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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 15, 2011

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Ray Aghayan, Emmy-winning costume designerRobert Boochever, judge of US 9th Circuit CourtPatricia Breslin, actress wife of NFL team owner Art ModellDr. Morris Chafetz, expert on alcoholismRhoda-May Adamson Dallas, Pepperdine U benefactorJoel (‘Taz’) DiGregorio, Charlie Daniels’ keyboardistRobert Galvin, former Motorola CEOBeatrice Gersh, LA art collector and patronFreddie Gruber, jazz drummerMarty Harris, jazz pianistHoward H (‘Tim’) Hays, newspaper executiveFrank Kameny, gay rights leaderBarbara Kent, silent-film starAron Kupperman, CalTech chemistry professorPaul Leka, songwriter and record producerHarold Leppo, headed Lord & TaylorMatthew (‘Marty’) Martinez, former US congressmanSue Mengers, Hollywood superagentVic Miles, NYC TV anchormanPeter Mullen, headed prominent law firmEd Pauls, developed NordicTrackLaura Pollán, wife of Cuban political prisonerDennis Ritchie, computer programming pioneerAlbert Rosellini, former Washington governorJagjit Singh, South Asian singerJames van Doren, made Vans deck shoesLarry Zarian, former mayor of Glendale, Calif.

Art and Literature

Beatrice Gersh (87) art collector and patron of the arts in Los Angeles for more than 50 years who, with her late husband, Hollywood talent agent Phil Gersh (d. 2004), played a significant role in the founding of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Beatrice Gersh died in Los Angeles, California on October 9, 2011.

Business and Science

Dr. Morris Chafetz (87) US physician who played an important role in changing the public perception of alcoholism from social crime or personal failing to a disease requiring treatment. As first director (1970-75) of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, Chafetz became a leading spokesman for the problems of alcoholism and its treatment. He committed suicide the day after the death of his wife, in Washington, DC on October 14, 2011.

Robert Galvin (89) former Motorola chief executive who over nearly 30 years (1959-86) transformed the maker of police radios and TVs into one of the world’s leading electronics companies. Galvin died in Chicago, Illinois on October 11, 2011.

Aron Kupperman (85) Brazilian-born emeritus professor of chemistry at CalTech who pioneered the use of early computers to measure chemical reactions. Kupperman used an IBM 370 mainframe computer during the ‘70s to complete the world’s first three-dimensional picture of a quantum mechanical reaction. He died in Altadena, California on October 15, 2011.

Harold Leppo (74) business executive who oversaw Lord & Taylor’s expansion into a national department store chain as its president during the ‘70s and ’80s. Leppo died of lung cancer in Stamford, Connecticut on October 14, 2011.

Dennis Ritchie (70) pioneer in computer programming who created the popular C programming language and helped to create the Unix operating software. Ritchie had been in frail health in recent years after treatment for prostate cancer and heart disease; he was found dead at his home in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey on October 12, 2011.

James van Doren (72) cofounder in 1966 with his brother Paul of Van Doren Rubber Co., maker of Vans custom canvas deck shoes. In the early ‘80s, when cheaper foreign imitations hit the market, heavy losses sent the company into bankruptcy, and it has been sold several times since 1988. James van Doren died in Fullerton, California on October 12, 2011.


Rhoda-May Adamson Dallas (94) heiress of a pioneering Malibu family who, with her siblings, donated the land that enabled Pepperdine University to establish its campus overlooking the Pacific. Rhoda-May Adamson Dallas died in Studio City, California on October 14, 2011.

News and Entertainment

Ray Aghayan (83) Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated costume designer whose credits included more than a dozen Oscar shows and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In a career that spanned TV, film, and Broadway, Iranian-born Aghayan designed costumes for such stars as Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Dinah Shore, Julie Andrews, Carol Channing, and Doris Day.

 He died in Los Angeles, California on October 10, 2011.

Patricia Breslin (80) actress who appeared on many TV shows, including a memorable episode of The Twilight Zone, and was married to former NFL team owner Art Modell. During a 22-year acting career, Breslin performed on the New York stage, in motion pictures, and on TV. She died in Baltimore, Maryland on October 12, 2011.

