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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, September 5, 2020

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Dwight Anderson, college basketball standoutBetty Bushman, first woman to call Major League Baseball team's games on radioKaing Guek Eav ('Duch'), Khmer Rouge's chief jailerDavid ('Smokey') Gaines, Harlem Globetrotter and coachDavid Graeber, co-organizer of Occupy Wall Street movementJames S. Jackson, social psychologist who studied black lifeTom Jernstedt, NCAA executiveBarbara Judge, US lawyer and banker who broke several glass ceilingsIrving Kanarek, lawyer who defended Charles MansonChristian Liaigre, French interior and furniture designerHans A. Linde, legal scholarJiri Menzel, Czech film directorPranab Mukherjee, former president of IndiaDr. John S. Najarian, pioneering transplant surgeonGene Norman, NYC preservationistGary Peacock, jazz bassistWilliam Pursell, Grammy-nominated composerCecilia Romo, Mexican TV, movie, and theater actressTom Seaver, New York Mets pitcherFrank Snow, pro golfer who taught game to future champion Tiger WoodsJohn Thompson Jr., legendary Georgetown basketball coachRicardo Valderrama, Peruvian anthropologist turned politician

Business and Science

Barbara Judge (73) American-British lawyer, banker, and entrepreneur who broke the glass ceiling of male dominance at regulatory agencies and other influential institutions in Washington, Hong Kong, and London. As the youngest person—and only the second woman—to become a commissioner of the Securities & Exchange Commission, appointed in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, and later as the first female chair of Britain’s Atomic Energy Agency, Judge built a résumé studded with precedent-setting appointments and reflecting her belief that success grew from long hours, close attention to detail, and hard work. In her public life she championed the advancement of women in business. She was, at various times, the first female executive director at a British merchant bank and head of London’s Institute of Directors. She died of pancreatic cancer in London, England on August 31, 2020.

Christian Liaigre (77) French interior and furniture designer whose elegant objects in wood, bronze, and leather were emblems of ‘90s minimalism and whose influential clients included Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Rupert Murdoch, Larry Gagosian, and the Mercer hotel in SoHo. Liaigre had been an art student and a drawing teacher and had worked with show horses before he began to make furniture in the early ‘80s. It was the Mercer, which André Balazs opened in 1997, that introduced Liaigre to the US. The hotel’s new-old Modernism and loftlike rooms attracted movie stars of the era (including Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, and designers like Klein. Liaigre sold his company to a group of investors in 2016. He died in Paris, France on September 2, 2020.

Dr. John S. Najarian (92) ground-breaking transplant surgeon who made headlines for taking on difficult cases and weathered a different type of headline when he was accused, then exonerated, of improprieties related to a drug he had developed. Najarian, who for many years was chief of surgery at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, was revered in the transplant field, which he entered when human organ transplantation was new. Recruited to replace Dr. Owen H. Wangensteen, a noted surgeon, as chief of surgery in 1967, Najarian soon built the program into a leader in kidney, liver, pancreas, and other types of transplants. He performed transplants on kidney patients with diabetes, for instance, or patients so fragile that other doctors would not operate. In 1970 he gave a new kidney to reportedly the youngest patient ever to have received one at the time—a six-week-old boy. Najarian died in Stillwater, Minnesota, east of Minneapolis, on August 31, 2020.


Education

David Graeber (59) helped to organize the Occupy Wall Street movement. A professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, Graeber studied anarchism and anticapitalist movements and challenged the world to respond to the plight of Kurds in the Middle East. His 2011 book Debt: The First 5,000 Years was an anticapitalist analysis that struck a chord with many readers in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Graeber’s radicalism was showcased again in the 2018 book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. He died in Venice, Italy on September 2, 2020.

James S. Jackson (76) changed the way scholars examined black life in the US, leading to new insights on health, social support systems, and more when he founded the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan in 1976. A social psychologist, Jackson shook up the research field with the program’s first major project, the National Survey of Black Americans, a sweeping study completed in 1980 that was unlike anything done before. When he began his career in the early ‘70s, research surveys of the national population had an inherent flaw: they included too few black people to provide insights specific to the black population. Jackson died of pancreatic cancer in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 1, 2020.


