Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 15, 2008

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

Miriam Makeba, South African singerPreacher Roe, Brooklyn Dodgers' spitball pitcherShannon Adkins, studied crash deathsBaird Bryant, documentary filmmakerMatthew J. Cianciulli, former Pennsylvania state legislatorAmanda Collette, Florida school shooting victimMac, Houston Zoo baby elephantDonald Finkel, St. Louis poetWalter Gabrielson, witty painter and writerBetty S. Garber, photographer of trucks and truckersIrving Gertz, film and TV composerChristel Goltz, German-language sopranoPaula Goodspeed, former 'American Idol' contestantGrace Hartigan, abstract expressionist painterWalter W. Hoffman, descendant of Ventura County (Calif.) pioneersGeorge W. Housner, pioneer in earthquake engineeringTom Hunt, nephew of famed oilman H. L. HuntDr. Adrian Kantrowitz, pioneering heart surgeonNikola Kavaja, Yugoslav anti-CommunistCarl D. Keith, coinventor of catalytic converterTsvetanka Khristova, Olympic athleteCatherine Baker Knoll, Pennsylvania's first female lieutenant governorJan Krugier, Holocaust survivor and art dealerVu Ky, Vietnamese author and journalistChip Lumar, son-in-law of James BrownDenard Manns, Texas killerMaria Elena Marques, Mexican actressMitch Mitchell, drummer for Jimi Hendrix ExperienceAlex Omalev, former Cal State Fullerton basketball coachKeith Pruitt, TV actor and composerJack Reader, longtime NFL officialRay Routledge, former Mr. America and UniverseHerb Score, pitcher hit by line drivePeter B. Scuderi, US Magistrate judgeArthur J. Shawcross, NY state serial killerRichard Shortway, former publisher of 'Vogue'George Whitaker 3rd, Texas killerLee Wright, salsa dancing champion

Art and Literature

Donald Finkel (79) American poet whose work was full of strange juxtapositions that helped to illuminate the function of poetry itself. Finkel was poet in residence emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, where he had taught (1960-91). His work appeared in the New Yorker and other publications. He died of complications from Alzheimer's disease in St. Louis, Missouri on November 15, 2008.

Walter Gabrielson (73) prolific artist, teacher, and writer who interpreted human behavior in richly colored paintings and poked fun at the art world with vivid wit. As a painter, Gabrielson portrayed human foibles and social interactions in soft-edged silhouettes. He died of complications from a rare form of anemia in Santa Barbara, California on November 12, 2008.

Grace Hartigan (86) second-generation Abstract Expressionist whose vividly colored paintings often incorporated images drawn from popular culture, leading some critics to see in them precursors of Pop Art. Hartigan died of liver failure in Baltimore, Maryland on November 15, 2008.

Jan Krugier (80) art dealer and Auschwitz survivor who collected the works of Picasso and other renowned artists to help himself move past the horrors of the Nazi era. Krugier died of an infection in Geneva, Switzerland on November 15, 2008.

Vu Ky (88) Vietnamese-born teacher, author, and journalist. The author of nearly 30 works of literature across a variety of genres, Vu was recommended for a Nobel Prize in literature in 2003 by the US branch of the Overseas Vietnamese Pen Club. He devoted his life's work to the fight for the independence and democracy of a Vietnam free of communism. After watching his native country fall into the hands of Communist invaders, he was forced to live in exile in Europe. He died in Brussels, Belgium on November 14, 2008.

Business and Science

George W. Housner (97) engineer who pioneered the modern field of earthquake engineering, developing the most complete mathematical system to analyze the effects of ground shaking on structures. Housner's interest in earthquake engineering was spurred by the March 10, 1933 earthquake in Long Beach, later estimated at magnitude 6.3; brick buildings with unreinforced masonry walls, including many school buildings, failed catastrophically, killing 115 people. Housner died in Pasadena, California on November 10, 2008.

Tom Hunt (85) former chairman of Hunt Petroleum, a nephew of famed oilman H. L. Hunt. Tom Hunt was a savvy businessman who helped to turn Hunt Petroleum into a billion-dollar company. He died of leukemia about five months after he helped to engineer the $4.19-billion sale of Hunt Petroleum to XTO Energy, in Dallas, Texas on November 11, 2008.

Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz (90) surgeon who performed the first human heart transplant in the US in 1967 and pioneered the development of mechanical devices to prolong the life of patients with heart failure. Kantrowitz died of heart failure in Ann Arbor, Michigan on November 14, 2008.

