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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 23, 2006

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Joe Barbera, half of Hanna-Barbera cartoon teamNasser Abdollahi, Iranian pop singerAbdul Amir al-Jamri, Bahrain Shiite spiritual leaderRuth Bernhard, San Francisco photographerJerry Berns, former co-owner of NYC's 21 ClubJohn Bishop, playwright and screenwriterCarl Blaze, hip-hop disk jockeyElkan R. Blout, biochemistScobie Breasley, Australian jockeyMelvin (Strawberry) Brooks, one-pocket pool hustlerMadeleine Brown, swimmerMae Burdon, oldest resident of Rhode IslandSam Chapman, halfback turned sluggerAnne Rogers Clark, dog show judgeIsabel Crow, 1936 Gainesville tornado survivorRudolf de Crignis, abstract painterMike Dickin, British radio talk show hostAnthony Dixon, killed 2 people, then himselfCharlie Drake, British slapstick comedianWilma Dykeman, Appalachian authorCarter Gilmore, civil rights activistAlex Grimshaw, trash metal guitaristLois Hall, ’40s B-western leading ladyLouis H. Heilbron, first UC board chairmanMa Ji, Chinese comedianDee Johnson, former first lady of New MexicoCristin Keleher, infamous George Harrison stalkerKyoko Kishida, Japanese actressGeorge Latshaw, renowned puppeteerDennis Linde, country songwriterArthur March, testified against his sonGalen Martin, Kentucky civil rights activistNorman (Dutch) Mason, Nova Scotia blues musicianScott Mateer, Mississippi disk jockeyBrittanie Montgomery, NBA cheerleaderYelena Mukhina, Soviet gymnastMick Mulligan, British jazz trumpeterMaj-Britt Nilsson, Swedish movie actressSaparmurat Niyazov, president of TurkmenistanMollie Orshansky, former SSA statisticianAkhtar Mohammad Osmani, Taliban commanderDenis Payton, Dave Clark Five musicianPhilippa Pearce, British children’s authorDaniel Pinkham, Boston composerBertram A. Powers, union leaderDaniel R. Raichel, acoustics expertBertie Reed, South African yachtsmanLarry Sherry, 1959 LA Dodgers MVPVerne Smith, former SC state senatorCraig Hugh Smyth, art historianAndrew Spielman, entomologist who studied parasitesRobert T. Stafford, former Vermont senatorRalph Stebbins, won $208 million lotteryKarl Strauss, brewmaster who boosted microbreweriesMad Dog Thornhill, '60s Michigan linebackerDr. Charles Townley, inventive orthopedistGalina Ustvolskaya, Russian composerBernie Webber, hometown muralistPiergiorgio Welby, Italian muscular dystrophy patientNeville Willoughby, Jamaican radio broadcasterSydney Wooderson, British runner

Art and Literature

Ruth Bernhard (101) renowned photographer whose black-and-white images of compelling shapes from female nudes to seashells were regarded as still-life art. In a photographic style marked by dramatic lighting, pared-down compositions, and materials from everyday life, Bernhard created a small but important body of work. She died in San Francisco, California on December 18, 2006.

Rudolf de Crignis (58) Swiss-born abstract painter. De Crignis began his artistic career as a performance and video artist, but his interests began to shift to painting during a visit to New York City in the late '70s or early '80s. He began making seemingly monochrome paintings, often in radiant blues or subtle grays. Built up from numerous thin layers of different colors, they had a luminous depth. He died of an inoperable brain tumor in New York City on December 23, 2006.

Wilma Dykeman (86) author who chronicled the people of Appalachia and the land that shaped them in 18 novels and nonfiction books. Dykeman was considered a literary bridge between the era of fellow Asheville native Thomas Wolfe and the current generation of Appalachian writers. She had been in failing health since fracturing a hip in October, suffering a staph infection after a hip replacement. She died in Asheville, North Carolina on December 22, 2006.

Philippa Pearce (86) British author of the best-selling Tom's Midnight Garden (1958) and other children's books. Pearce's home, a traditional mill house with a walled garden on the river Cam, provided the setting for many of her novels. She died of a stroke in London, England on December 21, 2006.

