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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 15, 2016

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Dan Akee Sr., Navajo Code TalkerDavid Antin, UC San Diego poet and performance artistPatricia Barry, mainstay of daytime TV dramaLucy Baxley, Alabama's first female lieutenant governorLeo L. Beranek, acoustics engineer whose company built precursor to InternetDennis Byrd, NY Jets defensive linemanTony Cantafio, retired Pennsylvania high school teacherRobert ('Big Sonny') Edwards, original member of The Intruders soul groupPierre Étaix, French actor and director of slapstick filmsDonn Fendler, Maine man who survived wilderness as a childDario Fo, Italian satirical playwrightThomas Mikal Ford, played Martin Lawrence's friend on 'Martin'Lorenzo Freeman, football player and coachEdward Gorman, mystery and crime fiction writerJack Greenberg, civil rights lawyerQuentin Groves, former Auburn football star and NFL playerRick Gudex, Wisconsin state senatorThom Jones, short-story writerBhumibol Adulyadej, King of ThailandThomas J. Mackell Jr., bank chairman and labor leaderBruce Marshall, college hockey coachSgt. Richard Pittman, Medal of Honor recipientCharles ('Chucky') Porter, onetime Pittsburgh mobsterJim Prentice, former Canadian minister and premier of AlbertaAaron Pryor, junior welterweight boxing championElizabeth F. Rohatyn, philanthropist wife of financier Felix RohatynLouis Stettner, photographer who shot street life in New York and ParisKenneth Thompson, Brooklyn, NY district attorneyMike VI, LSU's tiger mascotAndrzej Wadja, Polish filmmakerFulton Walker, first NFL player to score on Super Bowl kickoff returnEwen Whitaker, lunar expert

Art and Literature

David Antin (84) poet and performance artist and professor emeritus at UC San Diego, known for his so-called talk poems. Antin joined the faculty in San Diego in 1968 and began teaching full-time in ’72. He also directed the university’s Mandeville Art Gallery for four years. His published works include I Never Knew What Time It Was and Radical Coherency. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died after a fall at his home in San Diego, California on October 11, 2016.

Edward Gorman (74) mystery and crime fiction writer. Gorman was the author of dozens of mystery novels, including the Sam McCain, Jack Dwyer, and Dev Conrad series. He set much of his fiction in small Midwestern towns. His novel The Poker Club was adapted into a 2008 film with the same title. Gorman spent 23 years in advertising, public relations, and politics before his first novel, Rough Cut, was published in 1984. He won the Shamus Award, the Spur Award, and the International Fiction Writers Award. He died of cancer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on October 14, 2016.

Thom Jones (71) short-story writer who drew upon family tragedy and his own painful struggles for The Pugilist at Rest and other collections. A best-seller published in 1993, The Pugilist at Rest was Jones’s debut book and a finalist for the National Book Award. Its stories of violence, trauma, and spiritual striving led to comparisons to Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, and fellow Pacific Northwest resident Raymond Carver, among others. Jones died of diabetes in Olympia, Washington on October 14, 2016.

Louis Stettner (93) photographer who explored the streets of the two cities he called his “spiritual mothers,” New York and Paris, recording the daily lives of ordinary people. A native New Yorker, Stettner was a product of the Photo League and its emphasis on socially conscious, documentary work, exemplified by members and supporters like Weegee, Berenice Abbott, and Robert Frank. He died in Saint-Ouen, France on October 13, 2016.

Business and Science

Leo L. Beranek (102) engineer whose company designed the acoustics for the United Nations and concert halls at Lincoln Center and Tanglewood, then built the direct precursor to the Internet under contract to the US Department of Defense. In 1969 the company Beranek helped to found, Bolt, Beranek & Newman, won a contract from the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency to build the first computer-based network, called Arpanet. By demonstrating the ability to share data and messages through vast computer networks, Arpanet, a product of government-sponsored research, paved the way for the creation of the Internet. Beranek died in Westwood, Massachusetts on October 10, 2016.

Thomas J. Mackell Jr. (74) former chairman (2005–08) of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank and executive director of the Maritime Labor Alliance. Mackell was appointed executive director of the Maritime Labor Alliance, a national organization of 110,000 maritime workers, in 2015. He was also special adviser to the president of the International Longshoremen's Association. He died of cancer in Manhasset, Long Island, New York on October 9, 2016.

Ewen Whitaker (94):British-born astronomer who drew on his knowledge of the lunar surface to select landing sites for unmanned NASA spacecraft in the ‘60s, guide the footsteps of the Apollo 12 astronauts, and develop accurate maps of the moon. Whitaker, who had no formal training as an astronomer, became an expert in lunar photography and selenography—describing and mapping the surface features of the moon—while working at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in the ‘50s. He died in Tucson, Arizona on October 11, 2016.


