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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 14, 2009

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Woodie Assaf, longtime Jackson, Miss. TV weathermanJim Axel, longtime Atlanta news anchorDavid F. Belnap, ‘LA Times’ correspondent in Latin AmericaHenry Mayor (‘Hank’) Bourgeois, WWII Black Sheep aviatorFrances Lasker Brody, LA arts patronRobert Cameron, aerial photographerAl Cervi, former pro basketball player and coachJosé Cisneros, illustrator for books, magazines, and newspapersEarl Cooley, one of first smoke jumpersEugene Cotton, labor lawyerGheorghe Dinica, Romanian actorRobert Enke, German soccer goalkeeperDr. William Ganz, coinventor of Swan-Ganz catheterVitaly Ginzburg, Russian physicistThomas J. Graff, California environmentalistSamuel J. Heyman, US corporate raiderThomas Benton Hollyman, magazine photographerWinter D. Horton Jr., broadcasting pioneerTomaz Humar, Slovenian mountain climberDell Hymes, anthropologist, linguist, and folkloristDick Katz, jazz pianistRobert Kendall, actor turned authorHenry Kimelman, made Nixon’s ‘enemies list’Bruce King, three-term New Mexico governorJack Kissell, character actorIrving Kriesberg, abstract expressionist painterJames R. Lilley, former US ambassador to ChinaDavid Lloyd, TV sitcom writerHerbert J. (‘Jack’) Miller Jr., lawyer who negotiated Nixon’s pardonCol. Lewis L. Millett, US veteran of three warsMarvin Minoff, film and TV producerJohn Allen Muhammad, ‘Beltway Sniper’John J. O’Connor, longtime TV critic at ‘NY Times’John J. O’Connor 3rd, husband of former US Supreme Court justiceDavid A. Olsen, MMC board memberDouglas R. Ring, LA philanthropist and developerCharles P. Sifton, federal judge in Brooklyn, NYDonald E. Smallwood, retired Orange County judgeWade F. B. Thompson, NZ-born business executive and philanthropistHuang Tingxin, last Chinese veteran of the 1944 liberation of FrancePaul Wendkos, film and TV director

Art and Literature

Frances Lasker Brody (93) philanthropist, arts advocate, and collector who influenced the development of Los Angeles’s cultural life as a founding benefactor of the LA County Museum of Art and later as a guiding patron of the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Gardens in San Marino. Brody died in Holmby Hills, California on November 12, 2009.

Robert Cameron (98) aerial photographer of spectacular coffee-table books. One of Cameron’s thousands of vibrant color aerial photographs zeroes virtually straight down from above the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge to its anchorage, in Above San Francisco, one of his 19 books showcasing cities or scenic areas. He died in San Francisco, California on November 10, 2009.

José Cisneros (99) artist known for his depictions of the people and culture of the Southwest. Cisneros was known for his historical pen-and-ink illustrations for magazines, books, and newspapers. He died in El Paso, Texas on November 14, 2009.

Thomas Benton Hollyman (89) magazine photographer who worked on the classic movie Lord of the Flies (1963). Hollyman died in Austin, Texas on November 14, 2009.

Robert Kendall (82) former actor who wrote the 1964 novel White Teacher in a Black School, based on the two years he taught public school in south-central Los Angeles. Kendall had small parts in several movies and TV shows, including the 1948 film Casbah with Tony Martin. He died of a heart attack in Seattle, Washington on November 12, 2009.

Irving Kriesberg (90) American painter whose work combined the intense colors of Abstract Expressionism with haunting images of human and animal forms. Kriesberg died of complications from Parkinson’s disease in New York City on November 11, 2009.

Business and Science

Dr. William Ganz (90) pioneering Slovakian-born cardiologist and coinventor of a specialized catheter. In 1970, Ganz and Dr. H.J.C. Swan invented a balloon-tipped catheter that measures heart function and blood flow in critically ill patients. The Swan-Ganz Catheter is still used by physicians across the world. Ganz died in Los Angeles, California on November 10, 2009.

Vitaly Ginzburg (93) Nobel-winning Russian physicist and one of the fathers of the Soviet hydrogen bomb. Ginsburg won the 2003 Nobel Prize in physics with two other scientists for their contribution to theories on superconductivity, the ability of some materials to conduct electricity without resistance. He died of cardiac arrest in Moscow, Russia on November 8, 2009.

Samuel J. Heyman (70) corporate raider who preferred to hold onto companies he bought and run them rather that sell them for a quick profit. Heyman was most recently chairman of the GAF Corp., a manufacturer of roofing materials, and a chemical company spun off from GAF, called International Specialty Products, both based in Wayne, New Jersey. He died of complications from open-heart surgery in New York City on November 8, 2009.