Craig Hugh Smyth (91) art historian who drew attention to the importance of conservation and the recovery of purloined art and cultural objects. Smyth led the first academic program in conservation in the US in 1960 as director of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, but long before he began his academic career, he worked in the recovery of stolen art after World War II. He died of a heart attack in Englewood, New Jersey on December 22, 2006.

Bernie Webber (83) watercolor painter whose public murals have been a presence throughout Everett, Washington for decades. Known for a representational style and bright colors, Webber portrayed Puget Sound icons including warships, streetcars, and mountains. He had been ailing from several strokes and the side effects of medication stemming from an inoperable brain tumor before his death in Everett, Washington on December 17, 2006.

Business and Science

Jerry Berns (99) one-time affable host to New York City's rich and famous during a 50-year connection with the renowned 21 Club. Every US President since FDR has dined at the 21. Coincidentally, Berns sold the club in 1985 for $21 million and was the second co-owner to die on the same date—Pete Kriendler died on December 21, 2001. Berns died in New York City on December 21, 2006.

Elkan R. Blout (87) biochemist and top science administrator at Harvard whose career included color film developing and sharpening research standards at the Federal Drug Administration. In the '50s, Blout pursued parallel but distinct paths at Harvard and at the Polaroid Corporation, where he was a vice president and general manager of research. He died of pneumonia in Boston, Massachusetts on December 20, 2006.

Daniel R. Raichel (71) mechanical engineer and an expert on acoustics who studied how sound travels in symphony halls and across industrial workplaces and wrote a leading textbook on the subject. Raichel's own hearing had been severely impaired since childhood, and he wore hearing aids throughout his life. He died of melanoma in El Cajon, California on December 22, 2006.

Andrew Spielman (76) Harvard entomologist whose studies of mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects shed light on the diseases that parasites carry to humans, most notably malaria, the West Nile virus, and Lyme disease. Spielman died in Boston, Massachusetts on December 20, 2006.

Karl Strauss (94) German brewmaster who worked for Milwaukee beer giant Pabst Brewing Company for 44 years before helping to craft microbrews for his six namesake brew pubs in southern California. After serving as Pabst’s master brewer and vice president of production, Strauss retired in 1983 and became a brew-making consultant when American microbreweries were booming. He died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 21, 2006.

Dr. Charles Townley (89) Michigan orthopedic surgeon and inventor who pioneered new methods of joint replacement and founded the Townley Orthopedic Clinic in Port Huron. Townley developed the Townley Anatomic Total Knee—billed as the world’s first anatomically oriented artificial total knee—in 1972. He died in Port Huron, Michigan on December 22, 2006.


Louis H. Heilbron (99) attorney who became the first chairman of the board of trustees of what is now called the California State University system. When then-Gov. Pat Brown appointed him to lead the board, Heilbron was already presiding over the state Board of Education, which had loosely overseen the state colleges before California's master plan for higher education became law in 1960. He died in San Francisco, California on December 20, 2006.

Daniel Pinkham (83) composer who had shared his music with peers and students at the New England Conservatory of Music and the King's Chapel, a Unitarian church in Boston, since the late '50s. Pinkham joined the conservatory faculty in 1958 and was appointed music director at King's Chapel in '59. He was a prolific and generous composer concerned with making his music accessible to the masses. He died of leukemia in Boston, Massachusetts on December 18, 2006.

News and Entertainment

Nasser Abdollahi (27) Iranian pop singer who recorded his first album That’s Love in the mid-'90s. Abdollahi made a name for himself and his group with Gypsy King-style "Nasseria," a song he recorded on his second album, I Love You. His fourth album, Eve's Whims, was his last work, and its title song was about death. He fell into a coma on November 24 and died of kidney failure in Tehran, Iran on December 20, 2006.