Carl D. Keith (88) coinventor of the three-way automotive catalytic converter—a major advance in eliminating the toxic tailpipe emissions that once blanketed cities in smog. Working with John J. Mooney and a team of other chemical engineers at the Engelhard Corp., one of the world's largest mineral refining companies, Keith designed the three-way catalytic converter in the early '70s, just as the stricter emission requirements of the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970 were coming into effect. He died in New Bern, North Carolina on November 9, 2008.

Richard Shortway (84) longtime publisher (1969-87) of the US edition of Vogue magazine and a former senior executive at Conde Nast, for whom he worked for 46 years. After leaving Vogue, Shortway spent five years in London for Conde Nast as publishing director of British Vogue. He also launched British GQ and the British edition of Vanity Fair. He died of cancer in Bel-Air, California on November 10, 2008.


Shannon Adkins (18) North Carolina teen who graduated from Clayton High School last spring after turning in a senior project report about the risks facing teen drivers, who lead the state in auto-related deaths on the mainly rural roads of Johnston County. Since 2006, more than 25 teens have died in car wrecks on Johnston roads. Adkins was killed in a head-on car accident caused by a drunk driver in Smithfield, North Carolina on November 10, 2008.

News and Entertainment

Baird Bryant (80) documentary filmmaker and cinematographer who made his name on edgy films such as Easy Rider (1969) and the Rolling Stones's Gimme Shelter (1970). Bryant made more than 20 other movies, including The Cool World, a 1964 movie that grittily portrayed juvenile delinquency in Harlem, and Broken Rainbow, an '85 Oscar-winning documentary about the Navajo. He also worked on Heart of Tibet, a 1991 documentary on the Dalai Lama. Bryant died of complications after surgery in Hemet, California on November 13, 2008.

Bette S. Garber (65) photojournalist who specialized in documenting trucks and truckers. Garber was known in particular for her images of custom semis, the decorated tractor-trailers that roam the country's highways like rolling works of art, painted along their lengths like murals—depicting panoramic landscapes, medieval dragons, or sweeping scenes from Gone with the Wind—their hoods and fenders sculptured, their bodies and chrome trim polished. She spent the last 30 years chronicling the lives of long-haul truckers for the country's best-read trucking magazines, among them Truckers News, American Trucker, and RoadStar, and wrote four profusely illustrated coffee-table books. She died of pneumonia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 13, 2008.

Irving Gertz (93) film and TV composer who contributed music to '50s sci-fi films such as It Came from Outer Space and The Incredible Shrinking Man and to '60s TV series such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Gertz died in Los Angeles, California on November 14, 2008.

Christel Goltz (96) soprano, a stalwart of the Vienna State Opera who performed in German-language roles across the world in the '50s. Goltz was famed for her roles in Richard Strauss's Salome, in Beethoven's Fidelio, and in productions of works by Wagner and Verdi. She died in Baden, Austria on November 15, 2008.

Paula Goodspeed (30) onetime contestant on the hit reality TV show American Idol, described as a "really big fan" of former pop star and Idol judge Paula Abdul. Goodspeed auditioned for season 5 and was featured in a four-minute segment of the talent series in Austin, Texas before the judges flatly rejected her. Over the next few years, the police were called to Abdul's home on numerous occasions to deal with Goodspeed's stalking behavior owing to her "unnatural obsession" with Abdul. Goodspeed was found dead in her car, an apparent suicide by drug overdose, outside Abdul's home in Los Angeles, California on November 12, 2008.

Darren ("Chip") Lumar (38) prominent Atlanta businessman and son-in-law of entertainer James Brown who once said in an interview on CBS 46 that he felt his father-in-law's death was suspicious and questioned Brown's death because there was no autopsy, only weeks after the Godfather of Soul died on Christmas Day, 2006. Lumar's escapades landed him in the spotlight in recent years, including a 2007 bitter divorce from the late soul singer's daughter Yamma Brown Lumar, and a sexual assault and battery charge when two former employees accused him of raping one of them and writing bad checks at his business, Pinnacle International Partners. He was shot and killed in an apparent contract killing outside his home in Atlanta, Georgia on November 12, 2008.

Miriam Makeba (76) South African singer banned from her own country for 30 years under apartheid. Makeba performed with musical legends from around the world—jazz maestros Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon—and sang for world leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. She was also the first African woman to win a Grammy. After 30 years abroad, Makeba was invited back to South Africa by Mandela, the antiapartheid icon, shortly after his release from prison in 1990 as white racist rule crumbled. She collapsed at the end of a concert and died of a heart attack overnight in Castel Volturno, Italy on November 9, 2008.

