Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 3, 2017

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

Jiri Belohlavek, Czech Philharmonic conductorIrvin Marcus Billy, vice president of Navajo NationEric Broadley, British designer and builder of Lola race carsWendell Burton, actor turned ministerWilliam ('Buck') Byham, Pennsylvania radio sportscasterDavid R. Choby, Catholic bishop of NashvilleSamuel DuBois Cook, longtime president of New Orleans' Dillard UniversityRoberto De Vicenzo, Argentine golf championFrank DeFord, legendary sportswriterSara Ehrman, adviser on liberal politicsMetropolitan Iakovos Garmatis, Greek Orthodox Church leader in US MidwestReinhold Hanning, former Nazi guard at Auschwitz death campSergio Haro, Mexican-based journalistJoe Hyams, Hollywood studio publicity executiveFred Koenekamp, Oscar-winning cinematographerFred A. Kummerow, professor who fought for ban on trans fatsDavid Lewiston, recorded ethnic music for Nonesuch Explorer seriesHoward Philip Marguleas, US produce pioneerRonald Markman, painter and sculptorJack McCloskey, former Detroit Pistons general managerConstantine Mitsotakis, former prime minister of GreeceAlois Mock, former Austrian foreign ministerManuel Noriega, former dictator of PanamaJack O'Neill, surfing icon who pioneered first wetsuitRaymond Pfeifer, NYC firefighter and 9/11 first responderJim Piersall, major league baseball player who suffered from mental illnessMinor Rootes, Maine theater professorPeter Sallis, British actorCharles Simmons, book reviewer turned novelistDr. William J. L. Sladen, physician turned zoologistSir Jeffrey Tate, British opera conductorElena Verdugo, actress who played Nurse Lopez on 'Marcus Welby, MD' with Robert YoungDonald Vidrine, BP supervisor in 2010 drilling rig explosionSergei Vikharev, Russian ballet dancer and masterDr. Lawrence L. Weed, pioneer in organizing patient data and computer diagnosis

Art and Literature

Ronald Markman (86) artist who conjured an alternative universe to represent the absurdity he saw in everyday life, then fashioned that whimsical world into sculptures that were outsize in their vibrancy and scale. In his 60-year career, Markman sought to break free from the staid principles that defined classical art. He died of pneumonia in Annapolis, Maryland on May 30, 2017.

Charles Simmons (92) whose five critically acclaimed novels included a savage sendup of the New York Times “Book Review,” where he had worked as an editor for 30 years. In 1965 Simmons, an erudite reviewer and essayist, won a William Faulkner Foundation Award for Powdered Eggs, recognized as a notable first novel. Virtually every reviewer loved The Belle Lettres Papers, Simmons' wicked 1987 satire about book reviewing—every one, that is, except perhaps for those at the Times, where he ruffled feathers and from which he had taken early retirement the year before, after the first two chapters were published in The Nation. Simmons died in New York City of injuries he sustained in a 2016 fall, on June 1, 2017

Business and Science

Fred A. Kummerow (102) University of Illinois professor who spent decades pushing for a federal ban on artery-clogging artificial trans fats. Kummerow was a comparative biosciences professor whose trans fats research dated back to the ‘50s. His efforts to have artificial trans fats removed from processed foods included filing a 2009 petition with the Federal Drug Administration; he also sued the agency in 2013. In 2015 the FDA ordered food companies to phase them out. Kummerow lived a healthful life by example, including exercising regularly. He died of old age in Urbana, Illinois on May 31, 2017.

Howard Philip Marguleas (82) US produce pioneer responsible for introducing the first Hawaiian pineapples sold on the mainland and the first mangoes grown in California. Marguleas founded Sun World International, a produce wholesaler based in Bakersfield, in the mid-‘70s. At Sun World he initiated the growing of seedless watermelons, La Rouge Royale sweet red peppers, and DiVine Ripe tomatoes in the US. He also was credited with introducing seedless grapes and watermelons to the produce bins at grocery stores. Under his direction, Sun World grew rapidly, with growers in Mexico, Chile, and more than 10 states. Marguelas died of cancer in Rancho Mirage, California on June 1, 2017.