Joe Barbera (95) half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that produced such beloved cartoon characters as "Tom & Jerry," "Yogi Bear," and "The Flintstones." With his longtime partner, Bill Hanna (d. 2001), Barbera first found success creating the highly successful "Tom & Jerry" cartoons, which over the years won seven Oscars, more than any other series with the same characters. The partners, who first teamed up while working at MGM in the '30s, later enjoyed a whole new realm of success in the '50s with a witty series of animated TV comedies, including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, and Huckleberry Hound & Friends. Barbera died in Studio City, California on December 18, 2006.

John Bishop (77) playwright, screenwriter, and longtime member of Circle Repertory Company in New York City. The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, a backstage comedy-thriller that Bishop wrote and directed that was produced on Broadway in 1987, may be his most widely produced play. In 1989 his screenplay, The Package, was made into a movie starring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones. Bishop died of cancer in Bad Heilbrunn, Germany on December 20, 2006.

Carl Blaze (30) popular disk jockey for hip-hop and R&B radio station Power 105.1 FM in New York City. Blaze had gained a large fan base by spinning records at clubs and on the air on Friday and Saturday nights. He was shot 13 times outside a Manhattan apartment building on December 7, and his $20,000 diamond chain was stolen. He died 16 days later in New York City on December 23, 2006.

Mike Dickin (63) outspoken British host of a popular three-hour weekend phone-in show on the Talksport radio station. Dickin was generally known as "Britain's angriest man" because of his "come-off-it-you-bleeding-heart-liberals" views. He was killed in a road accident involving six cars near Bodmin, Cornwall, England on December 18, 2006.

Charlie Drake (81) British slapstick comedian, 5 feet 1 inch tall, who bore a striking resemblance to a ventriloquist's dummy. Drake found fame in the '50s and '60s with radio and TV shows such as Drake's Progress and The Worker. He was perhaps best remembered for a 9-minute performance of the "1812 Overture" in which he played every member of the orchestra, and for his catch-phrase, "Hello, my darlings!" He died in Twickenham, Middlesex, England on December 23, 2006.

Alex Grimshaw (17) guitarist with the British trash metal band Legion of Fury, scheduled to play at Northampton's Roadmender venue on December 23. Grimshaw died of meningococcal meningitis in Northamptonshire, England on December 19, 2006.

Lois Hall (80) veteran character actress and former leading lady to ’40s B-western stars Johnny Mack Brown, Charles Starrett, and Whip Wilson. Hall’s scores of TV credits began in the ’50s with The Range Rider and The Cisco Kid and extend to more recent series such as Six Feet Under and Cold Case. She died of a heart attack and stroke in Los Angeles, California on December 21, 2006.

Ma Ji (72) roly-poly Chinese comedian best known for his mastery of puns and satirical dialogues with other performers. Ma Ji worked in a textile factory before he started studying Xiangsheng, or Crosstalk, a traditional Chinese comic form involving one or two actors bantering on a fixed topic, usually at a quickening pace, that relies heavily on slang, puns, and imitation. He died of a heart attack in Beijing, China on December 20, 2006.

Kyoko Kishida (76) Japanese actress who starred in the landmark film Woman in the Dunes (1964) as a young widow consigned to a life of isolation and Sisyphean labor at the bottom of a sand pit. Kishida was best known in Japan for her voiceover work in animated films and TV cartoons. She died of a brain tumor in Tokyo, Japan on December 17, 2006.

George Latshaw (83) internationally renowned puppeteer who for 50 years breathed life into a diverse array of inanimate objects and helped to gain acceptance for puppetry as a legitimate art form in the US. Latshaw was also known for his work on the Hollywood musical Lili (1953). He died in Temple Terrace, Florida on December 19, 2006.

Dennis Linde (63) prolific songwriter who wrote Elvis Presley's last major hit, "Burning Love," and "Goodbye Earl" for the Dixie Chicks. Linde also wrote "Callin' Baton Rouge," a Garth Brooks hit in 1993. He died of a rare lung disease in Nashville, Tennessee on December 22, 2006.

