Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 20, 2017

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

Roger Ailes, creator of Fox News ChannelMarion Anderson, LA philanthropistMichael Bliss, Canadian historianChana Bloch, poet and Hebrew translatorRoxcy Bolton, Florida feministPowers Boothe, actor who won an Emmy for playing cult leader Jim JonesRobert H. Boyle, sportswriter and conservationistIan Brady and Myra Hindley, British Moors MurderersFrank Brian, Louisiana basketball starRobert Carter, father of singers Nick and Aaron CarterRand Castile, art gallery and museum directorJulian Abele Cook Jr., retired  Detroit federal judgeChris Cornell, rock singerJoy Corning, former Iowa lieutenant governorThomas Daily, former bishop of Brooklyn and Queens, NYAnil Madhav Dave, India's environment ministerChuck Davis, master of African danceRowan Feldhaus, transgender Georgia man who won legal right to male nameJan Fontein, Asian art scholarJacque Fresco, visionary industrial designerJean Fritz, author of historical biographies for childrenNeil Gordon, novelist and educatorStanley Greene, global photojournalistBrad Grey, longtime Paramount chairman and CEOBeatrice Trum Hunter, author of books and articles on organic foodReema Lagoo, Bollywood actress known for playing mothersJim McElreath, veteran Indy 500 racerHerbert Meschke, North Dakota state legislator and state Supreme Court justiceRobert Morgan, cofounder of Mississippi golf tournamentSteve Palermo, baseball umpire shot in robbery interventionBob Patterson, Memphis athletic director and assistant football coachStanislav Petrov, 'man who saved the world'Neil Rolde, Maine politician, historian, and authorJean E. Sammet, designer of COBOL, computer programming language for businessOleg Vidov, 'Soviet Robert Redford'Wayne Walker, Detroit linebacker and NFL analyst

Art and Literature

Chana Bloch (77) poet and a translator of Hebrew verse whose lyrics explored the mysteries and pains of love, her own illness, and the unraveling of her first marriage. An admirer of poets like Emily Dickinson, Anna Akhmatova, and Elizabeth Bishop, Bloch specialized in pared-down verse that fused simplicity with emotional depth. Her subjects included family life, children, sex, and aging. She died of sarcoma in Berkeley, California on May 19, 2017.

Rand Castile (78) founding director of Japan House Gallery in 1971 who introduced audiences to the splendors of Japanese warlord helmets, Kabuki theater, and Tibetan sacred art at the Japan Society in Manhattan and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Castile organized a series of exhibitions, beginning with one devoted to the Rimpa painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. He followed up with a traveling exhibition of Noh masks and robes from one of the largest collections of Japanese art in private hands, that of the Tokugawa family. In 1981, when he assumed the directorship of Japan Society’s performing arts program, he helped to organize the first Grand Sumo Tournament in the US, which brought Japan’s top wrestlers to Madison Square Garden. He also arranged for the Japan Society to sponsor a tour of the Grand Kabuki that opened at the Metropolitan Opera in 1982. His 1985 Japan Society exhibition of Tokugawa-period armor, “Spectacular Helmets of Japan: 16th–19th Century,” was his inaugural exhibition at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, where he became director in ’86. Castile died of congestive heart failure in New York City on May 16, 2017.

Jan Fontein (89) Asian art scholar who oversaw an ambitious expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as its director in the ‘70s and ’80s. Fontein had been curator of Asian art at the museum for nearly 10 years when he was named acting director in 1975 and became director in '76. It was a turbulent period in the museum’s history; finances were shaky, morale was low, and the board had just dismissed its director, whose two years in the post were marked by acrimonious relations with the curatorial staff. Fontein put the museum on a new course almost immediately; under his leadership, the museum presented a blend of challenging, specialized exhibitions and crowd-pleasers like “Pompeii AD 79” (1978), “Pissarro” (1981), and “Renoir” (1985), the latter alone drawing more than half a million visitors, a record for the museum. At the same time he embarked on a building and renovation program, raising $60 million—an enormous sum at the time—to realize it. The new West Wing, designed by I. M. Pei, opened in 1981. Fontein died of Parkinson’s disease in Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts on May 19, 2017.

