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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, July 1, 2017

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Russ Adams, Pulitzer-nominated tennis photographerGeri Allen, jazz pianistMiriam Marx Allen, elder daughter of comedian Groucho MarxPeter L. Berger, theologian and sociologistMichael Bond, creator of Paddington BearMitchell Chester, Massachusetts education commissionerIsabelle Clark-Deces, Princeton anthropology professorKelan Philip Cohran, Chicago musician and educatorTom Corcoran, Olympic skierGary DeCarlo, singer and cocomposer of sports taunt songNorman Dorsen, human rights advocate and lawyerDean Flake, former Arizona mayor and father of US Sen. Jeff FlakePaul Hardin 3rd, former chancellor at University of North CarolinaDarrall Imhoff, basketball standoutPaul Matt, southern California builderMeechy Monroe, YouTube celebrity who showed black women how to go 'natural'Michael Nyqvist, Swedish film actorDoug Peterson, designer of America's Cup-winning yachtsDave Rosser, rock guitaristMax Runager, NFL punterStevie Ryan, actress and comedianDave Semenko, Edmonton Oilers 'tough guy'Alain Senderens, French chef of 'nouvelle cuisine'Ric Suggitt, Canadian rugby coachJon Underwood, founder of London's Death CafeSimone Veil, French politicianSuzanne Wasserman, historian and filmmakerNeil J. Welch, FBI officialHeathcote Williams, British poet and radicalAnthony Young, NY Mets pitcher who set losing record

Art and Literature

Michael Bond (91) British creator of Paddington Bear, the marmalade-loving teddy in a duffel coat and floppy hat. Bond's creation has enchanted children for more than 50 years and become an icon immortalized in print, on screens, and as countless stuffed toys. The furry adventurer first appeared in A Bear Called Paddington in 1958—a stowaway from “darkest Peru” who arrived at London’s Paddington train station wearing a sign saying, “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” Bond died in London, England on June 27, 2017.

Heathcote Williams (75) poet, playwright, actor, lyricist, painter, sculptor, magician, and relentless scourge of the British establishment for 50 years. A radical in the tradition of Blake and Shelley, Williams vented his outrage at royal privilege, private property, environmental degradation, and a host of other targets, using every artistic means available. He took dead aim at enforced conformity, the stupefying effects of TV, and the malign intentions of mental health professionals. To celebrate the queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012, Williams came up with a special book-length poem of appreciation, Royal Babylon: The Criminal Record of the British Monarchy. He died of lung disease in Oxford, England on July 1, 2017.

Business and Science

Paul Matt (85) builder whose firm constructed the Broad art museum and other Los Angeles landmarks. In a career that spanned 70 years, Matt worked on the Salk Institute in San Diego and the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County before cofounding Matt Construction in 1991 with his son and brother. Matt Construction served as general contractor for the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, which opened in June, and the $125-million overhaul of the Petersen Automotive Museum, completed in 2015. Its other high-profile restorations include the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Natural History Museum of LA County. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Paul Matt died in Newport Beach, California, where he had lived for more than 45 years, on June 30, 2017.

Alain Senderens (77) French chef who rejected his Michelin stars and was acclaimed as a visionary, rebel, and a force in the development of nouvelle cuisine. Senderens was regarded by his peers as a cerebral chef who helped to open the way to new approaches to gastronomy. He was among the chefs who pushed forward the lighter nouvelle cuisine that captures the flavors of regional products. In 2005 he transformed the Parisian temple of gastronomy, Lucas Carton, which he took over in 1985, into a lower-priced establishment. That was after he tried to give back his years of three star-ratings, only to win two stars the next year. Senderens died in Saint-Setiers, France on June 25, 2016.


Mitchell Chester (65) Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education. Chester had been commissioner since May 2008. He began his career as an elementary school teacher in Connecticut and later served in the Department of Education in that state. He also served in administrative positions in Philadelphia and in the state of Ohio. Chester wrote in his June 16 weekly update on the department's website that he had temporarily cut back his schedule this spring to undergo medical treatment. He died of cancer in Boston, Massachusetts on June 26, 2017.

Isabelle Clark-Deces (61) professor at Princeton University. Clark-Deces was born in Paris and was an anthropology professor who studied South Asia and frequently traveled to the area. She had directed Princeton's program in South Asian studies since it was established in 2007 and was directing a six-week international study seminar for a small group of students in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. She died in the village of Mussoorie, India after falling while leading a seminar for students in India's Himalayan mountains, on June 29, 2017.