Dr. William J. L. Sladen (96) physician by training and zoologist by choice who became a leading expert on the libido of Antarctic penguins and the migratory patterns of endangered birds in North America. Sladen died of cerebrovascular disease in Warrenton, Virginia on May 29, 2017.

Donald Vidrine (69) one of two British Petroleum supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon when the drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The deadly rig explosion off Louisiana's coast unleashed the US's worst offshore oil spill, with an estimated 134 million gallons of crude spewing into the Gulf over the course of nearly three months. Vidrine and fellow rig supervisor Robert Kaluza were indicted in 2012 on manslaughter charges, but the case eventually fizzled after a judge threw out some of the charges and prosecutors elected to drop the rest. Vidrine pleaded guilty in December 2015 to a misdemeanor pollution charge and was sentenced to 10 months of probation. A jury acquitted Kaluza after a trial in which Vidrine testified as a government witness. Vidrine died of cancer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 3, 2017.

Dr. Lawrence L. Weed (93) physician who introduced a system for organizing patient data in the ‘50s that is now used in hospitals all over the world. Weed also led the way in developing a computerized method for aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. He died in Underhill, Vermont on June 3, 2017.


Samuel DuBois Cook (88) lifelong educator widely saluted as the first tenure-track black professor appointed by a predominantly white university in the South since Reconstruction. Cook taught political science at Duke University from 1966–74 before serving 22 years as president of Dillard University, a historically black institution in New Orleans. Cook was a staunch defender of all-black colleges and a crusader for interracial harmony, especially between blacks and Jews. At Dillard he established the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations. He also increased student enrollment by 50 per cent and started a Japanese-language curriculum. He died in Atlanta, Georgia on May 29, 2017.

Minor Rootes (86) University of Southern Maine theater professor who wrote his own obituary, in the first person. Rootes used the opportunity to thank those who were positive influences in his life, including his parents, his former wife, and his current wife. He also thanked his oncologist and Mercy Hospital “for keeping me alive for an extra decade.” He died of cancer in Portland, Maine on June 3, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Jiri Belohlavek (71) chief conductor and music director of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra. Belohlavek was known above all for his interpretations of the music by Czech composers including Antonin Dvorak, Leos Janacek, and Bedrich Smetana. At home Belohlavek was in charge of several Czech orchestras, including Brno Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra, and Prague Philharmonia. Abroad he cooperated with leading musical ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and others. In 2006–12 he was chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Belohlavek three times conducted the popular final concert of the BBC Proms festival, the Last Night of the Proms, and was the first conductor not from an English-speaking country to be given that prestigious role. He died in Prague, Czech Republic, on May 31, 2017.

Wendell Burton (69) actor whose promising Hollywood career began with a starring role opposite Liza Minnelli in the 1969 film The Sterile Cuckoo but fizzled before he turned to ministerial work for megachurch preacher Joel Osteen. Until then Burton’s experience had consisted of playing the lead in a production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in San Francisco. He got the movie role one day before his 21st birthday. Burton died of brain cancer in Houston, Texas on May 30, 2017.

Sergio Haro (60) Mexican-based journalist, one of Baja, California's most respected. After a fellow journalist was shot to death in 1997, Haro linked the killing to a local drug trafficker. Not long afterward he found himself the target of anonymous threats—but continued to report the story. Haro was found dead at his home in Mexicali, according to the Tijuana newsweekly Zeta, where he spent much of his professional life working as an editor and reporter. At his death, reportedly from a heart attack, Haro was at his computer, working on an article for the June 2 edition, on May 30, 2017.

Joe Hyams (90) studio publicity executive who managed film campaigns for such luminaries as Clint Eastwood, Barbra Streisand, John Wayne, and Federico Fellini. Hyams spent more than 40 years at Warner Brothers, where he developed close personal and professional relationships with some of the biggest stars of the era. He worked with Eastwood on all the actor’s films from Every Which Way but Loose (1978) through Mystic River (2003), helping to steer the movies through film festivals, theatrical runs, and awards seasons. Hyams died in Los Angeles, California on May 31, 2017.