Jean Fritz (101) award-winning writer whose work helped to transform historical biographies for children from recitals of battles and dates into warm narratives full of quirks and strange facts. The author of more than four dozen books, Fritz was known for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history. Hallmarks of her work included her engaging prose and prodigious archival research. Where children’s biographies of an earlier age inclined toward veneration, Fritz’s were warts-and-all portraits of the often flawed men and women who left their marks on the world—and the resulting books were far more humanizing. Fritz died in Sleepy Hollow, New York on May 14, 2017.

Neil Gordon (59) whose novels about radical politics, most famously The Company You Keep, challenged readers with biblical parables and ethical dilemmas. Gordon had also been dean of Eugene Lang College at the New School in New York, dean of the American University of Paris, and founding literary editor of Boston Review. He was best known outside academia as a novelist, especially after The Company You Keep, his third novel, a fugitive thriller published in 2003, was adapted into a ‘12 feature film directed by and starring Robert Redford. Gordon died of multiple myeloma in New York City on May 19, 2017.

Business and Science

Jean E. Sammet (89) early software engineer and a designer of COBOL, a programming language that brought computing into the business mainstream. The programming language Sammet helped to bring to life is now more than 50 years old, but billions of lines of COBOL code still run on the mainframe computers that underpin the work of corporations and government agencies around the world. Sammet died in Silver Spring, Maryland on May 20, 2017.


Michael Bliss (76) Canadian historian whose unraveling of the story behind the discovery of insulin overturned the widely accepted version and brought international attention to his work. Bliss was already well established as a historian of Canadian business and politics when he turned his attention to the discovery of insulin, the hormone that transformed diabetes from an effective death sentence into a manageable condition. The discovery was made in 1921 by a research team at the University of Toronto against a backdrop of internal feuding that only intensified after the Nobel Prize was awarded in ‘23 to just two of the four principal researchers. Bliss, who taught at the university from 1968–2006, published The Discovery of Insulin in ‘82. His account upset the commonly held wisdom that the discovery had mainly been the work of two inexperienced researchers from the countryside. Bliss died of vasculitis, an inflammatory blood vessel disease, in Toronto, Canada on May 18, 2017.


Ian Brady (79) Englishman whose 1963–65 murders of five children in the company of his lover horrified Britons. Brady’s accomplice, Myra Hindley, died at age 60 in November 2002; despite appeals for parole, she was never released from prison. Brady, who went on a hunger strike in 1999 and was force-fed on the orders of judges who had ruled him mentally ill, never expressed remorse for the killings, some of them involving beatings, torture, and sexual abuse. He had been held at a psychiatric hospital since 1985. Jailed for life in 1966, the couple were known as the Moors Murderers, derived from their practice of burying their victims on Saddleworth Moor, a remote and hilly area near Manchester, in northwest England. Brady had been bedridden for the last couple of years and was terminally ill with emphysema and other ailments. He died at Ashworth Hospital, a high-security psychiatric hospital in Liverpool, England, on May 15, 2017.

Julian Abele Cook Jr. (86) retired Detroit federal judge. Cook was a judge for 36 years until September 2014. One of his last high-profile cases was the federal government's oversight of the Detroit police department owing to excessive force, illegal arrests, and other problems. In 1986 Cook presided over a criminal trial involving auto executive John DeLorean, who was acquitted. Cook was in private law practice when President Jimmy Carter made him a judge in 1978. He died in Silver Spring, Maryland on May 16, 2017.

Rowan Feldhaus (25) transgender man whose winning fight to get a male name made Georgia law. The LGBT nonprofit Lambda Legal represented Feldhaus and Andrew Baumert in their lawsuit. A Georgia appeals court ruled in January that Feldhaus could change his name from Rebeccah Feldhaus, and Baumert could change his from Daphne Baumert. A state judge had said earlier they had to choose gender-neutral names, because male names could confuse and mislead people. Feldhaus died in Atlanta, Georgia of complications after surgery, on May 16, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Roger Ailes (77) communications maestro who transformed TV news and America's political conversation by creating and ruling Fox News Channel for 20 years before being ousted in 2016 for alleged sexual harassment. A former Republican operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush and a one-time adviser to President Donald Trump, Ailes displayed a mastery of modern messaging early in his career. Then he changed the face of 24-hour news when, in 1996, he accepted a challenge from media titan Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN and other TV outlets they deemed left-leaning. That October, Ailes flipped the switch on Fox News Channel, which within a few years became the audience leader in cable news. A hemophiliac, Ailes died eight days after a fall in the bathroom of his Palm Beach, Florida home on May 10 caused bleeding in the brain. He died in a local hospital three days after his 77th birthday, on May 18, 2017.