Joel (Taz) DiGregorio (67) country star Charlie Daniels’ longtime keyboardist and cowriter of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." DiGregorio was killed when his car flipped going around a curve on Interstate 40 west of Nashville, Tennessee, en route to Georgia for a Charlie Daniels Band concert that has since been canceled, on October 12, 2011.

Freddie Gruber (84) jazz drummer who played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, was close friends with Buddy Rich, and taught such famed rock drummers as Rush’s Neil Peart and session player Jim Keltner (George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Traveling Wilburys). Gruber died in Los Angeles, California on October 11, 2011.

Marty Harris (77) pianist who performed with such jazz and pop greats as Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. Harris died of colon cancer in Toluca Lake, California on October 13, 2011.

Howard H (Tim) Hays (94) former editor, owner, and publisher of the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise for 50 years (1946-97) who led a First Amendment fight that produced two landmark Supreme Court rulings ensuring open courtrooms across the country. Hays died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in St. Louis, Missouri on October 14, 2011.

Barbara Kent (103) one of the last surviving stars of silent films, who performed alongside Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, and Harold Lloyd. Kent died in Palm Desert, California on October 13, 2011.

Paul Leka (68) songwriter and record producer best known for writing the chanting chorus of "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye),” a No. 1 hit in 1969 that was resurrected in the ‘70s as a sports arena anthem. Leka died of lung cancer in Sharon, Connecticut on October 12, 2011.

Sue Mengers (79) former Hollywood superagent whose clients included Barbra Streisand, Cher, Michael Caine, and Joan Collins. At her peak in the early ‘70s, Mengers was one of Hollywood’s most powerful agents, with a client list that also included Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Bob Fosse, Peter Bogdanovich, Ryan O’Neal, Candice Bergen, and Cybill Shepherd. She died of pneumonia after a series of strokes, in Beverly Hills, California on October 15, 2011.

Vic Miles (79) reporter and anchorman for WCBS-TV/Channel 2 in New York for 24 years (1971-95). Miles shared three local Emmys, including one in 1993 for coverage of Hurricane Andrew. He died in New York City on October 12, 2011.

Jagjit Singh (70) South Asian singer who helped to revive and popularize ghazals—a form of Persian poetry set to music expressing the writer’s feelings, especially about love. Singh died of a brain hemorrhage in Mumbai, India on October 10, 2011.

Politics and Military

Matthew (Marty) Martinez (82) former US congressman from California, an advocate for youth and the elderly who switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican after he was voted out of office in 2000. Martinez died in Fredericksburg, Virginia on October 15, 2011.

Laura Pollán (63) Cuban dissident who founded the opposition group Ladies in White and for nearly 10 years staged weekly protest marches with other wives of political prisoners to press for their release. Pollán’s husband, Hector Maseda, was finally released last February. She died of a "cardiorespiratory attack” after doctors had tried for nearly an hour to revive her, in Havana, Cuba on October 14, 2011.

Albert Rosellini (101) former Washington governor (1957-65) who became the oldest living former governor in America. Rosellini’s tenure in office was defined by efforts to reform state prisons and modernize mental health institutions while guiding the creation of the 520 floating bridge that now bears his name. He died of pneumonia in Seattle, Washington on October 10, 2011.

Larry Zarian (73) Iranian-born former mayor of Glendale (Calif.) and the first Armenian-American to be elected to its City Council. Zarian died of blood cancer in Glendale, California on October 13, 2011.

Society and Religion

Robert Boochever (94) New York-born judge who polished his legal skills in prestatehood Alaska before his appointment to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Boochever retired in 2008. He died one week after his 94th birthday, in Pasadena, California on October 9, 2011.

Frank Kameny (86) pioneer in the gay rights movement after he was fired from his job as a government astronomer in 1957 for being gay. Kameny died of a heart attack in Washington, DC on October 11, 2011.

Peter Mullen (83) attorney who joined the Manhattan law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 1961, when it comprised only 10 lawyers. When Mullen stepped down as its de facto chief executive in 1994, it had more than 1,000 and was one of the world’s richest and most prominent firms after handling a long run of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures (1974-89). Mullen died of a heart attack in New Preston, Connecticut on October 15, 2011.


Ed Pauls (80) skier whose frustration at running on ice-slick Minnesota roads led him to develop the cross-country skiing simulator known as the NordicTrack. Pauls died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Montrose, Colorado on October 9, 2011.

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