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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 13, 2017

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Michael Parks, prolific character actorThomas A. Bolan, NYC lawyer and power brokerChristopher Boykin, MTV reality show starWilliam Brohn, Broadway orchestratorJeanne Button, Broadway costume designerLloyd Cotsen, former chairman of NeutrogenaSister Nadine Foley, former leader of Adrian Dominican SistersGreg Forristall, Iowa state legislatorGeorge Irvine, former coach of Indiana PacersSally Jacobsen, AP's first woman international editorMauno Koivisto, Finland's last Cold War presidentYale Lary, Detroit Lions safety and punterDavid Levin, champion balloonistAllan H. Meltzer, economist and expert on US Federal Reserve BankCarol Newhouse, wife of US congressman from Washington stateGwendolyn Patton, civil rights activistRobert H. Phelps, newspaper editorThomas Pleger, eighth president of Lake Superior State UniversityQian Qichen, Chinese diplomatLou Richards, Australian football superstarLen Rohde, 49ers offensive tackleDoris Selig, AP communications executiveJudith Stein, author and history professorHugh Thomas, British historian and novelistJack Tilton, NYC art dealer who showcased new artistsEddie N. Williams, headed black think tankGlen Williams, St. John's basketball starEd Young, former US congressman from South Carolina

Art and Literature

Hugh Thomas (85) British historian and associate of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher whose work chronicled great upheaval in the Hispanic world, from Spain’s imperial expansion to its civil war. Thomas produced a broad canon of work, including novels and studies of the American slave trade, the history of Mexico, disarmament (he had worked in the British Foreign Office as a young man), and the beginnings of the Cold War. But it was his vast explorations of Spain on which his reputation was built, beginning with The Spanish Civil War (1961). Banned in Spain during the Franco era, it won the prestigious Somerset Maugham Prize in 1962 and is regarded as a classic, remaining in print, with several revisions, to this day. Thomas died of a stroke in London, England on May 7, 2017.

Jack Tilton (66) New York art dealer whose gallery was instrumental in discovering or giving crucial early exposure to Marlene Dumas, Kiki Smith, David Hammons, and other artists who later became prominent. Tilton, who began his career as an assistant to Betty Parsons (died 1982) at her renowned 57th Street gallery, had an eye for the new and a thirst for discovery. He was particularly keen on finding young artists just coming into their own and giving them the needed push. Several artists who are now well established, including Francis Alys, Glenn Ligon, and Fred Holland, who died in 2016, benefited from his backing. Tilton died of cancer in New York City on May 7, 2017.

Business and Science

Lloyd Cotsen (88) chairman of the Neutrogena soap and cosmetics company who made a fortune and devoted millions to charity. Cotsen joined his father-in-law's cosmetics firm, and by 1967 he was president. He marketed Neutrogena by getting luxury hotels to buy it and dermatologists to recommend it. Sales of the clear amber soap soared as Cotsen helped to build the company into a worldwide brand. It was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 1994 for $924 million, of which Cotsen received about $350 million. He used some of the money to expand his lifelong penchant for collecting folk art, illustrated children's books, Japanese bamboo baskets, antique Chinese mirrors, and other items and donated collections to museums and universities. Cotsen died in Beverly Hills, California on May 8, 2017.


Allan H. Meltzer (89) economist and one of the US's leading experts on the Federal Reserve. A longtime professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Meltzer was the author of more than 10 books and 400 academic papers but was best known for a multivolume history of the nation's central bank. He spent 14 years researching and writing his History of the Federal Reserve, which in three volumes covered the central bank from its creation in 1913 through its battle with a severe bout of inflation that began in the ‘70s. Meltzer died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 8, 2017.

Gwendolyn Patton (73) lifelong activist and a figure in the civil rights community. Patton was the first female Student Government Association president at Tuskegee Institute and was retired from Trenholm State Community College, where she worked as archivist of Special Collections on Montgomery Pioneer Voting Rights Activists. One of nine Jesse Jackson presidential delegates elected in 1984, she coined the phrase scholar-activist and urged students to work in the community for social, political, and economic change. She died in Montgomery, Alabama on May 11, 2017.

