Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
LIL-logo
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 19, 2016

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

 
Gwen Ifill, PBS news coanchorMose Allison, pianist and singerDwayne Andreas, former CEO of Archer Daniels MidlandDiana Balmori, landscape architect with her stair-climbing design for the Bilbao, Spain Jardin GardenCliff Barrows, Billy Graham's music and program directorLeon G. Billings, chief architect of 1970 Clean Air ActPeter Binzen, longtime Philadelphia newspapermanMonk Bonasorte, Florida State senior associate athletics directorAnthony Brooklier, LA defense attorneyJohn C. Carpenter Jr., longtime Nevada state legislatorHouston Conwill, sculptor of works celebrating black cultureDr. Denton Cooley, pioneering cardiovascular surgeonHolly Dunn, country singerSixto Duran-Ballen, former president of EcuadorJules Eskin, principal cellist with Boston SymphonyJay W. Forrester, MIT electrical engineer who developed the field of system dynamics modelingDr. Irving Fradkin, Massachusetts optometrist who started Dollars for ScholarsBob Gain, Cleveland Browns defensive linemanRuth Gruber, journalist and humanitarianSharon Jones, soul singerPatricia Kutteles, mother of US soldier killed by homophobesMelvin Laird, former US secretary of defenseSebastian Leone, former borough president of Brooklyn, NYEnzo Maiorca, Sicilian free diverDavid Mancuso, host of all-night loft parties in NYCLisa Masters, TV and film actressBrandon Maxfield, fought maker of cheap gun that paralyzed himNancy McGuire, publisher of Alaska's oldest newspaperBilly Miller, rock archivist who gave new life to forgotten rock artistsGardnar Mulloy, US tennis championMilt Okun, recording producer who made stars of John Denver and Peter, Paul & MaryRonald Peters, self-confessed bookie to banned baseball figure Pete RoseWillie Rogers, oldest Tuskegee AirmanLeon Russell, rock keyboardistWhitney Smith, authority on flags who designed independent Guyana's flagAlex Stewart, heavyweight boxing contenderPaul Sylbert, Oscar-winning film production designerClift Tsuji, US congressman from HawaiiDon Waller, free-lance pop music writerSongwriter Mentor Williams, right, with his older brother, songwriter Paul Williams

Art and Literature

Diana Balmori (84) landscape architect whose ecologically sensitive designs integrated buildings and the natural environment in projects ranging from urban rooftop gardens to South Korea’s new administrative capital, Sejong City. Balmori championed a new understanding of landscape architecture and the built environment. She rejected the division between architecture and landscape and the idea of landscaping as “shrubbing up,” as she sometimes put it. Instead she saw the urban fabric as an interweaving of human activity, natural forces, and designed settings and buildings. She died of lung cancer in New York City on November 14, 2016.

Houston Conwill (69) sculptor best known for works celebrating black culture and spiritualism. A former seminarian and Vietnam War veteran, Conwill used a wide range of genres and forms, among them maps and bowls of earth, to depict memory, heritage, and the African diaspora in works that combined performance and conceptual art. His memorial to poet Langston Hughes at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem (shown above) was described as “exquisite” by the Village Voice. Conwill died of prostate cancer in the Bronx, New York on November 14, 2016.


Business and Science

Dwayne Andreas (98) farmer’s son and college dropout who turned the grain-processing company Archer Daniels Midland into “the supermarket to the world,” then saw it rocked by a price-fixing scandal in 1995. Andreas used his influence and friendships with politicians including former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, former Sen. Bob Dole, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to encourage federal subsidies for corn and grain farmers, maintain huge overseas markets, and help turn ADM products, including high fructose corn syrup, into staples of the American diet. He died in Decatur, Illinois on November 16, 2016.

Dr. Denton Cooley (96) cardiovascular surgeon who performed some of the US's first heart transplants and implanted the world's first artificial heart. A leading practitioner of the coronary bypass operation, Cooley contributed to the development of techniques to repair and replace diseased heart valves and was renowned for operations to correct congenital heart problems in infants and children. He performed the first successful human heart transplant in the US in 1968 and implanted the world's first artificial heart in ‘69 as a temporary measure while a heart transplant was arranged. He died in Houston, Texas on November 18, 2016.

Jay W. Forrester (98) electrical engineer whose insights into both computing and organizations more than 60 years ago gave rise to a field of computer modeling that examines the behavior of things as specific as a corporation and as broad as global growth. Forrester was working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the ‘50s when he developed the field of system dynamics modeling to help corporations understand the long-term impact of management policies. He died of prostate cancer in Concord, Massachusetts on November 16, 2016.