Dell Hymes (82) anthropologist, linguist, and folklorist whose work explored the often overlooked territory where language and culture meet. Hymes was Commonwealth professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Virginia, where he had taught (1987-98) until his retirement. He had been described variously as a sociolinguist, an anthropological linguist, and a linguistic anthropologist. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 13, 2009.

David A. Olsen (71) Marsh & McLennan Cos. board member since 1997. Olsen joined the insurance company after it bought Johnson & Higgins, of which he had been chief executive since 1990. He died in New York City on November 14, 2009.

Douglas R. Ring (65) Los Angeles philanthropist and developer with extensive holdings in Marina del Rey, whose civic commitments included rebuilding the LA Central Library after two devastating arson fires. Ring had undergone recent surgery and was on medication. An accidental drug overdose was suspected when he was found dead in his Brentwood, California home on November 12, 2009.

Wade F. B. Thompson (69) New Zealander who revived Airstream travel trailers and led a campaign to renovate the historic Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. Thompson died of colon cancer in New York City on November 12, 2009.

News and Entertainment

Woodie Assaf (92) longtime Jackson TV weathercaster and the longest-serving TV weatherman in the US. A Mississippi native, Assaf worked for WLBT-TV for nearly 50 years, starting with the station’s first day in 1953 and retiring in 2001. He also was a popular on-air personality and fund-raiser for disaster relief and charities. He died in Jackson, Mississippi on November 13, 2009.

Jim Axel (75) veteran WAGA-TV news anchor in Atlanta for 34 years (1962-96). Axel died of lung cancer in Venice, Florida on November 14, 2009.

David F. Belnap (87) award-winning foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in Latin America who later became a respected editor. Belnap won the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University in 1973 for his coverage of Latin America. He died of heart failure in Arcadia, California on November 8, 2009.

Gheorghe Dinica (75) popular Romanian actor who played a variety of characters such as villainous politicians and defiant Gypsies in dozens of plays and movies. Dinica died of pneumonia in Bucharest, Romania on November 10, 2009.

Winter D. Horton Jr. (80) broadcasting pioneer who cofounded KCET in Los Angeles, helped to shape US public TV programming in the ‘60s, and later was appointed to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors. A nephew of the late stage and screen actor Edward Everett Horton (d. 1970), Winter Horton died in Pasadena, California on November 12, 2009.

Dick Katz (85) pianist, record producer, educator, and writer whose knowledge of jazz from the stride-piano era to ‘60s modernism made him unique on New York’s jazz scene for 60 years. Katz died of lung cancer in New York City on November 10, 2009.

Jack Kissell 

(79) character actor well known in the Alcoholics Anonymous movement in Los Angeles. Kissell had small parts on TV, including appearances on the sitcom Life with Bonnie and in local theater productions. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer and died in Torrance, California on November 12, 2009.

David Lloyd (75) TV comedy writer who wrote scores of scripts for some of the most popular TV sitcoms of the ‘70s-’90s—including the memorable "Chuckles the Clown” episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, revered by comedy connoisseurs for wringing belly laughs from a funeral. Lloyd died of prostate cancer, diagnosed in 1988, in Beverly Hills, California on November 10, 2009.

Marvin Minoff (78) film and TV producer whose credits include the movies Patch Adams and Dominick & Eugene and David Frost’s broadcast interviews with former US President Richard M. Nixon. Minoff had been married since 1980 to actress Bonnie Franklin, star of the TV sitcom One Day at a Time (1975-84). He died in Los Angeles, California on November 11, 2009.

John J. O'Connor (76) TV critic for the New York Times for more than 25 years (1971-97) who covered the medium as it expanded from a business dominated by three networks to hundreds of cable and broadcast channels. O’Connor’s tenure coincided with sweeping industry changes, beginning with the advent of the miniseries. He died of lung cancer, diagnosed only four weeks ago, in New York City on November 13, 2009.

Paul Wendkos (84) director whose career spanned 50 years and covered some 100 films and TV shows including the 1959 surf movie Gidget. On TV, Wendkos directed movies and miniseries such as The Legend of Lizzie Borden, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, and A Woman Called Moses with Cicely Tyson. He died of a lung infection that followed a stroke, in Malibu, California on November 12, 2009.

Politics and Military

Henry Mayor (Hank) Bourgeois (88) one of the last surviving aviators from World War II’s famed Black Sheep Squadron. Bourgeois joined the Marine Corps in 1940, served during both WWII and the Korean War, and retired from the military after 20 years; but the duty for which he was best remembered was with the Marine Fighting Squadron 214. Serving under Lt. Col. Gregory ("Pappy”) Boyington, the unit became known as the Black Sheep Squadron in the South Pacific, shooting down 94 Japanese planes over the Northern Solomon Islands and Rabaul. The unit was the subject of a TV series entitled Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976-78), starring Robert Conrad as Boyington. Bourgeois died in Covington, Louisiana on November 9, 2009.

