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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, February 23, 2013

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George Aratani, Japanese-American entrepreneurDebi Austin, smoker who couldn’t quitKevin Ayers, cofounder of British rock band Soft MachineOtto Beisheim, German retail giantRichard Briers, British TV and film actorJerry Buss, owner of LA LakersRalph Dantino, suburban Chicago aldermanElmer Diedtrich, South Dakota legislatorDr. Bruce Dixon, Pittsburgh public health directorDebbie Ford, best-selling self-help authorGerhard Frey, German sponsor of far-right groupsMichael Gage, Green Bay newspaper publisherAlexei German, Russian film directorBennie Ruth Hamilton, mother of Florida coachOtis (‘Damon’) Harris, sang with TemptationsPhil Henderson, Duke University basketball starWojciech Inglot, Polish cosmetics business founderWheatley Marshall Johnson, Virginia AP high school sports chroniclerBrian E. Kiley, Tennessee comedianSophie Kurys, ‘40s women’s baseball starMatt Mattox, dancer and choreographerMindy McCready, troubled country singerPaul C. P. McIlhenny, maker of Tabasco sauceMary Ann McMorrow, headed Illinois’s Supreme CourtJohn Henry Merwin, fishing writerLou Myers, TV and film actorLouis F. Oberdorfer, US federal judgeJerome Oxman, built military surplus store and museumLou Parajos, longtime NY Daily News editorOtfried Preussler, German children’s authorRobert C. Richardson, Nobel Prize winnerDonald Richie, Ohio-born expert on Japanese filmAlfred B. Rollins Jr., college presidentDon Rutledge, news photographerWolfgang Sawallisch, German conductorMark Saylor, former LA Times editorRex Scouten, longtime Secret Service agentMagic Slim, Chicago bluesmanSylvia Smith, British author of ambiguous memoirLou Spadia, San Francisco 49ers executiveCleotha Staples, gospel singerOzzie Sweet, photographic illustrator for magazinesMaj. Gen. Carroll Thackston, Virginia National Guard officerAlan F. Westin, legal scholar who defined right to privacyGene Wiggins, taught at University of Southern MississippiClifton A. (‘Chip’) Woodrum, Virginia lawmakerDr. Jane C. Wright, pioneering oncologistMartin Zweig, investor and financial pundit

Art and Literature

Otfried Preussler (89) best-selling German children’s author who created The Robber Hotzenplotz and The Little Witch books; 50 million copies of Preussler’s books were printed worldwide and translated into more than 50 languages. He died in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany on February 18, 2013.

Sylvia Smith (67) Englishwoman whose memoir, Misadventures (2001), a plainly written, deadpan chronicle of an ordinary, mostly uneventful life, stirred up a brief literary conflict: Was it an existential classic, a work of dry, mordant wit that pricked the fakery in most celebrity-memoir writing? Or was it just what it seemed—unremitting tedium and banality? Smith died of pulmonary disease outside London, England on February 23, 2013.

Ozzie Sweet (94) photographic illustrator who staged cover photos for Newsweek, Sport (a precursor to Sports Illustrated), and many other magazines. Sweet died in York Harbor, Maine on February 20, 2013.

Business and Science

George Aratani (95) Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to support Japanese-American institutions and causes and, with his wife, Sakaye, endowed the US’s first academic chair to study the World War II internment of people of Japanese descent and their decades-long efforts to gain redress. An entrepreneur who founded the Mikasa china and Kenwood electronics firms, Aratani died of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California on February 19, 2013.

Otto Beisheim (89) builder of Germany’s largest retailer, Metro, who revolutionized retailing in postwar Germany by introducing the concept of selling wholesale goods directly to customers. Beisheim had been suffering from an incurable illness and was found dead at his home in Bavaria, a suicide, on February 18, 2013.

Wojciech Inglot (57) Polish chemist and businessman who founded and ran a cosmetics company, Inglot, that grew into an international success with nearly 400 stores in 50 countries. Wojciech Inglot died unexpectedly after suffering internal hemorrhaging, in Przemysl, Poland on February 23, 2013.

Paul C. P. McIlhenny (68) chief executive and board chairman of the McIlhenny Co. that makes the trademark line of Tabasco hot pepper sauces sold the world over. McIlhenny died on Avery Island, Louisiana on February 23, 2013.

Jerome Oxman (97) California man who started a mail-order business in the early ‘60s that grew into a sprawling outlet, both a military surplus store and a military museum. Oxman died of prostate cancer in Buena Park, California on February 22, 2013.

Robert C. Richardson (75) Cornell University professor who shared a 1996 Nobel Prize for a key discovery in experimental physics involving the isotope helium-3. Richardson died of a heart attack in Ithaca, New York on February 19, 2013.

