Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, March 1, 2014

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

Bill Adler, one-man book publisherRalph M. Bahna, travel industry innovatorMonica Barlow, public relations director for the Baltimore OriolesFranny Beecher, lead guitarist with Bill Haley & the CometsRostislav Belyakov, chief designer of Russia’s MiG fighter jetsRaymond James Boland, retired RC bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo.Richard W. Boone, veteran of LBJ’s war on povertyWilliam Bost, director of Mississippi Cooperative Extension ServicePeter Callander, British lyricistHenry Casso, New Mexico civil rights leaderJosephine Serrano Collier, LA’s first Latina policewomanPaco de Lucia, flamenco guitaristJoseph A. Dear, restored California state pension fund after financial crisisJerry Denbo, former Indiana state legislatorOphelia DeVore-Mitchell, model and newspaper publisherCarlos Gracida, Mexican polo starGeorge E. Guerieri, Mississippi state legislatorThomas Herbert, Ohio Supreme Court justiceAlice Herz-Sommer, oldest survivor of the HolocaustRoger Hilsman Jr., foreign policy adviser to Kennedy administrationJan Hoet, Belgian contemporary art directorBill Irwin, first blind hiker to complete Appalachian Trail aloneSister Carol Juhasz, nun who wrote a blog on her own death from cancerMae Keane, former ‘Radium Girl’ who survived radiation poisoningPhyllis Krasilovsky, author of children’s books and travel articlesJim Lange, first host of TV’s ‘Dating Game’Lee Lorch, pioneer against housing discriminationChokwe Lumumba, mayor of Jackson, Miss.Huber Matos Benitez, former follower of Fidel Castroartist Carlos Paez Vilaro and part of his CasapuebloAmy Perkins, New Hampshire state legislatorCharlie Porter, adventurous mountain climberHarold Ramis, comedy actor and directorAlain Resnais, French filmmakerMartin Sullivan, director of National Portrait GalleryWilliam F. Thomas, former editor of LA TimesTim Wilson, comedian and writer of parody songsNorman Yonemoto, video artistAlejandro Zafferoni, biotechnology entrepreneur

Art and Literature

Bill Adler (84) publisher who came up with his own book ideas—like collections of children’s letters to President John F. Kennedy, to Smokey the Bear, and to Santa Claus—writing, editing, compiling, and hustling hundreds of titles. Adler also helped to popularize novels ostensibly written by political, entertainment, and sports celebrities, supplying ghostwriters and even plots. He died of abdominal cancer in New York City on February 28, 2014.

Jan Hoet (77) Belgian contemporary art director who organized a major exhibition in private homes and curated Germany’s Documenta art fair. Hoet was known for his outspokenness and criticized art snobs and politicians who did not get the point of modern art. He died in Ghent, Belgium on February 27, 2014.

Phyllis Krasilovsky (87) author of popular children’s books. Krasilovsky also wrote travel articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers and magazines including Redbook and Ladies’ Home Journal. She died of a stroke in Redding, Connecticut on February 26, 2014.

Carlos Paez Vilaro (90) self-trained painter, sculptor, screenwriter, musician, and architect. Paez Vilaro championed Afro-Uruguayan Candombe music and dance, created colorful murals in dozens of cities around the world, and built a sprawling "living sculpture” that became an iconic 50-room hotel, the Casapueblo outside Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he died on February 24, 2014.

Martin Sullivan (70) former director of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. During Sullivan’s tenure (2008-12), the museum expanded its commissions of new works depicting notable figures, beyond presidents and first ladies. He died of renal failure in Piney Point, Maryland on February 25, 2014.

Norman Yonemoto (67) Los Angeles artist who, along with his younger brother Bruce, created innovative video installations that often explored mass media, Hollywood, and other forms of pop culture. Norman Yonemoto had been in ill health since suffering several strokes, the last of which was in October 2013. He died in Venice, California on February 28, 2014.

Business and Science

Ralph M. Bahna (71) transformational figure in the travel industry who in the late ‘60s created one of the first luxury business class airline services on Trans World Airlines (TWA; merged with American Airlines in 2001) and later became chairman of Bahna died of heart failure in New York City on February 24, 2014.

Joseph A. Dear (62) chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (aka Calpers) who restored the pension fund to health after the recent financial crisis. Dear embraced a risky investment philosophy that proved successful in restoring the pension fund’s assets to above their level before the crisis. He died of prostate cancer in Sacramento, California on February 26, 2014.