Thomas Pleger (48) president of Michigan’s Lake Superior State University. Pleger became the school's eighth president in July 2014. He had previously spent 21 years with the University of Wisconsin system. He underwent brain surgery May 5 at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey and died there two days later, on May 7, 2017.

Judith Stein (77) wrote books about black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey and the impact of politics on the American economy while teaching history at City College of New York (now City University) for 50 years. Stein, who retired from teaching in 2016, influenced the field of political economics with major studies on the collapse of the American steel industry and on the decline in traditional liberalism, which she attributed to a policy agenda that placed Wall Street ahead of factory workers. Her book Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the ’70s (2011) suggested that the government had begun a more conservative economic agenda not with the election of Ronald Reagan, as conventional wisdom has it, but under his predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat. Stein died of lung cancer in New York City on May 8, 2017.


Thomas A. Bolan (92) played silent partner to the flamboyant Roy M. Cohn in their politically potent law firm for 30 years but was a power broker in his own right. Bolan was a founder of the Conservative Party in New York, a patronage dispenser in the state for President Ronald Reagan, an adviser to Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato, and a confidant of William F. Buckley Jr., serving as a board member of his National Review magazine. He flew 35 bomber missions over Nazi-occupied Europe as a decorated navigator during World War II. He prosecuted accused Communists and racketeer Frank Costello and, in the ‘50s, as an assistant US attorney in Manhattan, built a tax evasion case against Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a Democrat who served as a US representative for Harlem. As executive director of Feature Sports Inc., a firm formed by Cohn and limousine magnate William D. Fugazy, Bolan was also a fight promoter who handled the heavyweight championship bouts between Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson. He died of heart failure in Flushing, Queens, New York on May 12, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Christopher Boykin (45) former MTV reality show star. Boykin starred alongside former pro skater Rob Dyrdek in MTV's Rob & Big from 2006–08. He suffered from congenital heart failure, and doctors said he likely needed a transplant. He had been hospitalized several times over the past year and died in Plano, Texas on May 9, 2017.

William Brohn (84) one of musical theater’s top orchestrators, who worked on more than a dozen Broadway shows and won a Tony in 1998 for Ragtime. Orchestrators like Brohn determine the flavor of a musical’s score by assigning the instruments and deciding which ones the musicians will play and when. Brohn collaborated 11 times over nearly 30 years with British producer Cameron Mackintosh, from Miss Saigon in 1989 to the revival of Half a Sixpence currently running in London. He died in New Haven, Connecticut on May 11, 2017.

Jeanne Button (86) urged by her parents to take sewing courses in college that led to a degree in home economics, Button turned what might have been a humdrum job into a glamorous career as a Broadway costume designer. She helped to define hundreds of characters in Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, operas, and films. In 1967 she won an award from the American Theater Wing for the Broadway production of MacBird!, a Shakespearean spoof about the Kennedy assassination in which the Lyndon B. Johnson character was decked out in a chest protector and catcher’s mitt and John F. Kennedy was inaugurated wearing a laurel wreath and trailing black robes. Button also compiled the monumental multivolume A History of Costume in Slides, Notes, & Commentaries, a 450-page text accompanied by sketches and 1,500 color photographs by her son. Completed in the early ‘90s, it traced the evolution of men’s and women’s clothing over 5,000 years, since ancient Egypt. Button died of lung cancer in New York City on her 86th birthday, May 8, 2017.

Sally Jacobsen (70) experienced Associated Press correspondent who became the first woman to serve as the news service's international editor, overseeing with a steady hand coverage of wars, terrorism, and a daily stream of history-making events. Jacobsen’s 39-year career took her from the precincts of financial power as a Washington economics correspondent to the earthquake-ravaged barrios of Mexico City, to the councils of NATO in Brussels, then to the pressure-packed job at New York headquarters of leading AP's scores of international correspondents through the years of 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. She died of cancer in Croton-on-Hudson, New York on May 11, 2017.