Fred Koenekamp (94) cinematographer who won an Oscar for the 1974 disaster epic The Towering Inferno. With over 90 credits to his name, Koenekamp often collaborated with director Franklin J. Schaffner. He earned Oscar nominations for Schaffner's Patton and Islands in the Stream and won the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Koenekamp suffered a stroke in 2016 and died in Bonita Springs, Florida on May 31, 2017.

David Lewiston (88) whose recordings for Nonesuch records, beginning in the late ‘60s, brought the indigenous music of Bali, Tibet, Guatemala, and other ports of call to the ears of adventurous listeners. For decades Lewiston, a classically trained pianist, roamed the four corners of the earth with tape recorder in hand, seeking out Tantric Buddhist chants in Tibet; festival music in Oaxaca, Mexico; the kecak monkey chant of Bali; and the panpipe music of Peru. He listened and recorded, not as an ethnomusicologist but as an enthusiast. The dozens of albums he made for the Nonesuch Explorer series reflected his conviction that music was meant to be enjoyed rather than analyzed. He died after suffering a series of strokes in Wailuku, Hawaii on May 29, 2017.

Peter Sallis (96) British actor who played cheese-loving inventor Wallace in the Wallace & Gromit cartoons. Sallis became famous in Britain as a star of the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine and was proud to have appeared in every episode during the show's 37-year run. Millions around the world know his voice from animator Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, which charted the adventures of a cheese-loving Yorkshireman with a passion for inventing wild contraptions and his level-headed, silent dog, Gromit. Sallis died in London, England on June 2, 2017.

Sir Jeffrey Tate (74) English conductor whose interpretations of the German repertory and work with singers made him a constant presence at concert halls and opera houses around the world. Tate cut an unusual figure on the stage; his body twisted out of shape by spina bifida and kyphosis, a severe curvature of the spine, he conducted from a tall stool, limited in his ability to turn to either side. Despite those limitations, he rose quickly to conducting’s front ranks after leading the Göteborg Opera in Carmen in Sweden in 1978. He had recently been conducting in northern Italy when he died of a heart attack in Bergamo, Italy on June 2, 2017.

Elena Verdugo (92) film and TV actress best known for her role as nurse Consuelo Lopez on Marcus Welby, MD (1969–76). Playing alongside Robert Young and James Brolin, Verdugo's role as Nurse Lopez was her longest-running character and brought her squarely into America’s living rooms. She was twice nominated for an Emmy for the role. The show capped a decades-long career for Verdugo that began when she was a teen. A descendant of early-day Los Angeles settlers, she signed a contract when she was just 15 with 20th Century-Fox. She died in Los Angeles, California on May 30, 2017.

Sergei Vikharev (55) Russian ballet master and former dancer in the Mariinsky Ballet who sparked a continuing debate over how to stage 19th-century works when he stunned international audiences with a four-hour spectacular production of The Sleeping Beauty in 1999. In attempting a so-called “reconstruction” of the classic ballet rather than a simple revival, Vikharev sought to replace familiar, and shorter, streamlined versions of the work with a more complete staging that was closer to Marius Petipa’s choreography for the original 1890 version at the Mariinsky. Vikharev reportedly died of a blood clot in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 2, 2017.

Politics and Military

Irvin Marcus Billy (77) former vice president of the Navajo Nation. Billy was the tribe's interim VP during the Leonard Haskie administration from 1989–91. Before that he was a Navajo Council delegate representing the Tuba City chapter and was Bureau of Indian Affairs' Regional Director for the Western Agency. The Navajo Nation covers more than 27,000 square miles in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Billy died in Tuba City, Arizona on June 2, 2017.

Sara Ehrman (98) fixture in liberal politics who advised President Bill Clinton on the Israeli-Arab conflict. But Ehrman was best known as the woman who in 1974 advised a young Hillary Rodham not to move to Arkansas to marry Clinton, then a young law professor making his first run—unsuccessfully—for Congress. Ehrman died of endocarditis in Washington, DC on June 3, 2017.