Dr. Jane C. Wright (93) pioneering oncologist who helped to elevate chemotherapy from a last resort for cancer patients to an often viable treatment option. Wright died of dementia in Guttenberg, New Jersey on February 19, 2013.

Martin Zweig (70) investor and TV pundit who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and published a closely followed newsletter, The Zweig Forecast. Zweig died on Fisher Island, Florida on February 18, 2013.


Alfred B. Rollins Jr. (91) former Old Dominion University president. During Rollins’ tenure (1976-85), Old Dominion made the transition from a regional college to a major research university. He died in Norfolk, Virginia on February 20, 2013.

Gene Wiggins (69) director of the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Communication for 20 years (1981-2001), where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in communication law, public relations, media writing, and ethics. Wiggins died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on February 21, 2013.

News and Entertainment

Kevin Ayers (68) British singer-songwriter who cofounded the band Soft Machine. Ayers was an important figure in the British psychedelic movement spearheaded by the Beatles in the late ‘60s. His body was found two days after his death, in Montolieu, France on February 18, 2013.

Richard Briers (79) British actor, a comic presence on TV and movie screens for decades. Briers starred with Felicity Kendal (Rosemary & Thyme) in the ‘70s sitcom The Good Life (aired on PBS as Good Neighbors) as Tom Good, a man who decides to quit the urban rat race for a life of self-sufficiency in suburbia. In later life he became well known for Shakespearean roles. He died of emphysema in London, England on February 17, 2013.

Michael Gage (75) former publisher of the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette and president of the Packers Hall of Fame board. Gage died of heart problems three days after collapsing, in Green Bay, Wisconsin on February 17, 2013.

Alexei German (74) Russian film director best known for his works offering a bitter view of life in the Soviet Union under dictator Josef Stalin. German died of heart failure in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 21, 2013.

Otis (Damon) Harris (62) former member of the Motown group The Temptations (1971-75) who sang on hits including "Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are).” Harris died of prostate cancer in Baltimore, Maryland on February 18, 2013.

Brian E. Kiley (38) Tennessee comedian, a regular at Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville over the past several years. Kiley was killed when his car was rear-ended by another vehicle on I40 East, in Durham, North Carolina. Both cars swerved and overturned. Kiley died at the scene, on February 18, 2013.

Matt Mattox (91) dazzling US dancer and choreographer who played one of the seven male title roles in the Oscar-winning musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Mattox eventually moved to Europe, where he became a major figure in the evolution of jazz dance. He died in southern France, where he had lived and worked since 1980, on February 18, 2013.

Mindy McCready (37) singer who hit the top of the country charts before personal problems sidetracked her career. McCready was found dead on the porch of her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas from what appeared to be a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, on February 17, 2013.

Lou Myers (76) actor best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the TV series A Different World (1987-93). Myers’ other TV credits included NYPD Blue, ER, The Cosby Show, Touched by an Angel, and more. He also appeared in several films. He died in Charleston, West Virginia on February 19, 2013.

Lou Parajos (64) former editor at the New York Daily News who spent more than 30 years at the paper. Parajos was the third generation of his family to work at the newspaper, starting in 1970. He died of congestive heart failure in Washington Township, New Jersey on February 18, 2013.

Donald Richie (88) Tokyo-based expert on Japanese cinema who wrote dozens of books and articles about the country’s people and culture. From Lima, Ohio, Richie went to Japan in 1947 during the American occupation. He reviewed Japanese films and the arts for the Japan Times newspaper for more than 50 years. He died in Tokyo, Japan on February 19, 2013.

Don Rutledge (82) photojournalist who won acclaim shooting photos during the civil rights movement before turning his lens toward Christian photography. Rutledge died near Richmond, Virginia on February 19, 2013.

Wolfgang Sawallisch (89) German conductor acclaimed for his musical brilliance and unpretentious leadership of the Munich-based Bavarian State Opera (1971-92) and the Philadelphia Orchestra (1993-2003). Sawallisch died in Grassau, Germany on February 22, 2013.

Mark Saylor (58) former Los Angeles Times editor who oversaw a 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles on corruption in the entertainment industry. Saylor was also a nationally ranked chess master. He died of brain cancer in Pasadena, California on February 22, 2013.

Magic Slim (75) younger contemporary of blues greats Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf who helped to shape the sound of Chicago’s electric blues. Slim was on tour when bleeding ulcers sent him to the hospital, but he also suffered from heart, lung, and kidney ailments. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 21, 2013.

Cleotha Staples (78) eldest of four sisters whose voice helped to create the distinctive sound of the gospel group the Staples Singers. Cleotha Staples had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the past 10 years. She died in Chicago, Illinois on February 21, 2013.