Tony Cantafio (67) retired teacher who still kept score and statistics for a Pennsylvania Catholic high school. Cantafio taught math at the school for 31 years before retiring in 2015. A football player ran into him on the sidelines during a game on September 30. Cantafio was taken to a hospital by ambulance from the field after he was injured and remained hospitalized until he died of brain injuries 10 days later, in Scranton, Pennsylvania on October 10, 2016.

Mike VI (11) Louisiana State University's live tiger mascot. Mike VI was one of only two live tiger college mascots in the US and the only one living on a college campus. The 420-pound tiger was 2 years old when he arrived at LSU in 2007, donated by an Indiana animal sanctuary. He was diagnosed in May with a rare and inoperable form of cancer. At the time, veterinarians said treating his spindle cell sarcoma with radiation therapy could extend the tiger's life by one or two more years. But a CT scan and physical exam showed that a tumor in the tiger's skull had grown and the cancer had spread to other parts of his body. He was euthanized on the Baton Rouge, Louisiana campus on October 11, 2016.


Jack Greenberg (91) lawyer who became one of the US’s most effective champions of the civil rights struggle, leading the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc. for 23 years and using the law as a weapon in its fight for racial justice before the US Supreme Court. Greenberg was the last surviving member of a legendary civil rights legal team assembled by Thurgood Marshall, founding director-counsel of the legal defense fund and later the first black US Supreme Court justice. Greenberg died of Parkinson's disease in New York City on October 12, 2016.

Charles ('Chucky') Porter (82) onetime underboss of Pittsburgh's dwindling Mafia family. The defunct Pennsylvania Crime Commission described Porter as right-hand man to reputed mob boss Michael Genovese. Porter was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1990 and later sentenced to 28 years for racketeering. But a judge released him in 2000 for helping law enforcement to disrupt mob operations and to keep witnesses from being killed in other parts of the country. Porter's son, prominent Pittsburgh attorney Charles Porter Jr., had argued for his father's early release. The elder Porter died in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, where he had lived since being released from prison, on October 11, 2016.

Kenneth Thompson (50) Brooklyn district attorney. Thompson took office in January 2014. His career also included working as a former federal prosecutor, during which he prosecuted the case against a police officer accused in the 1997 assault of Abner Louima. In private practice Thompson represented Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault in 2011. Thompson died of cancer in New York City just days after announcing he would be taking a leave of absence to undergo treatment, on October 9, 2016.

News and Entertainment

Patricia Barry (93) actress, a mainstay of daytime TV who appeared on Days of Our Lives, Guiding Light, and All My Children. Barry amassed more than 100 appearances on TV and in film and theater. She made a mark in TV movies-of-the-week like The Wicked Scheme of Jebel Deeks (1959) with Alec Guinness, and alongside Sid Caesar and Ronald Reagan in The Devil You Say (1961). Her other credits included Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949) with Gene Autry, Send Me No Flowers (1964) with Doris Day and Rock Hudson, and the New York Yankees 1962 film Safe at Home! Barry died in Los Angeles, California on October 11, 2016.

Robert ('Big Sonny') Edwards (74) original member of the Philadelphia-based soul group The Intruders. After forming in 1960 as a doo-wop group, The Intruders signed with music producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff in 1966 and helped to define the Philadelphia Sound. Their 1968 smash, “Cowboys to Girls,” topped the rhythm and blues charts and was the first hit song for Gamble & Huff. The original lineup of The Intruders disbanded in 1975. Edwards died of a heart attack in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 15, 2016.

Pierre Étaix (87) French director of slapstick films, including Happy Anniversary, which won an Oscar for best live-action short subject in 1963. An actor and a director, Étaix specialized in a deadpan visual comedy, animated by sight gags, funny sound effects, and fantasy sequences that harked back to the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and his own background as a circus performer. He was an assistant to Jacques Tati on the 1958 film Mon Oncle, providing gags, designing sets, and illustrating the poster, before striking out on his own in 1961 with La Rupture (The Break-up). Étaix died of an intestinal infection in Paris, France on October 14, 2016.

Dario Fo (90) playwright whose mocking of Italian political life, social mores, and religion won him the Nobel Prize in Literature. The author of Accidental Death of an Anarchist and more than 70 other plays saw himself as playing the role of the jester, combining raunchy humor and scathing satire. He was admired and reviled in equal measure. His political activities saw him banned from the US and censored on Italian TV, and his artistic antics resulted in repeated arrests. He died in Milan, Italy on October 13, 2016.