Mae Keane (107) Connecticut woman, a former "Radium Girl" who at age 18 in 1924 worked briefly as a wristwatch dial painter and survived the blissfully ignorant use of radium paint in the industry, while many such girls died of radiation poisoning. At it was, Keane lost all her teeth by age 40. She died in Middlebury, Connecticut on March 1, 2014.

Alejandro Zaffaroni (91) Uruguayan-born biotechnology entrepreneur and Silicon Valley legend who played a significant role in the development of the birth control pill, the nicotine patch, the DNA chip, and corticosteroids. Zaffaroni started at least 10 companies in Silicon Valley and nurtured other entrepreneurs who started companies. He died of dementia in Atherton, California on March 1, 2014.


William Bost (90) director of the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service for nearly 20 years (1962-81). The Mississippi State University agricultural administration building is named for him. Bost died in Tupelo, Mississippi on February 28, 2014.

Henry Casso (82) longtime civil rights leader in New Mexico who worked his way out of an orphanage to become a noted educational scholar and a founder of the Mexican-American Legal Defense & Educational Fund. Casso died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 25, 2014.

News and Entertainment

Franny Beecher (92) lead guitarist for Bill Haley & the Comets, who helped to kick off the rock ‘n’ roll era with the iconic hit "Rock Around the Clock” in 1955. Philadelphia’s Danny Cedrone played on the original recording of "Rock Around the Clock,” but Beecher played on the song’s national TV debut and in films, remaining with the Comets until 1962. He died in his sleep near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 24, 2014.

Peter Callander (74) British songwriter who provided lyrics for hits of the ‘60s and ’70s like "The Night Chicago Died” and "The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde." Callander died of a heart attack in Haresfield, Middlesex, England on February 25, 2014.

Paco de Lucia (66) one of the world’s greatest guitarists who dazzled audiences with his lightning-speed flamenco rhythms and finger work. Spanish-born De Lucia was best known for flamenco but also experimented with other genres of music. He began to feel unwell while on a beach in Cancun, Mexico and died en route to a local hospital, on February 26, 2014.

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell (91) former model, agent, charm-school director, and newspaper publisher who almost single-handedly opened the modeling profession to blacks and in so doing expanded public understanding of what American beauty looks like. DeVore-Mitchell died in New York City on February 28, 2014.

Jim Lange (81) first host of the popular TV game show The Dating Game, which debuted in 1965 and on which he appeared for more than 10 years. Lange died of a heart attack in Mill Valley, California on February 25, 2014.

Harold Ramis (69) comedy actor and director best known for films such as Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Caddyshack. Ramis had suffered since 2010 from a rare vascular autoimmune disease that caused inflammation and damage to his blood vessels. He died in Chicago, Illinois on February 24, 2014.

Alain Resnais (91) French filmmaker whose cryptic Last Year at Marianbad (1961) extended its influence across generations. Resnais was renowned for reinventing himself during each of his full-length films, which included the acclaimed Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and most recently Life of Riley, honored at the Berlin Film Festival just weeks ago. He died in Paris, France on March 1, 2014.

William F. Thomas (89) former Los Angeles Times editor who helped the newspaper to win 11 Pulitzer Prizes during his 27-year (1971-89) tenure. During that time the paper also opened domestic and foreign bureaus and launched its Sunday magazine, "Book Review,” and regional editions. Thomas died in Sherman Oaks, California on February 23, 2014.

Tim Wilson (52) standup comedian and country music artist who also wrote parody songs. Wilson was best known for his parody songs such as "First Baptist Bar & Grill” and "Garth Brooks Ruined My Life." He died of an apparent heart attack in Columbus, Georgia on February 26, 2014.

Politics and Military

Rostislav Belyakov (94) chief designer of Russia’s MiG fighter jets from 1969 who led the development of a family of MiG fighters, including the MiG-23, -25, and -29 (shown above). Belyakov was showered with state awards and honors, but his name was unknown to the public until the Soviet collapse in 1989. He died in Moscow, Russia on February 28, 2014.

Richard W. Boone (86) former Chicago police captain who played a central role in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty in the ‘60s and led private organizations pursuing political and social change. Boone died of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease in Santa Barbara, California on February 26, 2014.

Josephine Serrano Collier (91) Los Angeles’s first Latina policewoman (1946-60). Josephine Serrano applied for the job in post-World War II 1946 after losing her defense job at Lockheed and was one of only nine women out of 21 accepted for police training to make it through. She later married fellow officer Jack Collier (d. 1987) and retired in 1960. She died in Tucson, Arizona on February 25, 2014.