Education

Dr. Irving Fradkin (95) optometrist in Fall River, Mass. who in 1957 almost single-handedly started Dollars for Scholars, a campaign to send every local high school graduate to college. By the end of 1958 (when tuition was typically well under $1,000 annually) it had delivered $5,000 to 24 local high school seniors. Nearly 60 years later, it has evolved into Scholarship America, an organization that by its own estimate has overseen the distribution of $3.5 billion to more than 2.2 million students. Now based in St. Peter, Minn., it also coordinates about 500 local Dollars for Scholars affiliates, which have awarded $600 million to about 750,000 students since 1958. Fradkin died in Fall River, Massachusetts on November 19, 2016.

Whitney Smith (76) authority on flags who turned a childhood fascination into a scholarly discipline—vexillology—of which he was the leading light. The author of the standard work Flags Through the Ages & Across the World (1975), Smith became obsessed with flags around the time he started kindergarten. As a political science undergraduate at Harvard in 1960, he designed a flag for newly independent Guyana. Six years later It was officially adopted by that country, with slight modifications. Smith died of advanced Alzheimer’s disease in Peabody, Massachusetts on November 17, 2016.


Law

Anthony Brooklier (70) Los Angeles attorney who went from defending his father, a powerful mob boss, to representing celebrities, corrupt businessmen, drug kingpins, and Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss. As a young lawyer, Brooklier drew attention when he left his post as a deputy state attorney general to represent his father, Mafia boss Dominic Brooklier, who faced two federal racketeering indictments as part of a massive crackdown on organized crime. In the second case, the elder Brooklier was convicted of racketeering and extortion, but he and other reputed mobsters were acquitted of the 1977 murder of underworld informant Frank (“The Bomp”) Bompensiero. Anthony Brooklier committed suicide by hanging, in Century City, California on November 15, 2016.


News and Entertainment

Mose Allison (89) pianist and singer whose witty lyrics delivered over a backdrop of boogie-woogie blues and jazz piano won fans and influenced musicians across a wide spectrum. Heavily influenced by jazz and by the blues he grew up listening to deep in the Mississippi Delta region, Allison had a style hard to define: too blue to be jazz, too jazz to be blues, with a little bit of country thrown in for good measure. Although wide-scale fame eluded him, his mournful playing and tales of love and loss won him legions of devoted fans during a career that stretched over 60 years. He died in Hilton Head, South Carolina on November 15, 2016.

Peter Binzen (94) newspaperman who covered Philadelphia for more than 50 years and whose books explored the frustrations of working-class Americans, the rise of Mayor Frank L. Rizzo as their bellicose local political hero, and the bankruptcy of the Penn Central Railroad. As a reporter, columnist, and editor, Binzen spent 31 years at the Philadelphia Evening & Sunday Bulletins, specializing in education and urban affairs. After the Bulletin closed in 1982, he was recruited to the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he wrote a business column and continued to write for the op-ed page even after he retired in 2003. Binzen died of a stroke in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on November 16, 2016.

Holly Dunn (59) country singer, a San Antonio native who had a hit in 1986 with “Daddy’s Hands,” about her minister father. Grammy-nominated Dunn was the Academy of Country Music’s top new female vocalist in 1986 and was named most promising newcomer by the Country Music Association in ‘87. She wrote “Daddy’s Hands” for her father, a Church of Christ preacher, as a Father’s Day present, and it became a favorite on country radio. The song also earned her two Grammy nominations. Dunn announced earlier this year that she was battling ovarian cancer. She died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 14, 2016.

Jules Eskin (85) principal cellist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for more than 50 years. Eskin began his tenure as the orchestra’s principal cellist in 1964. He played for five music directors and participated in the orchestra’s many tours, including its historic 1979 tour to China. He also was a founding member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and toured the world, including the Soviet Union, for a series of concerts in 1967. He recorded extensively with the Chamber Players. Eskin died of cancer in Brookline, Massachusetts on November 15, 2016.

Ruth Gruber (105) journalist and humanitarian who during World War II was appointed special assistant to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. In 1944 Gruber got involved in a mission to bring a group of 1,000 Jewish refugees from Europe to the US. She lobbied fiercely for the refugees to be given American citizenship, which they eventually were granted. Gruber returned to journalism after the war, covering stories such as the plight of other Jewish refugees and the impetus to allow some to settle in what was then Palestine. She died in New York City on November 17, 2016.