Maria Elena Marques (83) Mexican actress, one of the few surviving stars of Mexico's "Golden Age" of movies in the '40s and early '50s, who starred in the 1947 movie The Pearl. Marques played the wife of a fisherman who finds a beautiful but ill-fated pearl in the film, based on a novel by John Steinbeck, which won a Golden Globe for the luminous cinematography of Gabriel Figueroa. Marques also appeared in the 1943 movie Dona Barbara and later played American Indian roles in a pair of US films. She died of heart failure in Mexico on November 11, 2008.

Mitch Mitchell (61) drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the '60s and the group's last surviving member (guitarist Hendrix died in 1970, bassist Noel Redding in 2003). Mitchell had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Nov. 7 in Portland, the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour. He was found dead in his Portland, Oregon hotel room on November 12, 2008.

Keith Pruitt (47) TV, stage, and film actor and classical composer who wrote major symphonic works and ballets for numerous New York production companies. Pruitt supported his composing career by acting in several feature films and daytime soap operas, including regular appearances in As the World Turns, The Guiding Light, and Loving, and was featured in director John Waters' movie Hairspray (1988) playing the lead singer of a rock band. In recent years Pruitt became involved in antiviolence projects after he survived a vicious hate crime attack in 1994 when he and a male companion were savagely beaten with golf clubs by a trio of young men who shouted homophobic epithets. Pruitt was found dead in his Greenwich Village, New York apartment on November 12, 2008. Initial autopsy reports indicate that he choked to death after being treated for esophageal problems stemming from a home fire in which he was badly injured in 2007.

Lee Wright (24) up-and-coming British salsa dancer and instructor, a popular figure on south London's dance scene with partner Shelley Cook. The pair became UK National Professional Champions when they won a silver medal at the European Salsa Masters Championships in 2006. Wright was one of two persons killed in a three-vehicle car accident in Malaga, Spain on November 9, 2008.

Politics and Military

Matthew J. Cianciulli (66) retired grocer and former Pennsylvania state representative convicted of voter fraud. A Democrat, Cianciulli represented south Philadelphia in the Legislature after winning elections in 1976 and '78. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison in October 1979 for conspiring to encourage people to give false addresses on voter-registration forms so they could vote in his district. He resigned from office and, after losing appeals, served 11 months. He died of heart failure in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 15, 2008.

Nikola Kavaja (75) Yugoslav-born anti-Communist who hijacked an American Airlines Boeing 707 in New York in 1979 and flew it over the Atlantic with the aim of crashing it into Yugoslav Communist Party headquarters in a high-rise in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Kavaja abandoned his hijack mission in Ireland, saying at the time he was not sure of the exact location of the downtown party office and did not want innocent civilians to die if the jet missed the target. He was extradited to the US and spent 18 years in a federal prison on hijack charges. He was released on parole and returned to Serbia in 1999. He died of a heart attack in Belgrade, Serbia on November 10, 2008.

Catherine Baker Knoll (78) Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, first woman elected to that position. A former schoolteacher and Democrat veteran, Knoll won two terms as state treasurer (1988, '92); in 2002, she beat out eight other candidates in the Democrat primary for lieutenant governor and later won the office as Gov. Ed Rendell's running mate. She was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in July and recently developed a viral infection after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments. She died in Washington, DC on November 12, 2008.

Society and Religion

Amanda Collette (15) student at Fort Lauderdale's Dillard High School, shot and fatally wounded in the chest by another female student after a brief argument in a crowded hallway near the school's computer lab. Police arrested Teah Wimberly (15) outside a local seafood restaurant where she later summoned authorities, and charged her with first-degree murder. Collette later died of her wounds in Forth Lauderdale, Florida on November 12, 2008.

Mac the Elephant (2) Asian elephant that weighed 384 pounds when he was born in October 2006, the largest of his kind born in captivity at a US zoo. Mac learned more than 30 behaviors before he turned 1, something previously unheard of in elephants. But his energy suddenly vanished as he became lethargic and lost his appetite, two symptoms of elephant herpesvirus, which causes blood vessels to weaken. He died at the Houston (Texas) Zoo on November 9, 2008.

Walter W. Hoffman (86) son of a Ventura County (Calif.) founding family instrumental in getting the current Museum of Ventura County built. Hoffman was a great-grandson of William Dewey Hobson, called the father of Ventura County for spearheading a drive to separate the region from Santa Barbara County in 1872. Hoffman died in Camarillo, California on November 13, 2008.