Michael Parks (77) prolific character actor who found early fame in ‘60s countercultural roles and later became a favorite of directors including Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith. In a career that spanned 60 years, Parks acted in more than 100 films and TV shows. Many of his early starring roles were in antiestablishment '60s-era films such as Wild Seed, The Happening with Anthony Quinn, and Bus Riley's Back in Town alongside Ann-Margret. He also starred as a disillusioned, motorcycle-riding newsman in the 1969 TV series Then Came Bronson and played Canadian drug runner Jean Renault on David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Tarantino cast him in multiple roles in both parts of Kill Bill and his “Planet Terror” half of Grindhouse (2007). Parks died in Los Angeles, California on May 9, 2017.

Robert H. Phelps (97) newspaper editor who had a distinguished career at the Boston Globe, shaping the modern paper, overseeing the coverage in major series that won Pulitzer Prizes, and serving as the newspaper’s executive editor for 11 years. But Phelps may be remembered as much for one story that he missed. In 1972, as news editor in the Washington bureau of the New York Times, he inadvertently let the Watergate scandal slip through his fingers, allowing it to become the Washington Post’s scoop. Under Phelps’s leadership, the Globe won the Pulitzer for public service in 1975 for its coverage of Boston’s school desegregation dispute. He also led the Spotlight Team that won a Pulitzer in 1980 for local investigative reporting for a series on abuses by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Phelps died of colorectal cancer in Lincoln, Massachusetts on May 10, 2017.

Doris Selig (90) woman who rose from a teenage printer attendant for the Associated Press during World War II to communications executive during a 55-year career with the global news agency. After graduating from high school in 1943, Selig joined the AP bureau there. She tended news copy printers before becoming a teletype operator, punching in stories. In 1974 she transferred to AP's communications facility in New Jersey for training as a technician. She later returned to New York and worked in the communications department at AP's Manhattan headquarters, retiring as assistant chief of communications in 1998. Selig died in Albany, New York on May 12, 2017.

Politics and Military

Greg Forristall (67) Republican state representative from southwest Iowa. Forristall was elected in 2016 to his sixth term in the Iowa State House. He served on several committees and previously helped to lead the chamber's education and labor committees. He died of cancer in Des Moines, Iowa on May 10, 2017.

Mauno Koivisto (93) Finland's last president during the Cold War who led the Nordic nation out of the shadow of its huge eastern neighbor, the Soviet Union, and into the European Union. Koivisto served two six-year terms between 1982–94, enjoying great popularity among ordinary Finns. For most Finns, his presidency marked the end of the long reign of predecessor Urho Kekkonen, who had ruled Finland with an iron grip for 25 years until his resignation in 1981. Koivisto was seen as ushering in a new, freer era, changing the face of the country by reducing the powers of the head of state and strengthening the role of Parliament. Above all, he was recognized for his foreign policy skills with a fine balancing act of maintaining the small country's good relations with the West—particularly the US—and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War years. He died in Helsinki, Finland on May 12, 2017.

Carol Newhouse (62) wife of Washington state Republican US Rep. Dan Newhouse, who said in a release earlier in the month that he missed the House vote repealing the Affordable Care Act to be at his wife's side. The couple would have celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on May 15. Dan Newhouse, who represents Washington's 4th Congressional District, said in April that his wife was diagnosed with cancer several years ago and that she had been receiving chemotherapy treatments since February. Carol Newhouse died in Seattle, Washington on May 12, 2017.

Qian Qichen (90) former Chinese vice premier and top diplomat who oversaw the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. The Shanghai-born veteran diplomat was chairman of a committee China appointed to prepare for Hong Kong's change of sovereignty in 1997. Qian was also the country's top foreign affairs official in 2001 when relations with the US took a steep downturn after a US Navy surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea. The Chinese plane crashed, killing the pilot. Qian's diplomatic career started in 1955 when he worked in the Chinese Embassy in Moscow, returning home in ’63. He spoke English and Russian. He died in Beijing, China on May 9, 2017.

Eddie N. Williams (84) son of a hotel housekeeper who as head of the nation’s leading black think tank for more than 30 years marshaled facts and figures to advocate the political and economic advancement of black people. Then called the Joint Center for Political Studies, the center had been established in Washington in 1970 to provide political and governmental expertise to the trail-blazing black officials who had been elected since the '65 Voting Rights Act was approved. Williams eventually changed the institution’s name to the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies to reflect the important role that education, health care, income inequality, and employment, besides voting rights, played in its mission. He died of pneumonia in Bethesda, Maryland on May 8, 2017.

