Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, July 9, 2016

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

John McMartin, versatile stalwart of Broadway stageWilliam L. Armstrong, Colorado media executive who served two US Senate termsSally Beauman, British journalist and romance novelistMarian Bergeson, California state legislatorLawrence A. Bock, biotech entrepreneurNicholas ('Corky') DeMarco, West Virginia oil and natural gas figureAbdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistani philanthropistLou Fontinato, NHL defensemanVaughn Harper, NYC radio disk jockeyAbbas Kiarostami, Iranian film directorWilliam H. McNeill, historian and scholarGoldie Michelson, oldest AmericanAbner Mikva, Illinois politicianNoel Neill, first actress to play Lois LaneMaralin Niska, NYC Opera leading ladyPeter J. Powers, former NYC deputy mayor under Rudy GiulianiHoward Raiffa, Harvard economics professor and pioneer of decision scienceSydney H. Schanberg, foreign correspondent whose story of Cambodian colleague's survival inspired Oscar-winning filmKenneth Sturgill, USAF airman

Art and Literature

Sally Beauman (71) British journalist and romance novelist whose first book under her own name, the steamy Destiny (1987), drew an advance of more than $1 million, then a record for an unknown author. The story of a young American woman’s romance with the scion of a jewelry empire, Destiny was rife with sexual detail. Beauman’s record stood until 1993, when Little, Brown and Warner Books agreed to pay $2 million for Allan R. Folsom’s The Day After Tomorrow. Beauman had cancer but died of pneumonia in northern England on July 7, 2016.

Business and Science

Lawrence A. Bock (56) biotech entrepreneur who founded the San Diego Science Festival and used it as a model to create the USA Science & Engineering Festival, the nation’s largest science festival. This year the event drew more than 350,000 people. Bock founded, advised, or financed dozens of biotech companies, including Gen-Probe and Idec Pharmaceuticals. He also cofounded San Diego’s Illumina, now the world leader in technology for sequencing genes. He died of pancreatic cancer in Encinitas, California on July 6, 2016.


William H. McNeill 98) prize-winning scholar who wove the stories of civilizations worldwide into the landmark The Rise of the West. McNeill wrote more than a dozen books, notably The Rise of the West (1963), greeted by the New York Times as “the most stimulating and fascinating” work of world history ever released. It won the National Book Award, sold well despite exceeding 800 pages, and later was ranked No. 71 by the Modern Library among the 20th century’s best English-language nonfiction books. McNeill died in Torrington, Connecticut on July 8, 2016.

Howard Raiffa (92) economics professor whose mathematical formulas for decision-making were applied to the search for a missing nuclear bomb and the siting of a Mexico City airport, and were even suggested as a way to resolve a strike by professional hockey players. A cofounder of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (now the Harvard Kennedy School) and a member of the university faculty for 37 years, Raiffa pioneered what became known as decision science—an academic discipline that encompasses negotiating techniques, conflict resolution, risk analysis, and game theory. He died of Parkinson’s disease in Oro Valley, Arizona on July 8, 2016.

News and Entertainment

Vaughn Harper (70) disk jockey who kept New Yorkers company after dark for decades with soothing music and a sleek baritone voice on the WBLS radio show Quiet Storm. Harper joined WBLS in 1976 after Frankie Crocker, the station’s program director, heard him working as a nightclub emcee. His show took the name Quiet Storm in the early ‘80s; it opened with the sound of a soft breeze and seamlessly blended different eras and styles of music, from blues to smooth jazz to contemporary rhythm and blues, all of it anchored by Harper’s singular, intimate voice. The show quickly became a nightly staple for city dwellers and a signature for WBLS, for many years one of the top-rated stations in New York. Harper died of complications from diabetes in Englewood, New Jersey on July 9, 2016.

Abbas Kiarostami (76) Iranian director whose 1997 film Taste of Cherry won the prestigious Palme d'Or. Kiarostami kept working despite government resistance. He wrote and directed dozens of films over a career spanning more than 40 years. Taste of Cherry, which told the story of an Iranian man looking for someone to bury him after he killed himself, won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was banned in Iran for supposedly encouraging suicide. Kiarostami died in Paris, France, where he had gone for cancer treatment after undergoing surgery in Iran earlier this year, on July 4, 2016.

John McMartin (86) gentlemanly Tony Award-nominated actor who starred on Broadway in such shows as Follies and Sweet Charity (reprised his role in the 1969 movie version). Equally at home in plays and musicals, McMartin was nominated for five Tonys, starting with Sweet Charity (1966). He also was nominated for Don Juan, Showboat, and High Society and earned a Tony nod for the 2002 Tony-winning revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Into the Woods. His other recent Broadway credits include the 2011 revival of Anything Goes, A Free Man of Color (2010), and Grey Gardens (2006). McMartin also had guest roles on such TV shows as Murder, She Wrote, Oz, Touched by an Angel, and, most recently, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He died of cancer in New York City on July 6, 2016.

Noel Neill (95) actress who was the first to play Superman's love interest, Lois Lane. Neill first took on the role as the Daily Planet reporter in the 1948 Columbia movie serial, Superman, which starred Kirk Alyn (d. 1999) in the title role. She reprised the part alongside George Reeves (d. 1959) as the Man of Steel in the ‘50s TV series, The Adventures of Superman. Her involvement with the series continued through the years. She played Lois Lane's mother in Superman (1978) and had a bit part in Superman Returns (2006). Noel Neill died in Tucson, Arizona on July 3, 2016.