Gwen Ifill (61) coanchor of PBS's NewsHour with Judy Woodruff and a veteran journalist who moderated two (2004, '08) vice presidential debates. A former reporter for the New York Times and the Washington Post, Ifill switched to TV in the ‘90s and covered politics and Congress for NBC News. She moved to PBS in 1999 as host of Washington Week and worked for the nightly NewsHour program. Ifill and Woodruff were named coanchors in 2013. Ifill wrote the book, The Breakthrough: Politics & Race in the Age of Obama. She took a leave from NewsHour for a month last spring for health reasons, keeping details of her illness private. She died of cancer in Washington, DC on November 14, 2016.

Sharon Jones (60) powerhouse who led a soul revival despite not finding stardom until middle age. The story of Jones’s battle with cancer, first diagnosed in 2013, was told in Barbara Kopple's documentary, Miss Sharon Jones!, released earlier this year. Although she triumphantly returned to the stage in 2015 after the cancer went into remission, Jones later announced its return. Still, she mounted another comeback with the defiant single “I'm Still Here” and hit the road again this summer with the Dap-Kings even while undergoing chemotherapy. She died of pancreatic cancer in Cooperstown, New York on November 18, 2016.

David Mancuso (72) self-described “musical host” who revolutionized night life in New York with weekly dance parties he gave at his downtown loft, beginning in 1970. Mancuso brought to his Saturday night gatherings the values of the ‘60s counterculture, an audiophile’s fascination with sound technology, and a voracious appetite for all styles of music. The parties at the Loft, as his apartment came to be known, became a near-religious rite for the city’s underground. From midnight until 6 a.m., Mancuso’s top-of-the-line sound system delivered an eclectic musical mix. He died in New York City on November 14, 2016.

Lisa Masters (52) actress who appeared on TV shows including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Law & Order: SVU. Masters’ acting credits also included episodes of Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty, Nashville, and Royal Pains, besides several film roles and more TV work. She was found dead in her hotel room in Lima, Peru, where she had gone for a modeling job, on November 15, 2016. Police were investigating the case as a possible suicide.

Nancy McGuire (72) longtime publisher of Alaska's oldest newspaper. McGuire was publisher of the weekly Nome Nugget for 34 years in the western Alaska town of Nome. The Nugget was established in 1897, thriving in the rough-and-tumble Gold Rush town. Originally a high school science teacher in Pennsylvania, McGuire moved to Nome in 1973 for a teaching job. She also became a part-time reporter for the Nugget and bought the paper in 1982. She said goodbye to her subscribers in an editorial published the day she died in Nome, Alaska after battling cancer for years, on November 17, 2016.

Billy Miller (62) rock ’n’ roll archivist and collector whose record label, Norton, gave new life to forgotten rockabilly artists and garage bands of yesteryear. The label earned a following for its rediscoveries and for imaginative anthologies like The Raging Teens, a series devoted to New England rockabilly artists. Miller died in Brooklyn, New York from complications of multiple myeloma, kidney failure, and diabetes, on November 13, 2016.

Milt Okun (92) recording producer and arranger who helped to turn acts as diverse as Peter, Paul & Mary, John Denver, and opera singer Plácido Domingo into pop sensations and founded Cherry Lane Music Publishing, one of the world’s largest independent music publishers. Trained as a classical pianist and raised with the music of folk singers, Okun recorded his own versions of folk songs before he turned to developing the music of other artists. He was a pianist, conductor, and arranger for Harry Belafonte in the ‘50s, then coached Peter, Paul & Mary before they released their debut album in 1962. Okun also helped to form the folk group the Chad Mitchell Trio and discovered Denver when he replaced Mitchell in 1965. He produced and arranged for Peter, Paul & Mary during the ‘60s and for Denver for decades, producing hit songs like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (a No. 1 hit for Peter, Paul & Mary). Okun died in Beverly Hills, California on November 15, 2016.

Leon Russell (74) musician who performed, sang, and produced some of rock 'n' roll's top records. Besides his music, Russell was known for his striking appearance: white hair halfway down his back that covered much of his face. Russell played keyboard for the Los Angeles studio team known as the Wrecking Crew, helping producer Phil Spector to develop his game-changing wall of sound approach in the ‘60s. He wrote Joe Cocker's Delta Lady and in 1969 put together Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, which spawned a documentary film and a hit double album. As a musician, primarily a pianist, he played on the Beach Boys' California Girls and landmark Pet Sounds album, Jan and Dean's Surf City, the Ronettes' Be My Baby, and the Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man.” He died in his sleep in Nashville, Tennessee on November 13, 2016.