Denard Manns (42) former New York hair stylist with a long criminal record. After serving two prison terms for armed robbery, Manns was convicted of robbing, raping, and murdering 26-year-old Army medic Michelle Robson at her apartment near Fort Hood, Texas in 1998. He was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas on November 13, 2008.

Peter B. Scuderi (80) US Magistrate judge who served in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for more than 30 years. Scuderi was first appointed to the federal bench in 1974. He was raised in south Philadelphia by immigrant parents with little formal education but worked his way through Temple University and Duke Law School. Scuderi died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 13, 2008.

Arthur J. Shawcross (63) serial killer serving life in prison for strangling 11 women in the Rochester area. Shawcross's 13-week trial for 10 of the killings included graphic testimony about mutilation and cannibalism. His victims, most of them prostitutes, were killed from March 1988 to January '90. At the time, he was on parole after serving 15 years in prison for killing two children in Watertown, New York in 1972. He had been taken from the Sullivan state prison in Fallsburg, New York to a hospital in Albany after complaining of leg pain. He died in Albany, New York on November 10, 2008.

George Whitaker 3rd (37) Texas man sentenced to death for gunning down 16-year-old Shakeitha Carrier, younger sister of his former girlfriend, during a murderous rampage against the family that also left Carrier's mother and 5-year-old sister seriously wounded at their eastern Houston home in 1994. Whitaker was said to have been despondent about the breakup with the slain girl's older sister about two months before the murder. He had exhausted his appeals and lost a clemency bid, clearing the way for him to become the 16th Texas inmate executed this year. He was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas on November 12, 2008.


Elwin Charles ("Preacher") Roe (92) left-hander from the Ozarks who became a star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, featuring superb control and an illegal spitball he only belatedly confessed to throwing. In the late '40s and early '50s, when the Dodgers teams that became known as the Boys of Summer largely dominated the National League, Roe emerged as one of baseball's leading pitchers. He led the league in winning percentage in 1949, when he was 15-6 for a mark of .714, and in '51, when he was 22-3 for .880. He won 44 games and lost only 8 (1951-53). He pitched for three Dodger pennant winners and was an All-Star every season (1949-52). Roe died of colon cancer in West Plains, Missouri on November 9, 2008.

Tsvetanka Khristova (46) Bulgarian track-and-field athlete who became one of the European Championships' most outstanding discus thrower throughout the early '80s until her last competition at the 2004 Athens Olympics during her recent years working as a coach. Khristova won a bronze at the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea in 1988 and four years later won a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics in '92. She died of cancer in Kazanlak, Bulgaria on November 14, 2008.

Alex Omalev (88) Michigan-born son of Yugoslavian immigrants, the first men's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton who led the Titans for 12 seasons starting in 1960 after having coached for 11 years at Fullerton College. Fluent in Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and German, Omalev was language coordinator for basketball at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, overseeing a team of translators for players, officials, and the media. He also was a translator for Vlade Divac when the Serb joined the Lakers in 1989. Omalev died in Fullerton, California on November 10, 2008.

Jack Reader (82) football official who spent nearly 50 years officiating for the NFL and worked two Super Bowls, the first and the third (1967, '69). Reader played football at Holy Cross, graduating in 1950. He died of cancer one day before his 83rd birthday, in Hingham, Massachusetts on November 10, 2008.

Ray Routledge (77) bodybuilder who held the titles of Mr. America and Mr. Universe in 1961. Routledge appeared on the cover of several muscle magazines in the '60s and competed as a bodybuilder into the '70s. He won several muscleman competitions (1958-62), including amateur Mr. Universe, organized by the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association, and Mr. America, then sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union. He suffered from cancer and was found dead in his San Bernardino, California apartment on November 12, 2008.

Herb Score (75) Cleveland Indians pitcher and former broadcaster whose promise on the mound was shattered by a line drive. A hard-throwing left-hander with a big fastball, Score pitched for the Indians (1955-59). He was named American League Rookie of the Year in 1955 after going 16-10. But his career took a sad turn on May 7, 1957, when Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees lined a ball off Score's right eye, breaking his nose and several bones in his face. He never won more than nine games after that and retired in 1962 with a 55-46 record and 837 strikeouts in 858-plus innings. He joined the Indians' TV broadcast team in 1964 and moved to radio in '68. Score had been in a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2002 and died in Rocky River, Ohio on November 11, 2008.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top