Powers Boothe (68) character actor known for his villainous roles on TV's Deadwood and in the movies Tombstone, Sin City, and The Avengers. Boothe won an Emmy in 1980 for playing cult leader Jim Jones in the TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. The ceremony was held amid an actors’ strike, and Boothe was the only acting winner to show up for his award. More recently he appeared on ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He died in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2017.

Robert Carter (65) father of Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and fellow singer Aaron Carter. Robert Carter appeared with his family on the 2006 E! reality series, House of Carters; it lasted for one season and included their sister Leslie Carter, who died at age 25 in 2012. Robert Carter died of a suspected heart attack in Florida on May 16, 2017.

Chris Cornell (52) one of the most lauded and respected contemporary lead singers in rock music with his bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. Cornell was a leader of the grunge movement with Seattle-based Soundgarden—with which he gained critical and commercial acclaim—but also found success outside the band with other projects, including Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and solo albums. His voice was memorable and powerful, and he was a skilled songwriter, even collaborating on several film soundtracks, including the James Bond theme song for Casino Royale (2006) and “The Keeper” from the film Machine Gun Preacher, which earned Cornell a Golden Globe nomination. Cornell hanged himself in a Detroit, Michigan hotel room on May 17, 2017.

Chuck Davis (80) dancer and choreographer widely regarded as America’s foremost master of African dance. Davis, who often said he considered dance an agent of social change, performed, choreographed, taught, and otherwise evangelized for the dances of Africa and the African diaspora for more than 50 years. He was known both for his re-creations of traditional dances from throughout the African world and for his contemporary choreographed pieces that fused African traditions with modern dance. Davis was most renowned as founder and longtime artistic director of DanceAfrica, a festival held each Memorial Day weekend at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Founded in 1977, the festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. A sprawling, multiday communal celebration, DanceAfrica presents dancers and musicians from the US, Africa, and the diaspora, along with an outdoor bazaar selling African food and handicrafts; it has been reprised in cities throughout the US. Davis died in Durham, North Carolina on May 14, 2017.

Stanley Greene (68) award-winning American photographer of conflict, disasters, and humanitarian crises across the globe. Greene was five times recognized in the World Press Photo awards. He documented San Francisco's punk scene in the ‘70s and '80s before moving to Paris in 1986. He covered events across the globe and, from 1994–2001, extensively covered the conflict in Chechnya. He died in Paris, France on May 19, 2017.

Brad Grey (59) chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures for 12 years before exiting iast February. Grey oversaw franchises like Star Trek, Transformers, and Mission: Impossible, prestige properties like There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Up in the Air, The Big Short, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Babel, and multiple films from Martin Scorsese including The Wolf of Wall Street, Shutter Island, and Hugo. Grey also produced Scorsese's The Departed, which won Best Picture in 2007. He cofounded the management and production company Brillstein-Grey Entertainment with the late Bernie Brillstein and the production company Plan B Entertainment with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and produced multiple Emmy Award-winning TV shows, including The Sopranos, Real Time with Bill Maher, and The Larry Sanders Show. He died of cancer in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2017.

Reema Lagoo (59) Bollywood actress, ever-smiling screen mother to some of India's top actors. Lagoo’s big break came in 1988 when she played the mother of the leading actress in the romantic hit Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (Until the End of Time). She began to play mothers in Bollywood at a time when the stereotype of Indian mothers changed from the eternally tragic figure who suffered for her children. Lagoo brought a lighter touch; she played the mother who was also her children's friend. She played mother to almost every major star and acted in some of Bollywood's biggest blockbusters. Lagoo died of cardiac arrest in Mumbai, India on May 18, 2017.