Paul Sylbert (88) Oscar-winning production designer who created the lighter-than-air atmosphere of God’s waiting room in Heaven Can Wait and the white-on-white sterility of One Flew over the Cockoo’s Nest. Sylbert and his twin brother, Richard (d. 2002), were go-to players in the ‘70s and ‘80s when directors like Warren Beatty, Roman Polanski, Robert Benton, and John Frankenheimer went looking for someone to capture the visual core of a movie. While Paul Sylbert worked on finding the visual metaphors for Kramer vs. Kramer and Gorky Park, his brother was helping to shape the look of Chinatown and Reds. Paul Sylbert died outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 19, 2016.

Don Waller (65) free-lance pop music writer with nearly 400 bylines for the Los Angeles Times. Waller got early bylines as a staffer in the ‘70s at the then-thriving music industry magazine Radio & Records. He did so while documenting the underground scene with Back Door Man, which published 15 issues starting in 1975. Waller was present at the creation of LA punk. He died of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California on November 17, 2016.

Mentor Williams (70) award-winning songwriter behind the ‘70s hit Drift Away, which became a soulful rock-‘n'-roll anthem aired on radio stations for generations. Williams was the younger brother of actor and songwriter Paul Williams, current president of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP). Mentor Williams also worked on movie soundtracks. For the 1979 Muppet Movie, he mixed and engineered the tune “Rainbow Connection,” written by Paul Williams. in the movie, Kermit the Frog sings the sentimental song by a swamp. Mentor Williams died of lung cancer in Taos, New Mexico on November 16, 2016.


Politics and Military

Leon G. Billings (78) lobbyist for public power companies. Billings also became an important environmental aide on Capitol Hill, where he forged his greatest legacy: helping all Americans to breathe a little easier as the largely unheralded chief architect of the 1970 Clean Air Act. The legislation, which passed the US Senate unanimously, imposed national air-quality standards based on the “health of persons” rather than on the feasibility of technology or affordability of pollution controls, conditions that industry leaders had sought. Billings died of a stroke in Nashville, Tennessee, four days before his 79th birthday, on November 15, 2016.

John C. Carpenter Jr. (86) former longtime Nevada Assemblyman credited with helping to bring Great Basin College and a convention center to Elko. Carpenter served on the Elko County Commission before serving 24 years as a Republican in the Assembly. His tenure ended in 2010; his work for the community included fighting for the payment in lieu of taxes program that supports rural local governments. Carpenter and his wife Roseann raised seven children and owned several businesses. John Carpenter died in Elko, Nevada on November 19, 2016.

Sixto Duran-Ballen (95) former Ecuadorean president best known for serving during Ecuador’s month-long border conflict with Peru in 1995, the last war in the Americas between sovereign states. Duran-Ballen was president in 1992–96, and the localized border conflict with Peru occurred January 26–February 28, ’95. It ended with a cease-fire, and eventually an agreement was reached demarcating the disputed border. Duran-Ballen retired from politics after his presidency. He died while resting at home in Quito, Ecuador on November 15, 2016.

Patricia Kutteles (67) Missouri mother whose relentless efforts helped to reverse the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy 10 years after her son, Pfc. Barry Winchell (21), was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat by a fellow soldier who presumed he was gay. Congress repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010, and the repeal took effect in ’11. Kutteles died of kidney and liver failure after being treated for cancer, in Kansas City, Missouri on November 14, 2016.

Melvin Laird (94) former Wisconsin congressman who, as President Nixon's secretary of Defense, ended the draft, created the all-volunteer armed forces, and ordered the Pentagon's withdrawal of military personnel from the Vietnam War. He died in Florida on November 16, 2016.

Sebastian Leone (91) Brooklyn's borough president in the ‘70s. Leone worked to raise the borough's profile long before its current renaissance. A Democrat, he was borough president from 1970–76, when Brooklyn did not enjoy the renown as a cultural center and thriving place to live that it has today. He was believed to have been the first official to install a “Welcome to Brooklyn” sign at one of the borough’s entry points, as if declaring that Brooklyn was more than the outer-borough backwater some perceived it to be: it was a place that could hold its own. The sign, seen in the opening montage for the ‘70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, which was set there, celebrated Brooklyn as the “4th Largest City in America.” Leone died of pneumonia in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 2016.

Willie Rogers (101) oldest surviving member of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military aviation squadron in the history of the US Armed Forces, although his work was on the ground in logistics and administration, not in the sky where the heroics took place. Rogers was drafted into the Army in 1942 and was part of the 100th Air Engineer Squad. He also served with the Red Tail Angels. He was wounded in action, shot in the stomach and leg by German soldiers, during a mission in Italy in January 1943. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida on November 18, 2016.

