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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, February 20, 2021

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U-Roy, Jamaican deejayPrince Markie Dee, member of Fat Boys trioArturo Di Modica, Sicilian sculptor of Wall Street's 'Charging Bull'Fernando Hidalgo, Cuban entertainer in FloridaVincent Jackson, former NFL wide receiverRush Limbaugh, Conservative talk radio pioneerDr. Bernard Lown, cardiologist who invented heart defibrillatorCarlos Menem. former president of ArgentinaSister Dianna Ortiz, tortured in GuatemalaJohnny Pacheco, 'father of salsa'Jack Schwartz, longtime newspaper 'deskman'Arne Sorenson, Marriott CEOStan Williams, All-Star pitcher

Art and Literature

Arturo Di Modica (80) artist who sculpted “Charging Bull,” the bronze statue in New York that became a symbol of Wall Street. The sculptor lived in New York for more than 40 years. He arrived in 1973 and opened an art studio in the city’s SoHo neighborhood. With the help of a truck and a crane, Di Modica installed the bronze bull sculpture in New York's financial district without permission on the night of December 16, 1989. He reportedly spent $350,000 of his own money to create the 3.5-ton bronze beast that came to symbolize the resilience of the US economy after a 1987 stock market crash. Di Modica died in his hometown of Vittoria, Sicily, Italy on February 19, 2021.

Business and Science

Dr. Bernard Lown (99) Massachusetts cardiologist who invented the first reliable heart defibrillator and later cofounded an antinuclear war group that was awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. A professor at Harvard University and a physician at Brigham & Women’s Hosital in Boston, Lown had been among the first doctors to emphasize the importance of diet and exercise in treating heart disease and introduced the drug lidocaine as a treatment for arrhythmia. In 1962 he invented the direct-current defibrillator, or cardioverter, which uses electric shocks to get hearts to resume beating. He was also an outspoken social activist, founding Physicians for Social Responsibility in 1960 and later cofounding International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in the '80s. The international antiwar group called for a moratorium on testing and building nuclear weapons; it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness about the consequences of nuclear war during the height of Cold War tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. At its peak, the group had more than 200,000 members and chapters in more than 60 countries. Lown died of congestive heart failure in the Boston, Massachusetts area on February 16, 2021.

Arne Sorenson (62) Marriott chief executive who grew the company into the world’s largest hotel chain and steered it through a global pandemic that has been catastrophic for the travel industry. Sorenson loved every aspect of the hotel business and relished traveling and meeting employees around the world. Marriott has 30 hotel brands, including Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, and Westin, and more than 7,000 properties worldwide. Sorenson was the first Marriott CEO whose name was not Marriott and only the third to lead the company in its 93-year history. He joined the Bethesda, Maryland company in 1996, leaving behind a partnership in a Washington law firm where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions. He rose to president and chief operating officer before he was named CEO in 2012. After becoming Marriott’s top executive, he oversaw the $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels in 2016 and pushed the international chain to become more sustainable while also trying to combat human trafficking. He died of pancreatic cancer in Washington, DC on February 15, 2021.

News and Entertainment

Ewart ('U-Roy') Beckford (78) helped to transform Jamaican music by expanding the role of deejay into someone who didn’t just introduce records but added a layer of vocal and verbal improvisation to them, a performance known as toasting and that anticipated rap. U-Roy, born Ewart Beckford, wasn’t the first toaster, but he expanded the possibilities of the form with his lyricism and sense of rhythm. Just as important, he took it from the open-air street parties, where it was born, into the recording studio. U-Roy died in Kingston, Jamaica on February 17, 2021.

Prince Markie Dee (52) as a member of the trio the Fat Boys, Dee released some of hip-hop’s most commercially successful albums of the ‘80s and helped to speed the genre’s absorption into pop culture. In the mid-‘80s the Fat Boys were among hip-hop’s best-known groups. Their 1987 album Crushin’ went platinum and featured a collaboration with the Beach Boys, “Wipeout,” that was their biggest hit, reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. That year the group starred in a full-length comedy, Disorderlies. Hip-hop was just beginning to be accepted into the mainstream of American pop culture, and the group’s light-hearted rhymes, accessible dance routines, and winning comedic approach made them effective ambassadors on hits including “Jailhouse Rap,” “Stick ’Em,” and “Can You Feel It.” Some of their songs were about food and played on their image as harmless heavyweights. Born Mark Anthony Morales, Prince Markie Dee died in Miami, Florida, one day before his 53rd birthday, on February 18, 2021.

Fernando Hidalgo (78) every weeknight for 14 years, Hidalgo burst into the living rooms of Spanish-speaking households across the US to a Cuban fanfare, as dancers in colorful costumes shimmied to bongos and trumpets and a theme song bearing his name. Broadcasting from a studio in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, just ouside Miami, Hidalgo filled his show with interviews, monologues, skits with winking double entendres, scantily clad dancers who shocked abuelas (grandmothers),and a generous helping of live Cuban music for nostalgic abuelos (grandfathers). At 7 p.m. or 11 p.m., El Show de Fernando Hidalgo, which aired on América TeVé and later on MegaTV, was appointment viewing in Latino households, particularly in south Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico. Hidalgo died of Covid-19 in Coral Gables, Florida on February 15, 2021.

