion who traded game boards to become known as the world's best backgammon player, then turned to poker as his passion for gambling grew. After winning the New York State Junior Chess Championship at 19, Magriel became fixated on backgammon, the 5,000-year-old dice-and-disk board game that combines luck, skill, and speed. Before the '70s ended, he had won the world backgammon championship and published Backgammon (1976), acclaimed as the bible of the game. In 1977–80 he also wrote a weekly column about the game for the New York Times. Magriel's legacy to poker was his formulation of the M-ratio—a measure, named for him, of how many chips a player needs to sit passively and make only compulsory bets. He died in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5, 2018.

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