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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 3, 2016

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Anas ak-Basha, Aleppo social worker who dressed as clown to cheer childrenBob Bennett, broadcasting industry veteranBetty Boukus, Connecticut state legislatorH. Keith H. Brodie, former Duke U presidentDon Calfa, familiar character actorPeng Chang-kuei, chef who invented popular Chinese dishWilliam Christenberry, artist who photographed crumbling rural SouthJames Earl Danieley, president emeritus of North Carolina's Elon UniversityS. Newman Darby, inventor of wind surfingMichael James ('Jim') Delligatti, creator of the Big MacC. Wyatt Dickerson, investor and real estate developerAlice Drummond, character actress on stage and in filmsHerb Hardesty, tenor saxophonist who recorded with Fats DominoRichard ('Dick') Kun, CEO of snow supplier to ski resortsMika Kurosawa, Japanese dancer and choreographerDr. Sammy Lee, Olympic diving championNancy Mairs, poet who wrote of her struggle with MSTony Martell, music executiveBruce Mazlish, MIT historianJoe McKnight, former Jets running backRick Medlin, former CEO of Fruit of the Loom Inc.John M. Miller, abstract painterLuis Carlos Montalvan, decorated Iraq war veteranHardy Myers, Oregon politicianDoyle Owens, founder of Alabama's Unclaimed Baggage CenterLeonard B. Sand, federal judge in New YorkOusmane Sow, Senegalese sculptorMark Taimanov, Soviet chess player beaten by Bobby FischerRichard B. Teitelman, Missouri Supreme Court judgeGrant Tinker, TV producerVan Williams, star of 'Green Hornet'Robert A. Wilson, owner of Greenwich Village book shopKeo Woolford, actor in 'Hawaii Five-O'

Art and Literature

William Christenberry (80) artist renowned for photographs of crumbling buildings and rusty cars that captured the decay of the rural South. Christenberry lived for decades in Washington, where he taught painting and drawing at the Corcoran School of Art. But his work centered on Alabama, where he was born and raised. He spent much of his childhood in rural Hale County in west-central Alabama, the locale made famous by James Agee and Walker Evans’ book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. The book, and Evans’ photographs, became a source of inspiration to Christenberry, who made annual summer visits to Hale County to photograph country stores, churches, and homes and document the ravages of time. He died of Alzheimer's disease in Washington, DC on November 28, 2016.

Nancy Mairs (73) woman whose encounters with mental illness, disease, and religious faith found expression in a series of intensely personal essays and memoirs. Mairs was a budding poet in her late 20s, suffering from agoraphobia and depression—had once attempted suicide—when she was told that she had multiple sclerosis. The progress of the disease provided her with her richest subject, as she wrote of her fears and hopes, her resolve to push against her limitations, and her aversion to such euphemisms as “differently abled.” She had relied on a wheelchair since 1993. She died in Tucson, Arizona on December 3, 2016.

John M. Miller (77) painter of perceptual abstractions whose work was featured in a special exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2000. Miller was a painter of abstract geometries. His painstaking canvases built on a tradition of secular spirituality that is a hallmark of 20th century nonfigurative painting. He was stricken Nov. 25 during appointments at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Los Angeles, California and died there five days later, on November 30, 2016.

Ousmane Sow (81) sculptor often called the Auguste Rodin of Senegal, who earned an international reputation for his expressive sculptures of the Nuba, Masai, and other African peoples. Sow spent much of his life as a physical therapist but in his 50s became a full-time sculptor. Working without drawings and relying on his intimate knowledge of the human anatomy from his years working as a physical therapist, he created imposing, rough-textured figures, bristling with energy, that seemed to embody the fierce spirit of postcolonial Africa. He died in Dakar, Senegal on December 1, 2016.

Robert A. Wilson (94) owner of the now-defunct Phoenix Book Shop in Greenwich Village, New York, who turned the store into a sanctuary for new poetry, an important trading post for first editions, and a hangout for his, and his customers’, literary idols, including Allen Ginsburg, Edward Albee, and William Burroughs. Wilson closed the shop in 1988. He died in Baltimore, Maryland on November 29, 2016.

Business and Science

Peng Chang-kuei (98) chef credited with inventing General Tso's Chicken, a world-famous Chinese dish smothered in a sweet sauce that was never a staple in China. Peng first brought the sticky sweet and spicy dish to New York around 1976. It's now on Chinese restaurant menus across the US, exploding in popularity after President Richard M. Nixon visited China in 1972. The dish also reportedly became a favorite of famed statesman Henry Kissinger, who with Nixon helped to open the Communist country to the West, spotlighting its culture and food. But General Tso's chicken was never part of the Chinese culinary tradition. Chef Peng created the dish in the ‘50s in Taiwan, where he fled in 1949 with Chiang Kai-shek after the Communists took over China. Peng died of pneumonia in Taipei, Taiwan on November 30, 2016.