Ed Young (96) one of South Carolina's first Republicans to win a US House seat in the 20th century. Young served one term in the US House. He won the election in 1972 over Democrat John Jenrette, who had upset a longtime incumbent in the primary. At the time Young was only the third Republican elected to the US House in the 1900s, after the Reconstruction era. In 2016 Republicans won six of the state's seven congressional districts. Young was a farmer who flew nearly 200 combat missions in World War II. He also served one term in the State House in the late ‘50s. He died in the Florence County, South Carolina home where he was born, on May 9, 2017.

Society and Religion

Sister Nadine Foley (93) former leader of Adrian Dominican Sisters, an international congregation of nuns based in Michigan. Foley served two terms as the congregation's general councilor in the ‘70s and '80s, and prioress from 1986–92. The General Council under her leadership supported protecting people who fled Central America and developing the role of women in church. Foley wrote and edited articles and books on faith and taught at high schools, colleges, and universities, including Adrian's Siena Heights University. She entered the Adrian Sisters in 1945—the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in science from Siena Heights. Foley, who retired last year, died at the congregation's motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan on May 13, 2017.


George Irvine (69) former standout basketball player for the University of Washington who later coached nearly 200 games for the Indiana Pacers in the ‘80s before working in the front office. Irvine became Indiana's head coach in 1984 after three seasons as an assistant with the team. He went 48-116 in two seasons and later returned as interim coach in 1988–89. He got a second chance with Detroit in 1999–2000 and stuck around for one more season, then finished his head coaching career with a record of 100-190. He died of cancer near his hometown of Seattle, Washington on May 9, 2017.

Yale Lary (86) Hall of Fame safety who helped the Detroit Lions to win three NFL titles during the ‘50s. Lary had 50 interceptions during an 11-season career that was interrupted during the mid-‘50s by service in the Army. He was also a punter and kick returner for the Lions, averaging 44.3 yards a punt. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1979. After playing for Texas A&M, he was drafted by the Lions in 1952 and played two seasons before serving a tour of duty with the Army. Detroit won NFL titles in 1952–53 and ‘57—three of Lary's first four seasons. He died in Fort Worth, Texas on May 12, 2017.

David Levin (68) first balloonist to soar over Pikes Peak in Colorado, reaching a height of more than 14,000 feet. Levin won the 1985 World Hot Air Balloon Championship in Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1992, by winning the World Gas Balloon Championship in Obertraun, Austria, he became the only pilot to capture world championships in hot-air and gas balloons. Later that year he completed ballooning’s triple crown when he won the Gordon Bennett Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, a distance event in which he flew a little more than 964 miles in 44½ hours. In 25 years of competition, Levin racked up victories in national and international contests, ascending to the highest of highs and descending to the lowest of lows. In 2000 he set a distance record for the National Gas Balloon Championship when he and his brother, Alan, traveled 1,998 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Gorham, Maine in his final victory. Levin died of pancreatic cancer in Boulder, Colorado on May 13, 2017.

Lou Richards (94) one of the first superstars in Australian rules football. Richards played for Collingwood from 1941–55. He was inducted into the sport's hall of fame in 1996 and was among the inaugural inductees into the club's hall of fame in 2004. He died in Melbourne, Australia on May 8, 2017.

Len Rohde (79) former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle. Rohde originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice out of Utah State by the 49ers in 1960. He spent 15 seasons with the team, appearing in 208 games, the most ever among 49ers offensive linemen, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1971. Rohde died in Santa Clara, California on May 13, 2017.

Glen Williams (63) basketball star at St. John's University in the ‘70s and a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks. Williams was ranked ninth on the St. John's scoring list with 1,727 points. He was one of 50 players selected to the program's all-century team in 2008. A 2000 St. John's Hall of Fame inductee, Williams averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds during his four seasons. He still ranked fourth in career field goals made with 712 and never shot below 50 per cent in any season. He had been battling cancer for the last seven years when he died in New York City on May 9, 2017.

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