Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 4, 2012

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

Gore Vidal, author, playwright, and commentatorUlku Adatepe, adopted daughter of Turkey’s first presidentMaeve Binchy, popular Irish authorRoy S. Bryce-Laporte, sociologistDr. George F. Cahill Jr., diabetes expertFrank Costa, jockey turned horse trainerJanelle D. (‘Jeannie’) Cox, longtime day-care professionalJohn Finnegan, character actorMartin Fleischmann, ‘cold fusion’ scientistHanly Funderburk, former Eastern Kentucky U presidentFrank Godden, ‘Mr. Val Verde’Gerald Gold, NY Times editorJimmy Jones, R&B singer and songwriterEsther Kartiganer, ‘60 Minutes’ producerSir John Keegan, British military historianJohn Kelsey, LA architectChris Marker, French filmmakerPaul W. McCracken, economic adviser to US PresidentsDeAndre McCullough, Baltimore drug dealerBernd Meier, Geman goalkeeper and coachJohn J. Merrick, Malibu District judgeJean Merrill, children’s authorJohn Phelan Jr., former NYSE chairmanMarguerite Piazza, operatic TV and concert singerMary Louise Milligan Rasmuson, Alaskan philanthropistDr. William C. Reeves, epidemiologistMark Schneider, Pittsburgh real estate developerDavid Scott, director of opera at Cal State NorthridgeJoan Stein, Tony-winning producerR. Peter Straus, NYC radio pioneerStuart Swanlund, guitarist with Marshall Tucker BandMihaela Ursuleasa, Romanian classical pianistJoe Walsh, Harvard baseball coach

Art and Literature

Maeve Binchy (72) best-selling Irish author, one of Ireland’s most popular writers who sold more than 40 million books worldwide. Binchy was best known for her depictions of human relationships and their crises, mainly in the small towns of Ireland but also in London. In recent years she continued to write despite being slowed down by arthritis and a heart ailment. She died in Dublin, Ireland on July 30, 2012.

John Kelsey (86) Los Angeles architect who in the late ‘60s, with his business partner Thomas Ladd (d. 2010), designed what is now Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum. Kelsey died in Santa Barbara, California on August 4, 2012.

Jean Merrill (89) children’s author best known for her 1964 book, The Pushcart War, about street peddlers in New York who use (nonlethal) guerrilla tactics and publicity maneuvers to fight back when Big Business threatens to banish their pushcarts from the streets. Merrill died of cancer in Randolph, Vermont on August 2, 2012.

Gore Vidal (86) US author, playwright, and commentator whose novels, essays, plays, and opinions were stamped by his wit and wisdom. Vidal was among the last generation of literary writers, like Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, who were also genuine celebrities—fixtures on talk shows and in gossip columns, with such larger-than-life personalities that even those who hadn’t read their books knew who they were. His works included the Tony-nominated play The Best Man, revived on Broadway this year, and the best-selling novel Myra Breckinridge. Vidal died of pneumonia in the Hollywood Hills, California on July 31, 2012.

Business and Science

Dr. George F. Cahill Jr. (85) diabetes expert who made important discoveries about the role of insulin in metabolism by studying research subjects on starvation diets and testified for the prosecution at both trials (1982, ‘85) of Claus von Bülow on charges of trying to murder his wife with insulin. Cahill died of pneumonia in Peterborough, New Hampshire on July 30, 2012.

Janelle D. (Jeannie) Cox (62) Mississippi day-care professional who ran her own private day-care center for 34 years, single-handedly caring for seven preschool children at a time. Cox died of cancer in Laurel, Mississippi on July 31, 2012.

Martin Fleischmann (85) British chemist who stunned the world in 1989 by announcing that he had achieved nuclear fusion, the process that heats the sun, in a glass bottle. The announcement raised the hope of a shortcut to fusion as a clean, renewable, and cheap energy source; but when other scientists tried to duplicate the experiment, most failed, and "cold fusion” was quickly labeled junk science. Fleischmann died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on August 3, 2012.

Frank Godden (101) as an assistant to a real estate developer in the ‘20s, Godden played a significant role in the development of Val Verde, a secluded and long-closed local resort community known as "the black Palm Springs” in the Santa Clarita Valley at a time when the region’s black citizens were barred from beaches, parks, and other attractions. Godden died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on August 3, 2012.

John Phelan Jr. (81) former vice chairman, president, then chairman (1975-90) of the New York Stock Exchange who steered the NYSE through a period of growth, modernization, and change. Phelan died of prostate cancer in New York City on August 4, 2012.

Dr. William C. Reeves (69) epidemiologist who fought his own federal agency to obtain funds to study chronic fatigue syndrome, then infuriated patients with the ailment by suggesting that it was linked to psychological problems rather than a virus. Reeves died in Atlanta, Georgia on August 3, 2012.

Mark Schneider (55) real estate developer who pushed for the development of Heinz Field, PNC Park, and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. Schneider was on a bicycle trip with his son, Max, when he had an accident on July 28 near Thurmont, Md. He died a day later at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, on July 29, 2012.


Roy S. Bryce-Laporte (78) sociologist who led one of the US’s first African-American studies departments, at Yale University, and did research that advanced understanding of blacks who came to the US voluntarily rather than as slaves. Bryce-Laporte had suffered a series of small strokes and died in Sykesville, Maryland on July 31, 2012.

Hanly Funderburk (81) former Eastern Kentucky University president who guided the school from 1985 until his retirement in ’98. Funderburk’s vision for regional outreach is credited with leading to the development of EKU campuses at Corbin, Manchester, and Danville. He died in his native Alabama on August 3, 2012.