Michael James ('Jim') Delligatti (98) McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it become perhaps the best-known fast-food sandwich in the world. Delligatti ate at least one 540-calorie Big Mac a week for decades. His franchise was based in Uniontown, Pa., not far from Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain’s signature burger in 1967 after deciding customers wanted a bigger sandwich. Demand exploded as Delligatti’s sandwich spread to the rest of his 47 stores in Pennsylvania and was added to the chain’s national menu in 1968. He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 28, 2016.

C. Wyatt Dickerson (92) investor and real estate developer who, alongside his then-wife, Nancy Dickerson (d. 1997), a TV network news correspondent, glittered at the top of the Washington A-list from the Kennedy era to Reagan’s. During their 20-year marriage, Wyatt and Nancy Dickerson witnessed history over candlelight at dinner parties, inaugural balls, and even ‘70s discothèques. The couple dined privately with Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson the night after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They held a dinner for Ronald and Nancy Reagan and their California friends during the 1981 inaugural weekend at their 22-acre estate, Merrywood, overlooking the Potomac. They were the parents of john Dickerson, current host of Face the Nation. Wyatt Dickerson died of esophageal cancer in Washington, DC on November 29, 2016.

Richard ('Dick') Kun (76) former chief executive of Snow Summit Ski Corp. and a pioneer in outdoor recreation. When Mother Nature failed to deliver snow to the often-arid mountains above San Bernardino, Kun did. The innovative ski resort operator found ways to power water up the hill, turn it into snow, and, in the end, rescue and grow an industry that always seemed to struggle against the California sun. Kun died of Parkinson’s disease in Big Bear Lake, California on November 27, 2016.

Rick Medlin (68) president and chief executive of Fruit of the Loom Inc. for the past six years. Medlin had led the Bowling Green, Kentucky-based Fruit of the Loom since August 2010. The company has locations in 17 countries around the world and employs nearly 30,000 workers. Fruit of the Loom Inc. is a Berkshire Hathaway company that designs and manufactures family apparel, underwear, and athletic apparel and equipment. Medlin died in South Carolina on November 27, 2016.

Doyle Owens (85) Alabama businessman who started a one-of-a-kind store, Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala., selling the contents of unclaimed airline baggage. With a $300 loan and a borrowed pickup truck, Owens bought his first load of unclaimed baggage in 1970 and sold the contents atop card tables. The business caught on, and the store became a landmark for people seeking unusual deals. It has been featured in numerous media stories. The store is now owned and operated by Owens' son Bryan. Doyle Owens last visited the store about a month ago. He died in Scottsboro, Alabama on December 3, 2016.


H. Keith H. Brodie (77) former Duke University president who guided the school's development into a nationally known research institution. A professor emeritus of psychiatry, Brodie was Duke's seventh president, succeeding Terry Sanford. During his tenure, from 1985–93, applications to Duke's undergraduate and graduate schools increased. The university also launched programs to recruit and retain minority faculty and added new academic initiatives, including a School of the Environment. Brodie died on December 2, 2016.

James Earl Danieley (92) president emeritus of Elon University considered a strong advocate for higher education. Danieley was dean before being named sixth president of then-Elon College in 1957 at age 32, making him one of the youngest college presidents in the nation at the time. During his 16-year term, he guided campus improvements in academic standards and faculty credentials. He retired from the presidency in 1973 and returned to teaching. He was director of planned giving from 1987–92 before going back to the classroom, retiring last spring. He died in Burlington, North Carolina on November 29, 2016.

Bruce Mazlish (93) historian of ideas who created controversy with psychoanalytic biographies of living world leaders, including one about former US President Richard M. Nixon that assessed him as constantly seeking crises to confront as a way of handling unresolved childhood traumas. Mazlish spent nearly his entire career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he said his experience teaching European history to young scientists and engineers inspired a lifelong interest in understanding the divide between science and the humanities, a disconnect considered a crisis in academia during the postwar years. Mazlish died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on November 27, 2016.


Leonard B. Sand (88) federal judge in New York who presided over a 27-year-long landmark case in which he found that city officials in Yonkers had intentionally segregated public housing and schools along racial lines. The Yonkers case, which received national attention, was one of the most bitterly contested lawsuits in which local governments in the Northeast were charged with racial discrimination. The charges against Yonkers were brought in a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed in 1980 in Federal District Court in Manhattan. In 1986, Judge Sand ordered that the city remedy the housing portion of its violations by adopting a plan for building up to 1,000 units of low- and moderate-income housing in predominantly white neighborhoods. He died in Sleepy Hollow, New York on December 3, 2016.