Oleg Vidov (73) matinee idol in the Soviet Union who defected to the US at the height of the Cold War, then enjoyed a long film and TV career in Hollywood. The blond, blue-eyed film star's hero roles made Vidov a top box-office draw in the USSR starting in the ‘60s. Russian audiences flocked to see him in fairy tales, romantic films, and a 1972 cowboy movie called The Headless Horseman, which sold a reported 300 million tickets. His work got attention from international filmmakers, but his efforts to work abroad were blocked by the Communist state. So in 1985 Vidov orchestrated an escape to the West through Yugoslavia. He was granted political asylum in the US and landed in southern California, where he was dubbed the Soviet Robert Redford.” He died of cancer near Los Angeles, California on May 15, 2017.

Politics and Military

Roxcy Bolton (90) pioneering Florida feminist credited with founding the US’s first rape treatment center who also helped to persuade national weather forecasters not to name tropical storms after only women. Bolton’s crusade for the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have guaranteed constitutional equality for women, was unsuccessful, but she was instrumental in elevating the prevention and treatment of rape into priorities for law enforcement and health professionals. She persuaded National Airlines to grant maternity leave to pregnant flight attendants rather than firing them and pressured Miami department stores to eliminate the men-only dining sections in their restaurants. Bolton died in Coral Gables, Florida on May 17, 2017.

Joy Corning (84) former Iowa lieutenant governor. Corning served two terms under Gov. Terry Branstad beginning in 1990 during his second term in office. She had lived with a liver condition for 21 years but said recently that her health had been failing. She had the opportunity to write her own obituary but didn't even mention her role as lieutenant governor; her three daughters added it at the end. Corning died in Cedar Falls, Iowa on May 20, 2017.

Anil Madhav Dave (60) India's environment minister. Dave became a legislator in 2009 and was appointed environment minister in July ‘16. He had been unwell off and on since falling ill with pneumonia earlier this year. He died in New Delhi, India after several months of illness, on May 18, 2017.

Herbert Meschke (89) former North Dakota state lawmaker and state Supreme Court justice. Meschke served in the state House and Senate in the ‘60s. He was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1985 by Gov. George Sinner and served until retiring in ’99. Meschke died in Minot, North Dakota on May 19, 2017.

Stanislav Petrov (77) “man who saved the world.” On September 26, 1983, Petrov helped to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war. Then a 44-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Air Defense Forces, he had begun his shift as duty officer at Serpukhov-15, the secret command center outside Moscow where the Soviet military monitored its early-warning satellites over the US, when alarms went off. Computers warned that five Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from an American base. Petrov made a “gut decision” that it was a false alarm. He died of hypostatic pneumonia in Fryazino, Russia, a Moscow suburb, on May 19, 2017.

Neil Rolde (85) politician, historian, and author who worked to save Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—twice. Rolde was a Maine state representative from 1974–99 before he lost a US Senate bid to Republican Bill Cohen. The longtime Democrat led the charge to save the shipyard when it was threatened with closure and was known for his efforts as a historian and author. Rolde also held positions with Maine Public, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Maine Arts & Humanities Commission, Seacoast Shipyard Association, and the University of New England. He died in York, Maine on May 15, 2017.

Society and Religion

Marion Anderson (86) Los Angeles philanthropist who gave more than $100 million to the UCLA graduate management school that now bears the Anderson name. Anderson was the widow of billionaire LA businessman John Anderson (died 2011). She died in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2017.

Thomas Daily (89) retired Roman Catholic bishop who led the diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, New York for more than 13 years. Daily was bishop of Brooklyn from 1990 until his retirement in 2003. During that time he weathered racial tensions and financial hardships. As a young priest he ministered to the indigenous people of Lima, Peru. In his later years, Daily became embroiled in the priest sex scandals. In Boston, where he served in the archdiocese in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he was criticized for failing to thoroughly investigate allegations of priest abuse. He died in Douglaston, Queens, New York on May 15, 2017.

Jacque Fresco (101) self-taught industrial designer who envisioned an alternative society where money would be eliminated and resources distributed equitably by computers. Fresco created the Venus Project on 21 rural acres that he and Roxanne Meadows, his partner, acquired in south-central Florida in 1980 to pursue his quixotic plan: creating a resource-based economy that would rescue modern society from the ills of failed political systems. About two hours south of Orlando, Fresco and Meadows constructed domed buildings and other structures to showcase his ideas for energy-efficient cities that would be built in circular arrangements. They supported the project with $200 tours of the compound and by selling books and videos. Fresco had Parkinson’s syndrome and had recently broken a hip. He died in Sebring, Florida on May 18, 2017.