Jerry Denbo (63) former Indiana Democrat state legislator who spent 10 years pushing to win approval for a casino in the southern Indiana town of French Lick. The bill passed in 2003, and the casino at the French Lick Resort opened in ’06. Denbo had a 17-year career in the Indiana House before resigning in 2007. He died in French Lick, Indiana on February 24, 2014.

George E. Guerieri (86) former Mississippi state senator, a Democrat who represented DeSoto County in the state Legislature (1980-92). A retired US Army lieutenant colonel, Guerieri was a sailor on a hospital ship during World War II and later served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He died in Anniston, Alabama on February 25, 2014.

Thomas Herbert (86) former lawmaker and federal bankruptcy judge and one of two father-son pairings to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court. Herbert succeeded his father, Paul Herbert, on Jan. 1, 1969, one day after the elder Herbert finished his term as justice. Thomas Herbert died in Columbus, Ohio on February 23, 2014.

Roger Hilsman Jr. (94) foreign policy adviser in the Kennedy administration who in 1963 helped to draft a cable giving tacit American support to a coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. Hilsman died of complications from several strokes, in Ithaca, New York on February 23, 2014.

Chokwe Lumumba (66) Jackson, Mississippi mayor, a prominent attorney and former human rights activist who persuaded local voters to accept a sales tax to fix crumbling roads and infrastructure in the state’s capital city. Sworn into office only last July, Lumumba died unexpectedly in Jackson, Mississippi on February 25, 2014.

Huber Matos Benitez (95) onetime Cuban revolutionary, one of Fidel Castro’s key lieutenants before his efforts to resign from the burgeoning Communist government landed him in prison for 20 years. Matos Benitez died in Miami, Florida two days after suffering a massive heart attack, on February 27, 2014.

Amy Perkins (43) New Hampshire state representative from Seabrook in her third term. Perkins served on the legislative administration committee. She was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago and died in Seabrook, New Hampshire on February 24, 2014.

Society and Religion

Raymond James Boland (82) Ireland-born Roman Catholic bishop, retired leader of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri. Boland had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer after having beaten both colon and throat cancer in the past. Weak from radiation treatment, he died in Cork, Ireland just days after returning to his native land to enter hospice care, on February 27, 2014.

Alice Herz-Sommer (110) Jewish pianist from Prague believed to be the oldest survivor of the Holocaust, who endured the ordeal partly through her passion for music. Herz-Sommer was the subject of the documentary, The Lady in No. 6, nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Documentary at the forthcoming Academy Awards. She died in London, England on February 23, 2014.

Sister Carol Juhasz (62) suburban Detroit nun who offered inspiration through her openness after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Told last March that she had six months to live, Sister Juhasz went public, writing a blog and encouraging people to ask about her impending death. She died at the motherhouse of her religious order, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Monroe, Michigan on February 26, 2014.

Lee Lorch (98) mathematician whose leadership in the ‘40s campaign to desegregate Stuyvesant Town, the gargantuan housing development on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, helped to make housing discrimination illegal nationwide. Lorch died in Toronto, Canada on February 28, 2014.


Monica Barlow (36) public relations director for the Baltimore Orioles since 2008. Barlow died of lung cancer in Ellicott City, Maryland on February 28, 2014.

Carlos Gracida (53) one of the most accomplished players in the history of polo and a member of a legendary Mexican family in the so-called sport of kings. Gracida was part of a family dynasty that has dominated polo around the world for generations. He suffered blunt trauma to the chest and died after falling from his horse during a match at the Everglades Polo Club in Wellington, Florida on February 25, 2014.

Bill Irwin (73) first blind hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail without assistance. In November 1990, Irwin arrived at a campground in Millinocket, Maine with his sole companion, his guide dog Orient. After nine months and 2,167 miles, he became the first blind person to make the solo hike from Georgia to Maine. He died of prostate cancer in Sebec, Maine on the 24th anniversary of the start of his historic journey, March 1, 2014.

Charlie Porter (63) New Hampshire-born mountain climber who in the early ‘70s forged new routes up the famously imposing monolithic rock wall known as El Capitan. In 1972 Porter and another climber, Gary Bocarde, established the Shield, which became perhaps the most famous route up El Capitan. Porter died of a heart attack at his home in Puerto Williams, Chile on February 23, 2014.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top