Richard B. Teitelman (69) Missouri Supreme Court judge. Teitelman had served on the court since March 2002 and was chief justice from July 2011 through June 2013. Before joining the Supreme Court he served on the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District for four years. He died in Jefferson City, Missouri on November 29, 2016.

News and Entertainment

Bob Bennett (89) broadcasting industry veteran who guided a TV station group that became the initial core of the Fox network. In the early to mid-‘80s, Bennett was president of Metromedia Broadcasting, then among the US's largest station groups with major-market stations in cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. He worked with media magnate John Kluge. When another magnate, Rupert Murdoch, acquired Metromedia Broadcasting in 1985, its stations and prime-time programming helped to create the Fox Broadcasting Co. Bennett died in Newport Beach, California on November 29, 2016.

Don Calfa (76) film, stage, and TV actor whose credits included The Return of the Living Dead, Weekend at Bernie's, and Barney Miller. The New York native started out on Broadway in the ‘60s. Calfa later appeared in dozens of comedies, dramas, and horror flicks, notably as mortician Ernie Kaltenbrunner in The Return of the Living Dead. He worked with directors such as Steven Spielberg (1941), Martin Scorsese (New York, New York), and Blake Edwards (10). He also had a busy career on TV, working on Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues, and Kojak, among other shows. Calfa died in Palm Springs, California, two days before his 77th birthday, on December 1, 2016.

Alice Drummond (88) actress who was a Broadway regular in the ‘60s and ’70s, then played an array of older women, from mild-mannered to deranged, in blockbuster films like Ghostbusters, Awakenings, and Doubt. Drummond acted on and off-Broadway and on TV before her first role in a feature film: a brief appearance in the 1970 Rob Reiner comedy Where’s Poppa? Slight of build, she often projected an air of befuddled vulnerability on camera and in later years tended to be typecast as an elderly and sometimes infirm woman. She died in the Bronx, New York of complications from a fall she suffered in September, on November 30, 2016.

Herb Hardesty (91) tenor saxophonist whose name was synonymous with New Orleans rhythm and blues and early rock ’n’ roll and whose lyrical solos were heard on nearly all recordings of Fats Domino’s hit songs. Hardesty played on the sessions that created hits like “I’m Walkin’,” “My Blue Heaven,” “Ain’t It a Shame,” and “Let the Four Winds Blow.” For the recording of “Blue Monday,” he played the baritone sax for what he said was the first time. In all, Hardesty and Domino collaborated in the recording studio and onstage for nearly 50 years. Hardesty died of cancer in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 3, 2016.

Mika Kurosawa (59) choreographer and dancer considered by many the godmother of Japanese contemporary dance. Kurosawa was greatly influenced by the Judson Dance Theater, the ‘60s progressive dance collective, and by New York's experimental downtown dance scene. She died of breast cancer in Yokohama, Japan on December 1, 2016.

Tony Martell (90) music executive who founded the industry's largest foundation for leukemia, cancer, and AIDS research. In 1975 Martell launched the T. J. Martell foundation, named for his 19-year-old son who died of leukemia; it has raised more than $270 million. The elder Martell worked with such artists as Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, and the Isley Brothers during a career in which he became president of CBS International Records. His wife of 65 years, Vicky, died in February. Tony Martell died in Madison, New Jersey on November 27, 2016.

Grant Tinker (90) producer and network boss who brought new polish to the TV world and beloved shows including Hill Street Blues to the audience. Although he had three tours of duty with NBC, the last as its chairman, Tinker was perhaps best known as the nurturing hand at MTM Enterprises, the production company he founded in 1970 and ran for 10 years. Nothing less than a creative salon, MTM scored with some of TV’s most respected and best-loved programs, including Lou Grant, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, and, of course, the series that starred his business partner and then-wife, Mary Tyler Moore. Tinker died in Los Angeles, California on November 28, 2016.

Van Williams (82) actor who played crime fighters on TV during the ‘60s, most notably the Green Hornet on a short-lived ABC show that later attained a cult following and that introduced American audiences to martial arts master Bruce Lee (d. 1973). Williams played the same character, a detective named Kenny Madison, on two ABC series: Bourbon Street Beat with Richard Long and Andrew Duggan in the 1959–60 season, then Surfside 6 with Lee Patterson and Troy Donahue, until '62. He also played a young executive alongside Walter Brennan on another ABC series, The Tycoon, in 1964–65. None of those parts was as memorable as his starring role on The Green Hornet, based on a character who originated in a radio series from the ‘30s. Williams died in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 28, 2016.