Thomas Mikal Ford (52) actor who played Martin Lawrence’s best friend Tommy Strawn on the hit ‘90s sitcom Martin for the show’s entire five-year run. One running joke was about his apparent lack of employment, prompting the catch-phrase: “You don’t got no job, Tommy!” Ford had other TV parts, notably as Lt. Malcolm Barker on Fox’s New York Undercover and as Mel Parker on UPN’s The Parkers, besides playing the Pope of Comedy on TV One’s Who’s Got Jokes with Bill Bellamy. Before Martin, Ford landed a spot in the 1989 Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor film Harlem Nights. He coproduced, cowrote, or starred in such films as Baby Mama’s Club, Against the Law, Beat Street Resurrection, and Love Different. He died of an abdominal aneurysm a week after undergoing knee replacement surgery in Atlanta, Georgia on October 12, 2016.

Andrzej Wadja (90) Poland’s leading filmmaker whose career maneuvering between a repressive Communist government and an audience yearning for freedom won him international recognition and an honorary Oscar in 2000. Wajda made more than 40 films in all, four of which were nominated for best-foreign-language-film Oscars. He had recently been hospitalized and died in Warsaw, Poland on October 9, 2016.

Politics and Military

Dan Akee Sr. (96) Navajo Code Talker who recently moved back into the Arizona home he built 60 years ago after the community renovated it. Akee was considered a hero among Navajos. While serving in the 4th Marine Division, he was one of hundreds of tribal members who used a World War II code based on their native language to stump the Japanese. Akee was present at conflicts on four Pacific islands including the Battle of Iwo Jima. He died in Tuba City, Arizona on October 14, 2016.

Lucy Baxley (78) Alabama's first female lieutenant governor and its last Democrat elected to statewide office. Baxley was elected lieutenant governor and presided over the Senate during a four-year term that began in 2003. She was the Democrat nominee for governor in 2006 but lost to Republican Bob Riley. Baxley was state treasurer before becoming lieutenant governor and was elected president of the Alabama Public Service Commission in 2008 despite having suffered a major stroke after her gubernatorial bid. She died in Montgomery, Alabama on October 14, 2016.

Rick Gudex (48) Wisconsin state senator, a Republican from Fond du Lac. Gudex was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and was president pro tempore in 2015 but was not seeking election to a second term. The race for his seat, including parts of Winnebago and Fond du Lac counties, is the most hotly contested in the state Legislature this year. Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is running against Republican Dan Feyen of Fond du Lac. Republicans held a 19-14 advantage in the Senate this session. Gudex died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Eden, Wisconsin on October 12, 2016.

Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand (88) world’s longest-reigning monarch. Bhumibol became king in 1946 and was revered in Thailand as a demigod. He anchored the Southeast Asian country through violent upheavals at home and Communist revolutions next door with a blend of majesty and a common touch. The once-vigorous king had withdrawn from public life over the last 10 years owing to his ill health. He lived at the hospital and had been notably silent about the political upheaval that has shaken Thailand in recent years. He suffered from a variety of ailments related to old age, including kidney, liver, and lung problems. He died in Bangkok, Thailand on October 13, 2016.

Sgt. Richard Pittman (71) US Marine who earned the Medal of Honor for charging into a North Vietnamese ambush under heavy fire and fending off dozens of enemy troops. On July 24, 1966, Pittman was a lance corporal in Company 1’s Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. His unit was moving down a narrow jungle trail near the demilitarized zone when Marines ahead of his position were attacked by a larger, concealed enemy force. Lance Cpl. Pittman grabbed a machine gun and belts of extra ammunition and rushed ahead, firing into the enemy position. He destroyed two enemy automatic weapons and kept advancing. When his machine gun failed, Pittman kept firing with a Vietnamese submachine gun and a pistol. When he ran out of ammunition, he threw a grenade, his last remaining weapon, at the retreating North Vietnamese soldiers, then returned to his platoon. He was later promoted to sergeant. Pittman died in Stockton, California on October 13, 2016.

Jim Prentice (60) former Alberta (Canada) premier and longtime federal minister. Prentice was among former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's most trusted cabinet ministers. He was industry minister, environment minister, and minister of Indian and northern affairs. He left federal politics for provincial politics and became premier of Alberta in 2014. His party was defeated a year later in elections, ending the Conservative party's 40-year hold on power in the province. Prentice was killed, along with his daughter's father-in-law and two others, in the crash of a private jet near Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada on October 13, 2016.