Law

Irving Kanarek (100) Los Angeles lawyer who defended Charles Manson in the cult killings of actress Sharon Tate and six other people, and Jimmy Smith, whose murder of a police officer was retold in Joseph Wambaugh’s 1973 best-seller The Onion Field. Those killings were among the most notorious crimes of the ‘60s, and the national spotlight that focused on their trials made Kanarek’s disruptive circus of courtroom tactics almost as fascinating as his bizarre clients—Manson, the cult leader with a “family” of young drifters, and Smith, a petty thief who did not quite know how to operate the automatic pistol he carried. For Kanarek, the trials were high points in a 30-year practice given to a more routine caseload of personal injury and damage claims. He died in Garden Grove, California on September 2, 2020.

Hans A. Linde (98) legal scholar who served on the Oregon Supreme Court and made ground-breaking arguments about the role that state constitutions can play in guarding civil liberties. In the early ‘70s, as the US Supreme Court grew more conservative after President Richard M. Nixon’s appointment of four justices, Linde published articles urging lawyers to bring civil rights cases in state courts and to make arguments grounded in the provisions of state constitutions. Those provisions often offered protections beyond those guaranteed by the federal Bill of Rights, he wrote, and decisions made on purely state-law grounds are generally not subject to review by the US Supreme Court. Many of the gay rights movement’s early judicial victories, for instance, were won in state courts. That approach became known as the “new judicial federalism,” and Linde was widely recognized as its most important theorist. He died in Portland, Oregon on September 2, 2020


News and Entertainment

Jiri Menzel (82) Czech director whose 1966 movie Closely Watched Trains won the Oscar for best foreign language film. Menzel made some 20 movies and was one of the leading filmmakers of the new wave of Czech cinema that appeared in the ‘60s. His movies represented a radical departure from socialist realism, a typical Communist-era genre focusing on realistically depicting the struggles of the working class. Unlike colleagues such as Milos Forman, Jan Nemec, and Ivan Passer, Menzel didn’t emigrate after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Closely Watched Trains was his first feature movie. Based on a novel by Czech author Bohumil Hrabal, it tells the story of a dispatcher’s apprentice coming of age at a small train station during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Menzel died in Prague, Czechia on September 5, 2020.

Gary Peacock (85) upright bassist whose style carried him through a diverse career in jazz, culminating in a 30-year run with pianist Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio. Peacock earned a permanent place in the pantheon of free-jazz pioneers in the ‘60s, thanks largely to his partnerships with pianist Paul Bley and saxophonist Albert Ayler. As a member of Ayler’s various bands, he recorded, among other albums, the now-classic Ghosts (1964), Spiritual Unity (1965), and New York Eye & Ear Control (1965), blending black postmodernism—à la Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor—with gospel. Peacock died in Olivebridge, New York on September 4, 2020.

William Pursell (94) Grammy-nominated composer and studio musician who accompanied such artists as Patsy Cline and Bob Dylan. Pursell’s song, “Our Winter Love,” became a big seller in 1963. He was twice nominated for a Grammy, the first for inspirational performance (nonclassical) on the album Listen for Ken Medema in 1974. His second Grammy nomination was for his 1978 arrangement of “We Three Kings” for National Geographic. Pursell died in Nashville, Tennessee on September 3, 2020.

Cecilia Romo (74) turned to acting too late in life to become a damsel of Mexican cinema. Romo was 38 when she signed on as an extra in her first movie, David Lynch’s Dune (1984), filmed in Mexico. She later had a TV, movie, and theater career portraying a broad range of characters, including a malevolent nurse, a sneaky witch, and an assortment of nuns. Her characters were often rebellious, as she was in life, colleagues said, and she had a gift for comedy. Towering several inches above the divas of her generation, she was an unconventional screen presence who became beloved by TV viewers across Latin America in the ‘90s. Romo was known for her slapstick talents on TV shows like De Pocas Pocas Pulgas (Of Few, Few Fleas), where she appeared in a doctor’s office with a syringe the size of a hunting rifle, and for her facial expressions, like the suspicious looks she cast in Prófugas del Destino (Running from Destiny), where she played a mother superior who discovers that the women under her watch are fugitives in stolen robes. Romo died of the coronavirus in Mexico City, Mexico on August 30, 2020.