Clift Tsuji (75) US congressman (D-Hawaii) who represented parts of the Big Island and was known as an advocate for agriculture. Tsuji was raised in the Big Island plantation town of Papaikou. He served in the US Army Reserve from 1959–65 and was first elected to the House in 2004. He was chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and was named Hawaii Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year in 2015. He died unexpectedly on Oahu, Hawaii on November 15, 2016.


Society and Religion

Cliff Barrows (93) longtime music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The two men met in 1945 while Barrows was on his honeymoon, and together they formed the association. Barrows traveled the world with Graham since his first crusade in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1947. He also hosted the weekly Hour of Decision radio program for more than 60 years. Barrows died in Pineville, North Carolina on November 15, 2016.

Brandon Maxfield (29) California man who, at age 7, was accidentally shot in the face, the bullet tearing through his neck and smashing his spine. Confined to a wheelchair, Maxfield and his attorney went after the maker of the low-cost and cheaply made .380-caliber handgun that a family friend accidentally fired, winning a $24-million judgment and driving the gun maker out of business. Maxfield saw little of the money, but over the years he spent battling Bryco Arms and its owner, he became a hero among those fighting the proliferation of easy-to-get, cheap-to-buy “Saturday night specials.” He died in Willits, California of complications from his paralysis, on November 13, 2016.


Sports

Monk Bonasorte (59) former Florida State All-America defensive back who was later the school's senior associate director of athletics. Bonasorte played from 1977–80 and finished with 15 interceptions, second in school history. He was a third-team selection to the Associated Press All-America team in 1979 and was inducted into FSU's Hall of Fame in 2005. He joined the athletic department in 2008, overseeing internal operations for football and women's soccer. Bonasorte died of brain cancer in Tallahassee, Florida on November 19, 2016

Bob Gain (87) eight-time All-Pro defensive lineman with Cleveland who helped the Browns to win three consecutive NFL titles. Drafted fifth overall by the NFL's Green Bay Packers in 1951, Gain went to the Browns in ‘52 and was part of championship teams from ‘54–56. His 13-year NFL career featured one first team All-Pro selection, seven second-team mentions, and five Pro Bowls. He died in Willoughby, Ohio on November 14, 2016.

Enzo Maiorca (85) legend in free diving. Maiorca's friendly rivalry with diver Jacques Mayol inspired much of a 1988 film, The Big Blue, directed by Luc Besson. The two divers competed against each other starting in 1966, taking turns as the record holder for free diving. When they reached 249 feet (about 73 meters) in 1970, the International Federation ruled the depths too dangerous and refused to accept further records. Italian media, who had dubbed Maiorca the lord of the abysses, reported that when he was 57 he dove to a depth of 101 meters (373 feet). After quitting competitive diving, Maiorca dedicated himself to protecting the marine environment. He died in his native Syracuse, Sicily on November 13, 2016.

Gardnar Mulloy (102) member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who won 129 US national titles and played competitively into his 90s. Mulloy won five Grand Slam doubles titles, was ranked No. 1 in the US in 1952, and started the University of Miami tennis program. He swept US Tennis Association grand slams in three age groups: 45s, 70s, and 80s. Mulloy had plenty of personality, too. Outspoken, opinionated, and occasionally ill-mannered, he was tennis’s ugly American before John McEnroe was even born—and endlessly entertaining. He died in Miami, Florida on November 14, 2016.

Ronald Peters (59) former bookie for baseball hits leader Pete Rose. Peters testified in a 1989 investigation, saying Rose bet on games. Rose was a Cincinnati Reds All-Star who had 4,256 hits. He agreed to a lifetime baseball ban after the investigation concluded that he bet on games involving the Reds while managing them. Rose later acknowledged betting on games, including Reds games. Peters was found dead in his Franklin, Ohio apartment during a welfare check by police responding to residents’ complaints of odors. on November 19, 2016. There were no signs of foul play.

Alex Stewart (52) heavyweight contender who fought Mike Tyson and nearly beat George Foreman. Stewart fought in a golden time for heavyweight boxing, and he fought almost all the big names of his time. A perennial contender, he was never able to win the big fights of his career but had a reputation as a smart and tough fighter. He lost twice to Evander Holyfield and was knocked out in the first round of his December 1990 fight with Tyson. But it was his April 1992 fight with Foreman in Las Vegas that was the highlight of his career. Stewart died after being rushed to a hospital in Mount Vernon, New York for a blood clot in his lung, on November 16, 2016.


Previous Week
Next Week


Return to Main Page
Return to Top