Norman ("Dutch") Mason (68) legendary Nova Scotia blues musician dubbed the "Prime Minister of the Blues’’ by his friends and fans. During a career spanning more than 50 years, Mason was known as much for his colorful personality as for his guitar skills and distinctive voice. After suffering from several ailments, including diabetes and severe arthritis that for years limited his ability to perform and appear in public, he died in Truro, Nova Scotia on December 23, 2006.

Scott Mateer (46) Grammy-nominated songwriter and longtime Mississippi disk jockey. Mateer worked in the '80s and '90s at several Jackson radio stations. He got a Grammy nomination for cowriting "Dear Me," Lorrie Morgan's first hit. Mateer suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure and died in Flowood, Mississippi on December 17, 2006.

Mick Mulligan (78) British trumpeter and bandleader prominent in the traditional jazz revival of the '50s. In 1948 Mulligan formed his first band, Mick Mulligan's Magnolia Jazz Band. The name stuck throughout constant changes of personnel and one complete collapse, but in 1962 Mulligan pulled the plug and became an owner of racehorses. He died in Chichester, West Sussex, England on December 20, 2006.

Maj-Britt Nilsson (82) Swedish movie actress of the '40s and '50s who starred in three of Ingmar Bergman's early films. Nilsson was best known for her leading role in Bergman's Summer Interlude (1951). She died in Cannes, France eight days after her 82nd birthday, on December 19, 2006.

Denis Payton (63) saxophone player in the Dave Clark Five. Payton appeared on all the group's records, also playing guitar and harmonica and singing back-up vocals. The Dave Clark Five's "Tottenham Sound" was London's answer to the wave of hits pouring out of Liverpool in the '60s. Payton died of cancer in Bournemouth, England on December 17, 2006.

Galina Ustvolskaya (87) Russian composer of expressive and often forceful works who studied with Shostakovich and whose music had found an enthusiastic audience in the West since the early ’90s. Ustvolskaya was an enigmatic and largely reclusive composer who produced a compact but rich body of music. She died in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 22, 2006.

Neville Willoughby (69) respected Jamaican radio broadcaster known for a long 1973 interview with reggae legend Bob Marley, released as a separate recording and considered one of the most in-depth discussions with the star. Willoughby had worked at Radio Jamaica since 1969. He died of injuries from a car accident in Kingston, Jamaica on December 19, 2006.

Politics and Military

Carter Gilmore (80) prominent civil rights activist and first black elected to the Oakland (Calif.) City Council (1977-80), who was vice mayor during his tenure. Gilmore played a key role in creating the city's antiblight ordinance, organizing the citizens' police review board, and encouraging businesses to open branches in Oakland. He died of cancer in Oakland, California on December 23, 2006.

Dee Johnson (54) former first lady of New Mexico whose former husband Gary Johnson was governor (1995-2003). Dee Johnson died in her sleep at her cabin in Taos, New Mexico on December 21, 2006.

Galen Martin (79) longtime civil rights activist and former executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (1963-89), instrumental in the drafting and passage of Kentucky’s civil rights law in 1966. Martin was executive director of the Fair Housing Council in Louisville in 2003 when he hit his head while riding his mountain bike on a trail in a national forest near Damascus, Virginia. He struggled with complications from the accident for the rest of his life. He died in his sleep in Louisville, Kentucky on December 19, 2006.

Saparmurat Niyazov (66) authoritarian president of energy-rich Turkmenistan who created an elaborate personality cult during more than 20 years at the helm of the former Soviet republic. Niyazov came to power in 1985 and retained control after the '91 collapse of the Soviet Union. He turned Turkmenistan into one of the most oppressive of the ex-Soviet states, crushing all opposition. He underwent major heart surgery in 1997 and acknowledged in November that he had heart disease but did not appear seriously ill. He died unexpectedly in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on December 21, 2006.

Mollie Orshansky (91) statistician and economist who worked for the Social Security Administration (1958-82) and in the '60s developed the federal poverty line, a measurement that shaped decades of social policy and welfare programs. Orshansky died of cardiopulmonary arrest in New York City on December 18, 2006.