Politics and Military

Kaing Guek Eav ('Duch') (77) the Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer, who admitted overseeing the torture and killings of as many as 16,000 Cambodians while running the regime’s most notorious prison. Duch, whose trial took place in 2009, was the first senior Khmer Rouge figure to face the United Nations-backed tribunal that had been assembled to deliver justice for the regime’s brutal rule in the late ‘70s, which is blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people—a quarter of Cambodia’s population at the time. The Communist Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975–79 was accused of genocide for causing the deaths of so many of their countrymen from executions, starvation, and lack of medical care. Only after neighboring Vietnam pushed the Khmer Rouge from power did the scale and barbarity of their rule become clear. As commander of the top-secret Tuol Sleng prison, code-named S-21, Duch was one of the few ex-Khmer Rouge who acknowledged even partial responsibility for his actions, and his trial included his own graphic testimony of how people were tortured at the prison. He had been serving a life prison term for war crimes and crimes against humanity when he died in Cambodia on September 2, 2020.

Pranab Mukherjee (84) former president of India, a senior leader of that country's Congress party who served in multiple Cabinets during 50 years in politics. Mukherjee was president from 2012–17, at the end of a long period when the Congress party held power. The office is largely ceremonial in India, with executive powers resting with the prime minister. Before that, he had been minister of finance, defense, and foreign affairs for three separate prime ministers and helped to manage their fractious governing coalitions. Mukherjee was a college teacher in West Bengal state before first running for public office in 1969. He became a protege of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was loyal to her during the Internal Emergency she had proclaimed from 1975–77, when elections were suspended and civil liberties were curbed. Many of her opponents were imprisoned. Mukherjee lost his position as finance minister after she was assassinated in 1984 and her son Rajiv Gandhi became prime minister. Mukherjee had emergency surgery for a blood clot in his brain on August 10 after suffering a fall. He tested positive for COVID-19 after the surgery and remained in a coma. His health began declining after a lung infection resulted in septic shock. He died in New Delhi, India on August 31, 2020.

Gene Norman (85) as New York's official preservationist, Norman was instrumental in sparing Broadway theaters, St. Bartholomew’s Church, and the Coney Island Cyclone from destruction or defacement by developers. Serving under Mayor Edward I. Koch as chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the ‘80s, he steered the panel to high-stakes decisions that to owners determined the value and future utility of their property and to conservators meant saving one more piece of the city’s architectural past. Most of the principals praised his equanimity, graciousness, and acumen as an architect in navigating the landmarking bureaucracy. Under Norman, the commission granted landmark designation to the Coty and Rizzoli Buildings on Fifth Avenue; historic districts that encompass parts of the Upper West Side and of the late-19th-century Ladies’ Mile shopping area, which encompasses some 440 buildings from roughly 15th to 24th Street and Park Avenue South to west of Avenue of the Americas; and the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island. When he resigned at the end of 1988, after serving since ‘83, Norman was widely praised, even by some of his occasional critics. He died in the Bronx, New York on August 30, 2020.

Ricardo Valderrama (75) before becoming mayor of Cusco and its surroundings, an area of more than 1.2 million people in Peru and the historic capital of the Incan empire, Valderrama had spent 40 years studying Indigenous life in the Peruvian Andes. He recorded love songs in ancient villages and profiled bandits in the highlands. He wrote dozens of books and articles, on everything from peasant uprisings to the collective trauma of colonization. Valderrama died of the coronavirus in Cusco, Peru on August 30, 2020.


Sports

Dwight Anderson (61) earned the nickname “The Blur” because of his speed on the court playing basketball at Kentucky and Southern California. The 6-foot-3 guard began his college career under coach Joe B. Hall at Kentucky, where he averaged 13.3 points and shot 51 per cent from the field as a freshman during the 1979 season. Anderson played in 11 games during the 1980 season for the Wildcats and averaged 10.7 points before transferring midseason to USC. As a junior in 1981, he averaged 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 12 games. The next season he averaged 20.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 27 games. He was named All-Pac-10 first team and was an All-American honorable mention. He helped to lead the Trojans to a 19-9 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. Anderson died in Dayton, Ohio on September 5, 2020.