Reinhold Hanning (95) one of the last surviving SS guards from the Auschwitz death camp. Hanning died in Germany a year after he was sentenced to five years in prison as an accessory to 170,000 murders during the time he worked at the camp. Because he was appealing his conviction at his death, the conviction is not considered legal under the German system. He never spent time behind bars. For decades former guards at Auschwitz and other death camps escaped prosecution because the German justice authorities had maintained that they could prosecute only people who were concretely tied by witnesses or other evidence to specific criminal acts. Almost a million Jews and tens of thousands of others were murdered at Auschwitz, in Nazi-occupied Poland. Hanning died on May 30, 2017.

Constantine Mitsotakis (98) former conservative prime minister remembered for fierce confrontations with Greece's liberal and socialist parties and early free-market reforms during a 60-year political career. Mitsotakis was prime minister between 1990–93, a brief spell during 20 years dominated by his Socialist rivals. He retired from active politics in 2004 but remained honorary chairman of the center-right New Democracy party. He was credited with starting unpopular financial reforms to loosen state control of the economy, which were quietly continued by later governments, and improving relations with Turkey. But he was also often regarded as a divisive figure in a country struggling to escape its volatile political history. He died in Athens, Greece on May 29, 2017.

Alois Mock (82) former Austrian foreign minister (1987–95) who, with his Hungarian counterpart, made worldwide headlines nearly 30 years ago by cutting through barbed wire that represented the Communist Iron Curtain separating the two countries. Lauded by Austrian leaders as a key architect of Austria's 1995 European Union entry, Mock was more remembered worldwide for the border ceremony on June 27, 1989. The moment he and then-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Horn wielded wire cutters to demonstrate good neighborly relations between the West and the Soviet bloc was captured in iconic photos that made front pages across the world. At the time there were few signs that the Iron Curtain would soon come down. But that symbolic opening between East and West was followed only months later with the first major event foreshadowing the end of Communist rule in eastern Europe. After tens of thousands of East Germans turned their backs on their hard-line Communist homeland and flooded Hungary in a desperate bid to cross to West Germany, Hungary opened its border with Austria and allowed them free passage. Mock died in Vienna, Austria on June 1, 2017.

Manuel Noriega (83) former Panamanian dictator. The onetime US ally was ousted as Panama's dictator by an American invasion in 1989. Noriega later served a 17-year drug sentence in the US. He spent the first 20 years after his ouster in US and French prisons and the final years of his life in a Panamanian prison for murder of political opponents during his 1983–89 regime. In recent years he had suffered various ailments, including high blood pressure and bronchitis. In 2016 doctors detected the rapid growth of a benign brain tumor that had first been spotted in ’12. In January a court granted him house arrest to prepare for surgery on the tumor. He died in Panama City, Panama on May 29, 2017.

Raymond Pfeifer (59) retired New York firefighter who spent months digging through debris after the September 11 terror attacks, then became a key voice in fighting for health care for first responders while wracked with late-stage cancer himself. Pfeifer was among those who lobbied for the renewal of the Zadroga Act, which provides health benefits to first responders who fell ill after the attacks in 2001. In 2015 they went to Congress to challenge lawmakers to extend health monitoring and treatment for 9/11 first responders. Congress ultimately did reauthorize the program. Pfeifer died in New York City after an eight-year fight with cancer, on May 28, 2017.

Society and Religion

David R. Choby (70) bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville. Choby was ordained a priest in 1974 and was installed as diocese bishop in 2006. He sustained a head cut and vertebrae damage in a fall at his home on February 7. On June 1, doctors removed his pacemaker and internal defribillator because of recurring blood infections. Choby died from a blood infection two days later in Nashville, Tennessee on June 3, 2017.

Metropolitan Iakovos Garmatis (89) leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in the US Midwest. Garmatis oversaw 34 parishes in Illinois and two dozen others in northern Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, eastern Missouri, and Wisconsin, along with two monastic communities. He served in the Greek Orthodox Church for nearly 50 years and was the first metropolitan of Chicago. He died after an unexpected illness and surgery at a Chicago, Illinois hospital on June 2, 2017.