Rush Limbaugh (70) Conservative talk radio pioneer. During his more than 30 years on air, Limbaugh ripped into liberals, foretold the rise of Donald Trump, and flouted political correctness, making him one of the most powerful voices in politics. He announced in February 2020 that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. New York AM radio station WABC carried his program beginning in 1988 and served as his national broadcasting flagship for years. The program later aired on New York’s WOR. Former President Donald Trump last year awarded the broadcaster the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Limbaugh died in Palm Beach, Florida on February 17, 2021.

Johnny Pacheco (83) salsa idol, a cofounder of Fania Records, Eddie Palmieri’s bandmate, and backer of music stars like Rubén Bladés, Willie Colón, and Celia Cruz. Pacheco was born in 1935 in the Dominican Republic into a family of musicians. In the ‘40s the family moved to New York, where Johnny taught himself to play accordion, violin, saxophone, and clarinet and studied percussion at Juilliard. In 1954 he formed the Chuchulecos Boys with Palmieri on piano, Barry Rogers on trombone, and other musicians who gained renown on the salsa scene, such as Al Santiago, Mike Collazo, and Ray Santos. But the life-changing moment came in 1963 when Pacheco partnered with attorney Jerry Masucci to found Fania Records. Pacheco was music director, composer, arranger, and producer, overseeing the label’s genre of music that came to be known as salsa—a mixture of Cuban mambo, guaracha, and chachachá, Puerto Rican rhythms, and Dominican meringue. He received the Latin Recording Academy Music Excellence Award in 2005 and was nominated for multiple Grammys and Latin Grammys. He had been hospitalized in New York a few days earlier for pneumonia and died on February 15, 2021.

Jack Schwartz (82) lifelong newspaperman who knew early that he was best suited to the kinds of jobs that are valued in a newsroom but largely invisible to the reading public. In the fall of 1959 Schwartz landed a job out of college as a reporter for the Long Island Press, based in Queens, New York, and a few months later found himself covering his first big story, a hotel fire on Atlantic Beach, on the South Shore. But Schwartz never actually went to the scene. Instead he pieced the story together from telephone interviews and wire service copy. It was in those types of behind-the-scenes jobs that Schwartz became a familiar and mentoring figure to several generations of New York journalists, primarily through his long stints at Newsday and the New York Times. He died of Covid-19 in the Bronx, New York on February 16, 2021.

Politics and Military

Carlos Menem (90) former Argentine president who delivered short-lived economic stability and forged close ties with the US in the ‘90s even as he navigated scandal and enjoyed an often flamboyant lifestyle. The dapper lawyer from one of Argentina’s poorest provinces, dismissed by critics as a playboy, steered Argentina toward a free-market model that was, at one point, envied by neighbors and favored by investors. But Menem’s accomplishments coincided with growing unemployment, economic inequality, and foreign debt. He was also flexible as a politician, beginning his career as a self-styled disciple of Gen. Juan Domingo Peron, who founded the populist movement that bears his name and placed the economy largely under state control. Menem, who served two terms as president between 1989–99, transformed the country—but not in a good direction. He was hospitalized in December with kidney failure and had been put in a medically induced coma. He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on February 14, 2021.

Society and Religion

Sister Dianna Ortiz (62) American Roman Catholic nun whose rape and torture in Guatemala in 1989 helped to lead to the release of documents showing American involvement in human rights abuses in that country. While serving as a missionary and teaching Indigenous children in the western highlands of Guatemala, Sister Ortiz was abducted, gang-raped, and tortured by a Guatemalan security force. Her story became even more explosive when she said that someone she believed to be an American had acted in concert with her abductors. Only after years of extensive therapy at the Marjorie Kovler Center in Chicago for survivors of torture did Sister Ortiz start to recover, at which point she began to hunt down information about her case. She became a global champion for people subjected to torture, and her case helped to compel the release of classified documents showing decades of US complicity in human rights abuses in Guatemala during its 36-year civil war, in which 200,000 civilians were killed. It was never clear why she and many other Americans were targeted. She died of cancer in Washington, DC on February 19, 2021.


Vincent Jackson (38) former NFL wide receiver. Jackson played for the San Diego Chargers for seven seasons before becoming a free agent because of a contract dispute, then played five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making his last appearance in 2016. He recorded 57 receiving touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl three times. The son of military parents, he founded the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, a nonprofit to support military families. The Chargers are now based in Los Angeles. Jackson's family initially reported him missing on February 10. He was found dead in a Florida hotel room five days after authorities spoke with him as part of a welfare check. A housekeeper at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, Florida, near Tampa, discovered his body at around 11:30 a.m. on February 15, 2021. There were no signs of trauma.

Stan Williams (84) All-Star pitcher who helped the Dodgers to win the 1959 World Series. Williams also won a World Series title in 1990 as pitching coach with the Cincinnati Reds. The two-time All-Star right-hander was part of a powerhouse Los Angeles rotation that included Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Johnny Podres from 1960–62. Williams, known as the “Big Hurt” because of his penchant for pitching inside, had a record of 109-94 and a 3.48 earned run average during his 14-year career in the majors. He was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers and made the big-league club when the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. He was with them until 1962. He pitched three scoreless innings in the second game of the National League tie-breaker series against the Milwaukee Braves to send the Dodgers into the 1959 World Series. Williams was winning pitcher in the 6-5 victory in 12 innings. The Dodgers and the Braves tied for the NL championship at the end of the regular season. Williams was hospitalized on February 11 and died of cardiopulmonary illness in Laughlin, Nevada on February 20, 2021.

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