Betty Bushman (89) had been a model and a TV weather forecaster when Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, asked her to join his team’s radio crew in the waning days of the 1964 season. Bushman (known at the time as Betty Caywood) was a pioneer—the first woman to call a major-league baseball team’s games. But her hiring was a promotional ploy by Finley, then baseball’s foremost perpetrator of gimmicks. He needed her to appeal to “the dolls,” as he put it—to turn more women into As fans. As she tried to bring a feminine perspective to baseball, Bushman endured sexism, including the refusal of baseball writers to let her eat in the dining room at Fenway Park. She worked on only 15 games before her contract expired, and Finley refused to renew it. She died of a stroke in Kansas City, Missouri on September 3, 2020.

David ('Smokey') Gaines (80) former Harlem Globetrotters and ABA player who coached at Detroit-Mercy and San Diego State. The Detroit native was an All-State selection in 1959 and starred at LeMoyne-Owen College in Tennessee. Gaines was a member of the Globetrotters from 1963–67 and played briefly for the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA before turning to coaching. He began coaching as a part-time assistant under Dick Vitale at Detroit-Mercy in 1973 and took over when Vitale stepped down after the ‘76–77 season. Gaines compiled a 47-10 record in two seasons at Detroit-Mercy before taking the job at San Diego State in 1979, becoming the first black Division I head coach in the state. His 20 victories in the 1981–82 season marked the first time the program had reached that plateau since joining Division I for the ‘70–71 season. In 1984–85 the Aztecs went 23-8, 11-5 in the Western Athletic Conference, won the conference tournament, and played in the NCAA Tournament. Gaines was named conference coach of the year. He had contracted COVID-19 but died of cancer on September 5, 2020.

Tom Jernstedt (75) member of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contributions to college basketball and the NCAA Tournament. Nicknamed “Father of the Final Four,” Jernstedt had widely been credited with transforming the NCAA Tournament into the billion-dollar March Madness it has become today. A former back-up quarterback, Jernstedt worked his first Final Four in 1973 and helped to push the growth of the NCAA Tournament from 25 teams to the 68, anything-can-happen bonanza held every spring. He helped the NCAA to increase its TV contract from just over $1 million to more than $10 billion when he left in 2011. He died outside his home in Tequesta, Florida. He had just finished exercising and died in his car while reading a newspaper, on September 5, 2020.

Tom Seaver (75) one of baseball’s greatest right-handed power pitchers, a Hall of Famer who won 311 games for four major league teams, most notably the New York Mets, whom he led from last place to a surprise world championship in his first three seasons. Seaver died of Lewy body dementia and Covid-19 in Calistoga, California on August 31, 2020.

Frank Snow (78) black pro-am golf champion who taught scores of children the game and befriended Tiger Woods before he became the sport’s generational star. Snow taught golf for more than 30 years at the Chester Washington and Maggie Hathaway golf courses in south Los Angeles and spent countless hours as a volunteer instructor at the Watts-Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club. No one delighted him more than Tiger, the child prodigy whom Snow and a group of other black golfers shepherded through his early years in the game as a result of their friendship with his father, Earl. Snow was himself a standout golfer known for towering drives. He won a playoff in 1979 to capture a Future Touring Pros of America event in Ontario. His pinnacle came a year later when he won the Gardena Valley Open, a pro-am tournament whose field regularly included several top Professional Golf Association Tour players. Snow suffered a stroke last summer and died of suspected heart issues in Glendale, California on September 3, 2020.

John Thompson Jr. (78) coach who built Georgetown University into a basketball titan and became the first black head coach to win an NCAA national championship in a major sport. Thompson was a revered figure in the District of Columbia and became a legend during his 30-year run at Georgetown. He and star center Patrick Ewing led the Hoyas to the 1984 national title, which culminated in an 84-75 win over the University of Houston in the championship game. Georgetown also reached the 1982 and ‘85 title games but lost, the latter to rival Villanova in a famous upset. Thompson coached Georgetown from 1972–99 and compiled a 596-239 record. After the program joined the Big East Conference in 1979, the Hoyas qualified for the NCAA Tournament 17 times in Thompson’s final 20 seasons. He also coached Team USA to the bronze medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He abruptly resigned midway into the 1998-99 season, citing personal issues amid a lengthy divorce settlement with his ex-wife. Thompson died of multiple health problems in Arlington, Virginia on August 30, 2020.


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