Eric Broadley (88) onetime cabinetmaker from Britain who became an acclaimed designer of race cars. Broadley’s creations won the Indianapolis 500 and numerous other events. A tinkerer and self-taught engineer, he started building cars in his spare time at the urging of his cousin Graham Broadley. In 1958 they emerged with the Mk1, a lightweight sports car that Eric raced at the Brands Hatch track in Kent. In a qualifying heat, he raced faster than anyone there ever had. Broadley and his cousin received orders to produce more Mk1s from their modest garage. In the decades that followed, working under the Lola Cars name, Broadley designed and built myriad cars that raced on various circuits, including Formula One, CART, and IndyCar. He died of a stroke in Cambridge, England on May 28, 2017.

William ('Buck') Byham (88) local Pennsylvania radio sportscaster known for his volunteer work and announcing at the Little League World Series. Byham broadcast Lycoming college football and basketball games on WWPA-AM for about 40 years but was also known for working the press box at Little League Volunteer Stadium in Williamsport since 1959 and serving as stadium announcer. The press box area of the stadium has been named in his honor since 2002. He died in South Williamport, Pennsylvania on May 30, 2017.

Roberto De Vicenzo (94) golfer known as much for his scorecard error at the 1968 Masters as his '67 British Open victory that made him Argentina's first major golf champion. At the Masters, after a birdie on the 17th hole to lead, De Vicenzo made bogey on the final hole for a 7-under 65 to share the lead with Bob Goalby and presumably face a playoff the next day. But those scores were not on his card kept by Tommy Aaron; the birdie 3 on the 17th hole had been marked as a 4, and DeVicenzo signed it. Under the Rules of Golf, he had to keep the 4. The 65 became a 66, and instead of a playoff, De Vicenzo was a runner-up to Goalby. That led to one of the most famous lines in golf when DeVicenzo lamented, “What a stupid I am!” He broke his hip in May and died in Buenos Aires, Argentina on June 1, 2017.

Frank DeFord (78) award-winning sportswriter and commentator whose reportage was a staple for years at Sports Illustrated and on National Public Radio. Deford was a six-time Sports Writer of the Year and a member of the National Association of Sportscasters & Sportswriters Hall of Fame. He wrote and spoke with a lyrical touch and earlier this month retired from NPR's Morning Edition after 37 years as a contributor. He died in Key West, Florida on May 28, 2017.

Jack McCloskey (91) general manager who built the Detroit Pistons' “Bad Boys” championship teams. Led by McCloskey draft picks Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman—all Hall of Famers, the Pistons won NBA titles in 1989–90. Known as Trader Jack, McCloskey helped to guide Detroit to nine straight playoff appearances, five Eastern Conference Finals in a row, and three NBA Finals. He was fighting Alzheimer’s disease when he died in Savannah, Georgia on June 1, 2017.

Jack O'Neill (94) northern California surfing world icon who pioneered the wetsuit. O’Neill began wearing a black eyepatch after his surfboard hit his left eye while riding a wave. He moved to San Francisco's Ocean Beach neighborhood in the early ‘50s. Looking to surf longer in the frigid northern California ocean, he began experimenting with various materials until he invented the first neoprene wetsuit. After moving to Santa Cruz and opening a surf shop catering to the city's growing surf scene, by the ‘80s O'Neill had become the world's largest recreation wetsuit designer and manufacturer, and the O'Neill surf brand had reached Australia, Europe, Japan, and other corners of the globe. But he considered O'Neill Sea Odyssey, a marine and environmental education program for children, his proudest achievement. Founded in 1996, it has taken nearly 100,000 school-aged children to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to learn about the ocean. O'Neill died in Santa Cruz, California on June 2, 2017.

Jim Piersall (87) former major leaguer who bared his soul about his struggles with mental illness in his book Fear Strikes Out. Piersall played for the Boston Red Sox for seven of his 17 seasons in the majors. His on-field antics when he first broke into the majors with the Red Sox full-time in 1952 cracked up fans and provided fodder for newspaper columnists. In one game against the St. Louis Browns, he made pig noises and mocked the odd throwing motion of aging Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. But Piersall also had furious arguments with umpires, broke down sobbing one day when told he couldn't play, and got into a fist fight with the New York Yankees' Billy Martin at Fenway Park, followed minutes later by a scuffle with a teammate. He died in Wheaton, Illinois after a months-long illness, on June 3, 2017.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top