Sir John Keegan (78) Englishman widely considered the preeminent military historian of his era and the author of more than 20 books, including the masterwork The Face of Battle. Keegan died in Kilmington, England on August 2, 2012.

David Scott (82) longtime director of opera and chairman of the voice department at Cal State Northridge who turned a fledgling program into one with a national reputation. Scott died in Hollywood, California after suffering injuries in a car accident, on August 4, 2012.

News and Entertainment

John Finnegan (85) character actor who portrayed a scout in the 1984 baseball film The Natural and regularly appeared on TV’s Columbo. Finnegan died of pneumonia in Palm Desert, California on July 29, 2012.

Gerald Gold (85) New York Times editor who in 1971 helped to supervise the task of combing through a secret 47-volume Defense Department history of the Vietnam War, later known as the Pentagon Papers, to produce articles showing that officials had lied about the war. Gold died of heart failure in Melville, New York on August 1, 2012.

Jimmy Jones (82) rhythm and blues singer who cowrote the 1960 top-10 hit "Handy Man,” which Del Shannon and James Taylor later covered. Jones died in Aberdeen, North Carolina on August 2, 2012.

Esther Kartiganer (74) former senior producer in charge of vetting content on CBS’s 60 Minutes who became entangled in a controversy over a program segment in 2004 that raised questions about President George W. Bush’s military service during the Vietnam War. Kartiganer died of a heart attack in Aspen, Colorado on August 1, 2012.

Chris Marker (91) award-winning French filmmaker. Many critics count Marker, with his experimental documentary style, as among the most influential French filmmakers of the postwar era. He died one day after his 91st birthday, in Paris, France on July 29, 2012.

Marguerite Piazza (86) singer whose voice could pack a concert hall while her face and figure captivated TV audiences on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows. At the height of her career in the ‘50s, Piazza performed with the Metropolitian Opera. She died of congestive heart failure in Memphis, Tennessee on August 2, 2012.

Joan Stein (59) Tony-winning theater and TV producer whose Broadway credits include the recent musicals Catch Me If You Can and 9 to 5 and the 2002 revival of The Elephant Man. In 1999 Stein won a Tony as one of the producers of the Broadway play Side Man, a drama set in the postwar jazz world. She died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on August 3, 2012.

R. Peter Straus (89) broadcaster who took over WMCA in New York in the late ‘50s and turned it into one of the US’s most innovative radio stations, broadcasting what are regarded as the first radio editorials and political endorsements and helping to popularize rock ‘n’ roll. Straus died in New York City on August 4, 2012.

Stuart Swanlund (54) Marshall Tucker Band guitarist. Swanlund joined the band in 1985 after it had split up and regrouped. He died in his sleep in Chicago, Illinois on August 4, 2012.

Mihaela Ursuleasa (33) internationally renowned Romanian pianist. Ursaleasa played at New York’s Carnegie Hall, with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester in Berlin, with Orchestre National de France, and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She was found dead from a cerebral hemorrhage in her apartment in Vienna, Austria on August 2, 2012.

Politics and Military

Paul W. McCracken (96) moderate Republican, an economic adviser to both Republican and Democrat presidents who led President Richard M. Nixon’s effort to tame the rising inflation of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. McCracken was a professor of business administration at the University of Michigan until his retirement in 1986. He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan on August 3, 2012.

Society and Religion

Ulku Adatepe (79) adopted daughter of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (d. 1938), founder of modern Turkey. Adatepe was killed when she was thrown from a vehicle after the driver lost control of the car while driving on a motorway from Istanbul to the capital Ankara, in the northwest province of Sakarya, Turkey on August 1, 2012.

DeAndre McCullough (35) Baltimore drug dealer since age 15 whose experiences inspired writer David Simon and Edward Burns, a former Baltimore police detective, to feature him in the book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997), which later became an Emmy-winning miniseries on HBO. McCullough was found dead in Woodlawn, Maryland, a Baltimore suburb, on August 1, 2012.

John J. Merrick (93) Beverly Hills attorney elected judge of the Malibu Judicial District in 1964, when it was considered only a part-time job. By the time the district’s population exceeded the required 40,000 in 1973 and Merrick became the first judge of the newly established Malibu municipal court, he was handling more than 20,000 cases a year. Retiring in 1986, he died of pneumonia in Point Dume, California on July 31, 2012.

Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson (101) philanthropist whose family foundation has awarded more than $200 million in grants to nonprofit Alaska organizations. Rasmuson extended her personal philanthropy to institutions like the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center, an educational and cultural center in Anchorage. She died in Anchorage, Alaska on July 30, 2012.


Frank Costa (77) former jockey who later became a successful thoroughbred horse trainer. A native of Spilanga, Italy, Costa started his career in racing as a jockey, winning with his first mount in 1953. After becoming a trainer, he won with his first starter in 1972, capturing a race at Monmouth Park. He died in Kenilworth, New Jersey on August 3, 2012.

Bernd Meier (40) former goalkeeper for 1860 Munich (1993–99) and later Borussia Moenchengladbac. Meier made 94 appearances in the top division, mostly for 1860 Munich, and 85 in Germany’s second division. Injuries forced him to retire in 2006. For the past two years he was goalkeeping coach for Germany’s under-17 national team. He died of a heart attack in Bergheim, Germany on August 2, 2012.

Joe Walsh (58) Harvard baseball coach who led the Crimson to five Ivy League titles in 17 seasons. Walsh was 347-388-2 at Harvard and 204-136 in Ivy League play, leading the team to a school-best 36-12 record in 1998 and No. 24 national ranking. He died of a heart attack in Chester, New Hampshire on July 31, 2012.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top