Keo Woolford (49) Hawaii Five-O actor. Woolford played Det. James Chang in CBS’s reboot of Hawaii Five-O. He had small roles in several films, including Godzilla (2014) and Act of Valor (2012). He also wrote and directed The Haumana, a 2013 independent film based on his one-man show. Woolford died in Oahu, Hawaii, three days after suffering a stroke, on November 28, 2016.

Politics and Military

Betty Boukus (73) Connecticut state representative who served more than 20 years in the General Assembly before losing a high-profile reelection bid on November 8. The Plainville (Conn.) Democrat was a teacher by training but had served in the House since 1994, where she cochaired the legislature's powerful bonding subcommittee. She was defeated in November by her Republican opponent, Dr. William Petit, who became a national figure after a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire that took the lives of his wife and two daughters. Boukus died of cancer in Plainville, Connecticut on December 2, 2016.

Luis Carlos Montalvan (43) decorated Iraq war veteran who became a strong critic of the war and wrote about it. Montalvan served 17 years in the Army, doing two tours in Iraq. He received two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. Tuesday, his service dog, was the subject of Montalvan's book, which became a New York Times best-seller. Some Army colleagues said Montalvan embellished his account of the incident that led to his Purple Heart. He was found dead in a hotel room in El Paso, Texas on December 2, 2016.

Hardy Myers (77) lawyer who became a politician in the Oregon Legislature in his 30s and rose to the position of House speaker, then was elected state attorney general three times. Myers was remembered for defending Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law, a case that reached the US Supreme Court, with his Senior Assistant Attorney General Robert Atkinson successfully arguing the case in 2005. Myers also championed litigation against tobacco companies that brought in millions of dollars to Oregon and still does. He suffered from lung cancer but died of pneumonia in Portland, Oregon on November 29, 2016.

Society and Religion

Anas al-Basha (24) Aleppo social worker, a center director at Space for Hope, one of many unheralded local initiatives operating against the odds to provide civil society services to Syria’s war-torn opposition areas. Basha was also a joker who dressed as a clown to cheer up Aleppo’s traumatized children. In a now largely bombed-out enclave, Space for Hope supports 12 schools and four psychosocial support centers in eastern Aleppo, providing counseling and financial support for 365 children who have lost one or both parents. Basha was killed in a presumed Russian or government missile strike on the Mashhad neighborhood in the besieged, eastern side of the city, on November 29, 2016.


S. Newman Darby (88) sign painter whose passion for boating led him to invent a sailboard that is widely acknowledged as the first wind-surfing craft. Darby created his sailboard in 1964 out of frustration that the waves on lakes, like the one near his home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, were not big enough to surf on. His solution was to attach a sail to a surfboard, and the combination worked. But it was flawed: it could not turn sharply or go well against the wind. So Darby created a universal joint using a nylon rope to link the sail to the board. That enhanced his control of both steering and speed. In 1984, in Los Angeles, wind surfing became part of the Summer Games. Darby died in St. Johns, Florida on December 3, 2016.

Dr. Sammy Lee (96) two-time Olympic gold medal-winning diver who later mentored four-time Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis. Of Korean descent, Lee was the first Asian-American to win an Olympic gold medal for the US He became the first man to win consecutive Olympic titles in platform diving in 1948 and ‘52 and was the oldest diver at age 32 to win Olympic gold. He also earned a bronze in 3-meter springboard at the 1948 Games. Lee coached the US team at the 1960 and '64 Olympics and remained an active swimmer and golfer into his 90s. He was Amateur Athletic Union national champion in platform and springboard diving in 1942, becoming the first person of color to win a national diving title, and in platform in ’46. He also won the 1953 Sullivan Award as the US's top amateur athlete. A retired otolaryngologist, Lee died of pneumonia in Newport Beach, California on December 2, 2016.

Joe McKnight (28) football player who played three seasons for the New York Jets and was a standout at the University of Southern California. McKnight arrived at USC as one of the more promising recruits in the nation, eliciting comparisons to former Trojans star Reggie Bush, but his production never matched the hype. The Jets, seduced by his speed and versatility, traded up to select him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. McKnight had trouble cracking the Jets’s running back rotation but revealed value as a returner, running back kickoffs for touchdowns in 2011 and ‘12, his final full season with the team. He was fatally shot in Terrytown, Louisiana in a possible episode of road rage, on December 1, 2016.

Mark Taimanov (90) virtuoso pianist and former Soviet chess champion whose loss to Bobby Fischer in 1971 in the quarterfinals of a major chess tournament cost him his government salary. Taimanov became one of the leading Soviet chess players after World War II, when the Soviet Union dominated world chess—all while pursuing an equally successful career as a classical pianist, known for performing duets with his wife, Lyubov Bruk. He died in St. Petersburg, Russia on November 28, 2016.

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