Akhtar Mohammad Osmani (??) top Taliban military commander described as a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Osmani was regarded as highly ideological and was instrumental in some of the excesses of the Taliban rule such as the destruction of the ancient Buddha statues in Bamiyan and the trial of Christian aid workers in 2001. He was killed by a US air strike while traveling by vehicle in a deserted area in the southern province of Helmand, Afghanistan on December 19, 2006.

Verne Smith (81) former South Carolina state senator whose 2001 party switch to the Grand Old Party gave Republicans control of the state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. Smith was known as an advocate for the frail, elderly, and children and worked to expand the state’s Medicaid programs to help them. He resigned in July and died of a bone marrow disease in Columbia, South Carolina on December 17, 2006.

Robert T. Stafford (93) former US senator (R-Vt.), a staunch environmentalist and champion of education whose name is familiar to countless college students through a loan program named for him. In 1988, Congress saluted Stafford’s dedication to education measures and renamed the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan program the Robert T. Stafford Student Loan program. He died in Rutland, Vermont on December 23, 2006.

Society and Religion

Abdul Amir al-Jamri (67) spiritual leader of Bahrain's Shiite opposition, jailed after riots against the country's Sunni leadership. Although he was freed from prison in 1999, the government still regarded the cleric as a divisive figure. Shiites form a slight majority of Bahrain's 700,000 citizens, but the royal family is Sunni Muslim. al-Jamri died of heart and kidney failure in Manama, Bahrain on December 18, 2006.

Mae Burdon (107) one of the oldest residents of Rhode Island, who had recently met Gov. Don Carcieri at the state's annual centenarians' brunch, where she was recognized along with 106-year-old Sam Goldberg of Smithfield. Burdon died after a recent stroke in Providence, Rhode Island on December 18, 2006.

Isabel Crow (100) one of the oldest survivors of the powerful 1936 Gainesville (Ga.) tornado that killed 203 people, injured 1,600, and pretty much destroyed 750 buildings. It became the 25th deadliest tornado in US history. Crow died of pneumonia in Gainesville, Georgia on December 23, 2006.

Anthony Dixon (34) assistant principal at Gardner Middle School in the Lansing (Mich.) School district who allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife's boyfriend and another man. Dixon also critically wounded another person in a search for his ex-wife and her boyfriend. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound (suicide) in Blackman Township, Michigan on December 23, 2006.

Cristin Keleher (34) woman who served four months in jail after entering the home of former Beatle George Harrison in Maui, Hawaii in 1999. Keleher made headlines by entering Harrison's estate, then cooking herself a frozen pizza and helping herself to a root beer. After she did her laundry and called her mother, she was found by the security staff and charged with burglary. She was found shot to death in a murder-suicide in a sport utility vehicle in Truckee, California on December 19, 2006.

Arthur March (79) Texas man who provided key testimony against his son, former attorney Perry March, in the son's trial for the murder of his socialite wife. A retired Army lieutenant colonel and pharmacist, Arthur March testified that he helped his son bury the body of Janet Levine in Kentucky. Levine disappeared in 1996. In August 2006, Perry March was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 56 years in prison. Arthur March also pleaded guilty to taking part in a failed murder plot against Levine's parents and testified against his son in exchange for an 18-month sentence, but the judge ignored the plea agreement and sentenced him to five years. He died in Fort Worth, Texas on December 21, 2006.

Bertram A. Powers (84) longtime head of the New York City printers’ union, who led one of the nation’s longest (114 days, 1962~63) and most debilitating newspaper strikes. The shutdown cost the newspapers an estimated $108 million in lost advertising and circulation revenue, and nearly 20,000 employees were out of work. Years later Powers negotiated a contract that guaranteed his members jobs for life as computers eclipsed their craft. He died of pneumonia in Washington, DC on December 23, 2006.

Ralph Stebbins (43) Michigan man who won a $208 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot in April 2005, the biggest win in the state’s history. Stebbins and his wife elected to take a lump-sum payment of $124.7 million, less taxes. He died of an apparent heart attack in Arcadia Township, Michigan on December 23, 2006.