Beatrice Trum Hunter (98) author of The Natural Foods Cookbook (1961), long before organic foods became a staple at supermarkets. Hunter took an early stance against pesticide exposure, sharing information with Silent Spring author Rachel Carson. She made her own muffins, bread, and soups. In all, Hunter wrote 38 books and numerous articles and columns. Some of her other works include Gardening Without Poisons, The Great Nutrition Robbery, Our Toxic Legacy, and The Sugar Trap & How to Avoid It. She died in Hillsborough, New Hampshire on May 17, 2017.


Robert H. Boyle (88) Brooklyn-born sportswriter and angler who became unofficial guardian of the Hudson River as a crusading conservationist and a founder of a widely replicated watchdog group called Riverkeeper. in 1965 Boyle joined Scenic Hudson and other groups in a lawsuit against a proposed Consolidated Edison nuclear power plant at Storm King in the Hudson Highlands, warning that water-intake equipment would kill small fish. Their suit resulted in the first federal court ruling affirming the right of citizens to mount challenges on the basis of potential harm to aesthetic, recreational, or conservational values and tangible economic injury. In 1970, as a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, Boyle was among the first journalists to report that North American fish were contaminated with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB. He died of cancer in Cooperstown, New York on May 19, 2017.

Frank Brian (94) former Louisiana State University and pro star basketball player. Brian was part of the World War II generation, and military service interrupted his LSU career, which began in 1942 and ended in ’47. He later had a 10-year professional career that saw him become a two-time All-Star in both the National Basketball League and later in the NBA. He served in the Army during WWII, rising to the rank of master sergeant, and began his pro basketball career in Indiana with the NBL's Anderson Packers, a team that later was briefly absorbed by the NBA. He also played in the NBA for Tri-Cities and Fort Wayne. Brian died in Zachary, Louisiana on May 14, 2017.

Jim McElreath (89) teenage dirt-track racer who later became the 1962 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and raced in 15 Indy 500s. McElreath had been one of eight surviving drivers who had driven a front-engine car in the Indy 500, where rear-mounted engines are now standard. He finished sixth or higher in the 500 six times, finishing as high as third in the 1966 race. He retired from competition in 1984 and was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. He died in his sleep in Arlington, Texas on May 19, 2017.

Robert Morgan (86) one of the principal figures in putting Hattiesburg, Miss. on the golf map. Morgan helped to found the Magnolia State Classic in 1968. He spent the next 38 years as tournament director for Mississippi's only Pro Golf Association Tour event, which went through several name changes, including the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic, the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, and the Viking Classic before becoming the Sanderson Farms Championship, played each year in Jackson. Morgan died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on May 19, 2017.

Steve Palermo (67) whose career as a major league baseball umpire ended when he was shot and partly paralyzed in 1991 after intervening in a robbery outside a Dallas restaurant. Palermo was in his 15th season as an American League umpire with a reputation as one of the best callers of strikes and balls. He never umpired again, but despite the medical prognosis that it was unlikely he would walk again, he eventually walked with only a cane. In 2000, Major League Baseball hired him as an umpire supervisor, a position he held until his death from lung cancer in Overland Park, Kansas on May 14, 2017.

Bob Patterson (84) former Memphis athletic director and assistant football coach from 1981–82. Patterson also played for Memphis, then known as Memphis State, in 1953–54. He was an assistant coach at Southwestern Louisiana, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt before returning to Memphis in 1981. He also was a defensive line coach for the US Football League's Memphis Showboats before retiring from coaching in 1986 and later was a part-time scout. He died in Memphis, Tennessee on May 15, 2017.

Wayne Walker (80) Pro Bowl linebacker for the Detroit Lions and broadcaster. The former Idaho standout set a team record by playing in 200 games; the mark stood until kicker Jason Hanson surpassed it in 2004. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Walker led the Lions in scoring three times as its kicker during his 15-year career. He later became an NFL analyst for CBS and the San Francisco 49ers; he was sports director of San Francisco TV station KPIX from 1979–94. Walker said in 2015 that he had Parkinson's disease. He died in his native Boise, Idaho on May 19, 2017.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top