Maralin Niska (89) lyric soprano whose stage presence and command of dozens of roles made her a mainstay of New York City Opera in the ‘60s and ’70s. Niska, who joined the company in 1967, had a powerful voice, heard to advantage in her performances as Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, and the title role in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. But it was her dramatic gifts and movie-star looks that earned her a special place in the hearts of opera fans. Niska appeared in 29 lead roles with NYC Opera, more than any other singer. She died in Santa Fe, New Mexico on July 9, 2016.

Sydney H. Schanberg (82) correspondent for the New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for covering Cambodia’s fall to the Khmer Rouge in 1975 and inspired the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields (1984) with the story of his Cambodian colleague’s (photographer Dith Pran; d. 2008) survival during the genocide of millions. An intense Harvard-educated newspaperman with bulldog tenacity, Schanberg was an ideal foreign correspondent: a risk-taking adventurer who distrusted officials, relied on himself in a war zone, and wrote of political and military tyrants and of the suffering and death of their victims with the passion of an eyewitness to history. He suffered a heart attack on July 5 and died four days later in Poughkeepsie, New York on July 9, 2016.

Politics and Military

William L. Armstrong (79) Colorado news media executive who became a strong conservative voice in the US Senate. Armstrong was first elected to the Senate in 1978 and served two terms, focusing mostly on economic issues. He sponsored an amendment to a 1981 tax bill that indexed federal income tax brackets to compensate for inflation. In 1981 he led conservative opposition to President Ronald Reagan’s proposed budget, contending that the administration was not doing enough to cut long-term federal deficits. The move forced the administration to come up with a compromise. Armstrong died in Denver, Colorado after battling cancer for five years, on July 5, 2016.

Marian Bergeson (90) well-known Orange County politician and first woman to serve in both California’s Assembly and Senate. Lawmakers called Bergeson a trailblazer for female politicians. She was elected to the State Assembly in 1978 and served three terms before winning her Senate seat in ‘84 and was one of the first two Republican women elected to California’s Senate. She died in Newport Beach, California of complications after surgery for pancreatic cancer, on July 6, 2016.

Nicholas ('Corky') DeMarco (68) executive director of West Virginia's oil and natural gas industry lobby group since November 2002. The organization has grown from 39 active members then to more than 225 current members. DeMarco’s tenure coincided with a national boom in horizontal drilling to reach rich, deep Marcellus shale natural gas deposits. He was previously director of operations for the state under Gov. Cecil Underwood. He died of an apparent heart attack in Pinch, West Virginia on July 7, 2016.

Abner Mikva (90) Illinois politician who served in all three branches of the federal government and in state government. A liberal voice and stalwart of Illinois’s political landscape for decades, Mikva was most recently active in pushing for the US Senate to consider the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. He often told of how he initially tried to get involved in Chicago politics but was told: “We don't want nobody nobody sent.” He died of cancer in Chicago, Illinois on July 4, 2016.

Peter J. Powers (72) high school friend whom Rudolph W. Giuliani recruited to impose order on his chaotic novice mayoral campaign and later installed as his even-tempered alter ego to manage New York City's government. In 32 months at City Hall, as deputy mayor for operations and first deputy mayor, Powers, a tax lawyer, presided over the largest budget cuts the city had made since the fiscal crisis of the mid-’70s. He reduced the payroll by 20,000 workers, most of them induced to leave with buyouts, and slowed the rate, although not the total amount, of city spending. He died of lung cancer in the Bronx, New York on July 7, 2016.

Kenneth Sturgill (21) US Air Force airman in his 18th of 19 days training at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape Selection School at Camp Bullis in Texas, which provides survival skills training. Sturgill was assigned to the 66th Training Squadron, Detachment 3. He was from Livermore, California and had graduated from basic military training in April. He was found unresponsive during a routine safety check by his instructors. Efforts by military and civilian medical personnel to revive him were unsuccessful. Sturgill died near San Antonio, Texas on July 7, 2016.

Society and Religion

Abdul Sattar Edhi (88) Pakistan's legendary philanthropist, who devoted his life to the poor and the destitute. Known in Pakistan as “Angel of Mercy” for his social work that also won international acclaim, Edhi established a welfare foundation almost 60 years ago that he oversaw together with his wife, Bisques Edhi. The foundation owns and runs Pakistan's largest ambulance service, nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, and women's shelters, along with rehabilitation centers and soup kitchens across the country. Abdul Edhi had been hospitalized for the past several weeks, suffering from kidney- and sugar-related problems. He died in Karachi, Pakistan on July 8, 2016.

Goldie Michelson (113) oldest American person. Michelson was born in Elizabethgrad, Russia in 1902 and moved to the US when she was a child. She graduated from Brown University, had a lifelong interest in theater, and even installed stage lights in her basement so children could perform there. She died in Worcester, Massachusetts, 50 miles west of Boston, one month short of her 114th birthday, on July 8, 2016.


Lou Fontinato (84) in seven seasons with the New York Rangers and two with the Montreal Canadiens, Fontinato made a reputation—and many fans—with his fists, if not necessarily with his skates or his stick, setting a record for minutes spent in the penalty box (1,247). He played in the National Hockey League from 1954–63, the era of the original six NHL teams, when rivalries were intensified, goalies rarely wore masks (the first to wear one regularly was Jacques Plante in 1959), almost no one wore a helmet, and flying elbows were routine. He died of dementia in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, his hometown and birthplace, on July 3, 2016.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top