Society and Religion

Donn Fendler (90) Maine man who, as a 12-year-old boy in 1939, survived nine days alone on the state's tallest mountain and later wrote a book about the ordeal. Fendler enjoyed visiting schools to tell his story. He said he used techniques learned as a Boy Scout to survive on Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Fendler got lost while hiking and made his way down the mountain and through the woods to the east branch of the Penobscot River, where he was found more than 30 miles from where he started. Bruised and cut, starved and shoeless, he'd survived by eating berries and had lost 15 pounds. He died in Bangor, Maine after being hospitalized for failing health, on October 10, 2016.

Elizabeth F. Rohatyn (86) major supporter of numerous arts and educational organizations, including the New York Public Library. The wife of financier Felix G. Rohatyn, Elizabeth Rohatyn was a former chairwoman of the library, a board member of Lincoln Center, and founder of Teaching Matters Inc., a nonprofit to help teachers use technology in the classroom. The Rohatyns sponsored an I Have a Dream Foundation project, which followed more than 50 low-income children through six years of middle and high school, graduation, and four years of college. But children were not allowed at the Rohatyns’ annual Easter egg hunt at their home in Southampton, New York. The guest list was more likely to include Oscar de la Renta, William S. Paley, Marella Agnelli, and the Henry Kissingers. Elizabeth Rohatyn died in New York City on October 9, 2016.


Dennis Byrd (50) former New York Jets defensive lineman who made an inspiring recovery from paralysis after a career-ending neck injury in 1992. Against the Chiefs, on November 29, 1992, Byrd and a teammate, Scott Mersereau, collided while chasing Kansas City quarterback Dave Krieg. Byrd broke a bone in his spine and could not move his lower body. Three days later he underwent a seven-hour operation to stabilize his spine. He was walking on crutches by late February 1993. The story of his recovery was told in an autobiography, Rise & Walk: The Trial & Triumph of Dennis Byrd, and a TV movie in 1994. Byrd was killed in a two-vehicle crash near Claremore, Oklahoma on October 15, 2016.

Lorenzo Freeman (52) former NFL defensive lineman who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. As a player at the University of Pittsburgh, Freeman was a fourth-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 1987 but wound up signing with the Steelers and playing for them from 1987–90. He then spent a season with the Giants before retiring from the NFL. He was an assistant coach at Plum (Pa.) High School, working with defensive linemen, when he was found dead at his home in New Kensington, Pennsylvania after he failed to report for work, on October 10, 2016.

Quentin Groves (32) former Auburn football star who played defensive end for the Tigers from 2004–07 and was a second-round NFL draft pick. Groves was an all-Southeastern Conference performer for Auburn. He recorded 26 sacks, for a share of the university record, and was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008. He signed with seven NFL teams from 2008–14. The Buffalo Bills cut him just before the 2015 regular season. Groves said in 2008 that he had received a diagnosis of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which causes a rapid heartbeat. He died in his sleep while visiting Trinidad, his wife’s native country, on October 15, 2016.

Bruce Marshall (54) former longtime head coach of the Connecticut Huskies ice hockey team who transitioned them to Division I status. A four-year letter winner in the UConn hockey program himself, Marshall became the team's third coach in 1988, just three years after graduation. Under his leadership, the Huskies posted 20 wins in their inaugural Division I year and in 2000 won the Metro Athletic Conference title. Marshall resigned in 2013. New Hampshire's Franklin Pierce University, where he was current head hockey coach, said Marshall had already laid the groundwork for the current ice hockey men in only his first year as head coach. He died in Storrs, Connecticut on October 15, 2016.

Aaron Pryor (60) junior welterweight boxer who fought two memorable bouts with Nicaraguan champion Alexis Arguello. Known as “The Hawk,” Pryor was a crowd favorite who fought with a frenetic style, rarely if ever taking a step backward. His fights in the early ‘80s with Arguello were both classics that are still talked about in boxing circles. But Pryor was a troubled champion, and his career unraveled because of an addiction to cocaine. Although in later years he spoke out about the evils of drugs, he died of heart disease in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 9, 2016.

Fulton Walker (58) first player to score on a Super Bowl kickoff return. Walker scored for the Dolphins on a 98-yard kickoff return in the 1983 Super Bowl. His touchdown put Miami ahead, but the Washington Redskins rallied to win, 27-17. Walker's return is still tied for third longest in Super Bowl history. He played in the NFL from 1981–86 for the Dolphins and the Los Angeles Raiders. He led the NFL with a kickoff return average of 26.7 yards in 1983 and with 692 yards in punt returns in ’85. Walker played in college at West Virginia University. He died of an apparent heart attack in his hometown of Martinsburg, West Virginia on October 12, 2016.

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