Earl Cooley (98) one of the first two men to parachute from a plane to fight a forest fire, under a new US Forest Service program in July 1940 that became famed for both efficiency and audacity. Those who jump and battle flames—and for many years they were all men—are called smoke jumpers; their job is to reach remote fires in hours that might take days to reach on foot, and to extinguish blazes before they become big. The Forest Service’s 2008 report on the smoke jumper program estimated that it saves millions of dollars annually in fire suppression costs. Cooley died in Missoula, Montana on November 9, 2009.

Thomas J. Graff (65) lawyer and environmentalist who helped to influence California water policy as regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund for 37 years. Graff opened the California office of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1971 and helped it to become one of the most powerful voices on environmental issues such as climate change, oceans, and water policy. He died of thyroid cancer in Oakland, California on November 12, 2009.

Henry Kimelman (88) businessman and former US ambassador to Haiti whose fund-raising and support for Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) in the 1972 Presidential campaign earned him a spot on President Richard M. Nixon’s "enemies list.” Kimelman died of heart failure in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 9, 2009.

Bruce King (85) former New Mexico governor, a back-slapping, hand-pumping, old-fashioned Democrat politician, equally at home on the ranch or in the Roundhouse. King served a total of 12 years as governor in separate terms that spanned three decades (1970-94). He died in Stanley, New Mexico on November 13, 2009.

James R. Lilley (81) longtime CIA operative in Asia and later US ambassador to China during the time of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Lilley died of prostate cancer in Washington, DC on November 12, 2009.

Herbert J. (Jack) Miller Jr. (85) Justice Department lawyer in the ‘60s who pursued James R. Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union, on jury-tampering and other charges and later helped to negotiate the unconditional pardon of former President Richard M. Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. Miller died of renal failure in Rockville, Maryland on November 14, 2009.

Col. Lewis L. Millett (88) retired US Army colonel and veteran of three wars who received a Medal of Honor for leading a bayonet charge up a heavily defended hill during the Korean War. In a 31-year career in the Army that included service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, Millett won numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, three Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts, and three Air Medals. He died in Loma Linda, California on November 14, 2009.

Huang Tingxin (91) last Chinese veteran of the 1944 liberation of France. Huang was an officer aboard the British aircraft carrier HMA Searcher during the invasion of southern France known as Operation Dragoon. He reportedly suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died in Beijing, China on November 11, 2009.

Society and Religion

Eugene Cotton (95) labor lawyer whose negotiating skills helped to improve the wages and workplace conditions of tens of thousands of meatpacking workers. Cotton died in New York City on November 11, 2009.

John Allen Muhammad (48) mastermind behind the sniper attacks that left 10 dead in a killing spree that terrorized the Washington, DC area for three weeks in October 2002. Victim after victim was shot down while doing everyday chores: shopping, pumping gas, mowing the lawn. Muhammad never explained his motives. He was executed by lethal injection in Jarrett, Virginia on November 10, 2009.

John J. O'Connor 3rd (79) husband of retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Also a lawyer, John O’Connor was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease nearly 20 years ago. He died of complications from the disease in Phoenix, Arizona on November 11, 2009.

Charles P. Sifton (74) federal judge in Brooklyn whose rulings paved the way for women to join the New York Fire Department and for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to run for a third term. In more than 30 years on the bench, Sifton presided over civil rights and school desegregation cases and trials of Mafia chieftains, Irish terrorists, and Joseph M. Margiotta, the Nassau County Republican leader convicted in 1983 of mail fraud. The judge died of complications of sarcoidosis, a lung disease, in Brooklyn, New York on November 9, 2009.

Donald E. Smallwood (81) retired Orange County (Calif.) Superior Court presiding judge. Smallwood was honored for his work in helping battered women with initiatives such as a rotating system for judges or commissioners to be on standby if a woman needed an emergency protective order.

 He died from complications after cancer surgery, in Duarte, California on November 12, 2009.


Al Cervi (92) backcourt player in the early years of professional basketball and later a Hall of Fame coach who led the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 NBA championship. Cervi died in Rochester, New York on November 9, 2009.

Robert Enke (32) soccer goalkeeper expected to play for Germany at the 2010 World Cup. Enke played for the German club Hannover. He had been diagnosed with a bacterial stomach ailment and missed nine weeks before returning Oct. 31 and playing two Bundesliga games. He had not been selected for Germany’s exhibition games against Chile and Ivory Coast, but coach Joachim Loew had said Enke remained the leading candidate for Germany’s goalie at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He died after being hit by a train, an apparent suicide in Frankfurt, Germany on November 10, 2009.

Tomaz Humar (40) veteran Slovenian mountain climber. Humar last contacted his base on Nov. 9 to say that he had broken a leg while climbing Langtang Lirung, a 23,710-foot (7,227-meters) mountain in the Himalayas. Heavy snowfall on Nov. 11-12 forced climbers to postpone searches because of increased avalanche risk. Humar was found dead on November 14, 2009.

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