Politics and Military

Ralph Dantino (56) suburban Chicago alderman, a tireless advocate of Geneva, a community roughly 40 miles west of Chicago. Dantino won his seat in 2009, defeating three other people. He had also served on the Geneva school board and the city’s planning commission. He had cancer of the appendix that spread to the lining of his stomach and died in Geneva, Illinois on February 18, 2013.

Elmer Diedtrich (85) former South Dakota legislator. Formerly of Mina and Aberdeen, Diedtrich served (1989-92, ‘99-2000) in the State House of Representatives and later in the State Senate (2001-02). He died in Williston, North Dakota on February 19, 2013.

Dr. Bruce Dixon (74) former director of the Allegheny County (Pa.) Health Department for 20 years. Dixon was ousted by newly elected County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and had filed a wrongful firing lawsuit over his removal from the post in 2012. He died from a blood infection related to a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 20, 2013.

Gerhard Frey (80) former head of the nationalist German People’s Union party who financed a range of far-right groups and publications. Frey died one day after his 80th birthday, in Berlin, Germany on February 19, 2013.

Rex Scouten (88) former White House chief usher and chief curator who earlier served 10 first families as a Secret Service agent. Scouten’s career began during Harry S. Truman’s administration and continued through Bill Clinton’s presidency. He died in Fairfax, Virginia on February 20, 2013.

Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston (79) retired US Army officer, a former adjutant general of the Virginia National Guard (1994-98). Thackston was mayor of South Boston, Va. and served on the town council after he left the Guard. He died in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 17, 2013.

Clifton A. (Chip) Woodrum (74) country lawyer from Roanoke who combined wit with a vast command of literature in nearly 25 years (1980-2003) in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Woodrum’s amazing recall of history, poetry, and the classics, used with gentle humor in legislative debate, ranked him annually among the state’s most persuasive and quotable lawmakers. He died in Florida on February 19, 2013.

Society and Religion

Debi Austin (62) woman who smoked a cigarette through a hole in her throat to illustrate the struggle of nicotine addiction in mid-‘90s public service ads. Austin began smoking at age 13; her larynx was removed at 42. She died of cancer in Van Nuys, California on February 22, 2013.

Debbie Ford (57) best-selling author of the self-help book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers (1998), which spawned a self-help enterprise for Ford, aiming to help readers overcome their darker side. Ford wanted to help people break free from their emotional baggage and fear. She died of cancer in San Diego, California on February 17, 2013.

Mary Ann McMorrow (83) first female chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court (2002-05). McMorrow wrote a 1997 opinion holding that limits on noneconomic lawsuit damages for people injured through negligence were unconstitutional. She died in Chicago, Illinois on February 23, 2013.

Louis F. Oberdorfer (94) former deputy to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the ‘60s who later heard hundreds of cases as a federal judge in Washington, DC. Oberdorfer had two strokes in recent years and died in his sleep on his 94th birthday, on February 21, 2013.

Alan F. Westin (83) legal scholar who nearly 50 years ago defined the modern right to privacy in the incipient computer age—"the right to be let alone"—a definition that anticipated the reach of Big Brother and helped to circumscribe its limits. Westin died of cancer in Saddle River, New Jersey on February 18, 2013.


Jerry Buss (80) Los Angeles Lakers’ owner who guided the NBA franchise to 10 championships. Buss transformed the Lakers into southern California’s most beloved sports franchise after buying the club in 1979. He died in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2013.

Bennie Ruth Hamilton (96) mother of Florida State basketball coach Leonard Hamilton. Bennie Ruth Hamilton died in Gastonia, North Carolina on February 21, 2013.

Phil Henderson (44) former Duke University basketball star. Henderson was a senior captain and leading scorer on the 1989-90 Duke team that lost to the University of Nevada/Las Vegas in the national championship game. He died of a heart attack in the Philippines on February 17, 2013.

Wheatley Marshall Johnson (92) reporter and editor for the Associated Press in Virginia for 34 years who spent much of that time and of his retirement using microfilm and newspaper stories to research the history of high school basketball and football in the state. Johnson died of double pneumonia in Richmond, Virginia on February 20, 2013.

Sophie Kurys (87) star base stealer for the Racine (Wis.) Belles, featured in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Kurys stole 201 bases in 1946 while playing in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She died of complications from surgery in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 17, 2013.

John Henry Merwin (66) one of America’s preeminent fishing writers who wrote or edited 15 books on the subject. A veteran fishing editor for Field & Stream magazine, Merwin caught everything from piranhas in the Amazon to Atlantic salmon in Ireland. He died in Lebanon, New Hampshire on February 20, 2013.

Lou Spadia (92) longtime executive with the San Francisco 49ers. Spadia worked for the 49ers for more than 30 years, serving as team president (1967-76). He grew up in San Francisco and founded the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1979. He died in Santa Clara, California on February 17, 2013.

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