Piergiorgio Welby (60) paralyzed Italian man at the center of a right-to-die debate. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a teenager, Welby was confined to bed, attached to a respirator, communicated through a voice synthesizer, and was receiving nourishment through a feeding tube. He died of cardiorespiratory arrest after his doctor, at Welby’s request, removed his respirator, days after an Italian court had issued a contentious ruling in the case. Dr. Mario Riccio said that Welby had a constitutionally guaranteed right to refuse treatment, in Rome, Italy on December 20, 2006.


Scobie Breasley (92) Australian jockey, one of the top international sportsmen of the postwar era. When Breasley went to England for the first time, in 1950, no Australian had achieved the status of champion jockey since the legendary Frank Wootton in 1912. Breasley won the title four times, the last in 1963 at age 49. In all, he rode 3,251 winners worldwide. He died of a stroke in Victoria, Australia on December 19, 2006. (Some sources say December 21.)

Melvin Brooks (73) celebrated one-pocket pool hustler. The game, often compared strategically with chess, involves two competitors trying to sink eight balls into a designated pocket while blocking the other player from doing the same thing. Brooks was scheduled to be inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in Louisville, Kentucky on January 9, 2007. He died of lung cancer in Washington, DC one week after his 73rd birthday, on December 17, 2006.

Madeleine Brown (19) competitive swimmer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, a member of the university’s Varsity Swim Team. Brown was found dead in the campus swimming pool of an apparent drowning (possibly caused by epileptic seizures) in Atlanta, Gerogia on December 17, 2006.

Sam Chapman (90) All-American halfback on the last University of California football team to win the Rose Bowl in 1938 who later played baseball with the Philadelphia Athletics. Known for his steady bat, strong arm, and speed in the field, Chapman had his best season in 1941 when he batted .322 and had 178 hits, 106 runs batted in, and 25 home runs. He died of Alzheimer’s disease in Kentfield, California on December 22, 2006.

Anne Rogers Clark (77) first woman professional handler to win best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1956, handling a toy poodle champion named Wilbur White Swan. Clark had attended every Westminster show since 1941 and three times handled the best-in-show winner at America’s top event. She judged 22 times at Westminster and was scheduled to review the terrier group at Madison Square Garden in February 2007. She died in Wilmington, Delaware on December 20, 2006.

Brittanie Montgomery (19) aspiring Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Montgomery was a former dance team member at the University of Central Oklahoma and with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz. This season she was named to the Honeybees, the Hornets' dance team. She was killed in a car accident in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 21, 2006.

Yelena Mukhina (46) Soviet gymnast who won the All-Around title at the 1978 World Chapionships at Strasbourg, France. Mukhina had suffered leg injuries and was later partially paralyzed during a training accident while preparing for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. She died of complications of quadriplegia in Moscow, Russia on December 22, 2006.

Bertie Reed (63) South African yachtsman who sailed solo around the world three times. Reed sailed some 170,000 nautical miles competitively—and over 100,000 solo. He rescued countryman John Martin, whose yacht sank after hitting a submerged iceberg in the Southern Ocean during the 1990-91 BOC Challenge. Reed died of liver cancer near Cape Town, South Africa on December 18, 2006.

Larry Sherry (71) unlikely Most Valuable Player of the 1959 World Series as a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sherry closed out all four of the team's victories over the Chicago White Sox, a meteoric ascent to stardom for a 24-year-old rookie right-hander, pitching in the minor leagues only three months earlier. He died of cancer in Mission Viejo, California on December 17, 2006.

Charles ("Mad Dog") Thornhill (62) linebacker on Michigan State’s powerhouse teams in the ’60s. Thornhill helped the Spartans to post a combined 19-1-1 record during the 1965 and ’66 seasons and led the team in tackles his senior year. He died of heart failure in Lansing, Michigan on December 21, 2006.

Sydney Wooderson (92) British lawyer who held the world record for the mile and whose athletic career was interrupted in its prime by World War II. Wooderson was one of the most versatile middle-distance runners of the ’30s and ’40s. His record in the mile, 4 minutes 6.4 seconds, set in 1937, stood for nearly five years. He died in Wareham, England on December 21, 2006.

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