Paul Hardin 3rd (86) former University of North Carolina chancellor who led the school into its third century while increasing faculty diversity. Hardin was UNC's chancellor from 1988–95; during that time he helped to lead the school's year-long bicentennial fund-raising effort and celebration that culminated in late 1993 and included a visit from then-President Bill Clinton. The fund-raising effort was so successful that it well exceeded its goals, ultimately resulting in $440 million in private gifts. Hardin died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on July 1, 2017.

Suzanne Wasserman (60) Chicago-born historian and filmmaker who made New York City, especially the Lower East Side, the focus of her work in a wide array of publications, exhibitions, and educational programs. Wasserman became intrigued by the Lower East Side—the teeming Manhattan enclave where European immigrants settled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—soon after moving to the East Village in the ‘80s. Her interest in the area led her in the ‘90s to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on Orchard Street, a formerly abandoned six-story building that had begun housing poor immigrants in the 19th century. As a consultant, then a staff member, Wasserman shaped the stories that are told about the families who had once lived there and trained the guides who led visitors though their restored apartments. She made four historical documentaries. Wasserman died of progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder, in New York City on June 26, 2017.


Norman Dorsen (86) human rights advocate who led the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years and was involved in some of the biggest civil liberties cases of the second half of the 20th century. Dorsen’s career-long focus on civil liberties was informed by his involvement in the Army-McCarthy Hearings in 1954, and he later argued US Supreme Court cases that established juveniles’ rights to due process and acknowledged the rights of children born out of wedlock, and early arguments before the court on abortion and gay rights. He died of a stroke in New York City on July 1, 2017.

Neil J. Welch (90) maverick Federal Bureau of Investigation official who helped to mastermind the political corruption sting operation that ensnared a senator and six congressmen and negotiated the surrender of the escaped killer of Kitty Genovese. Welch joined the FBI after law school, seeing it, he said in a 1979 interview, as “a good place to start my career.” He stayed for nearly 30 years. As special agent in charge of field offices in Buffalo, Detroit, and Philadelphia and supervisor of the biggest office, in New York, where his title was assistant director, he won the respect of agents as an innovator and motivator. But he often vexed his bosses in Washington by focusing his investigations not on bank robbers and draft dodgers but on organized crime and corruption. Welch died in Omaha, Nebraska on June 29, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Geri Allen (60) jazz pianist and educator whose playing reconciled far-flung elements of the jazz tradition. Perhaps more than for any other pianist, Allen’s style formed a bridge between jazz’s halcyon mid-20th century period and its present. She accomplished that with a far-sighted approach to the piano, which she used to both guide and goad her bandmates; an ability to fit into a range of scenarios without warping her own sound; and a belief that jazz should maintain contact with its related art forms in the black tradition. She died of cancer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 27, 2017.

Miriam Marx Allen (90) elder daughter of Groucho Marx (died in 1977) who helped to edit his popular quiz show, You Bet Your Life, and turned his letters into a story that revealed a side of the famous actor few knew. For decades Marx wrote his daughter letters that brimmed with tenderness and were sometimes tinged with nostalgia, a sharp departure from the biting sarcasm and leering sexism that were the quick-witted humorist’s first weapons of choice. Allen collected nearly 200 of her father’s letters in her 1992 memoir, Love, Groucho: Letters from Groucho Marx to his Daughter Miriam. Allen died in Capistrano Beach in coastal Orange County, California, on June 29, 2017.

Kelan Philip Cohran (90) musician and educator whose many contributions to the culture of Chicago’s South Side included helping to found the influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. By the mid-‘60s Cohran had spent three years playing trumpet and cornet in the pioneering Sun Ra Arkestra and was established as both a bandleader in his own right and a galvanizing force on the Chicago scene. Cohran died in Chicago, Illinois on June 28, 2017.

Gary DeCarlo (75) lead singer on the hit song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” which topped the charts in 1969 and has lived on ever since as an indelible sports stadium taunt. DeCarlo wrote and recorded the song with two friends and fellow musicians, Dale Frashuer and Paul Leka. Released by Fontana Records under the band name Steam, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Beginning in 1977, it was a staple of Chicago White Sox organist Nancy Faust’s repertoire, and soon it was being roared at ballparks around the US. DeCarlo died of metastatic cancer in Branford, Connecticut on June 28, 2017.

Michael Nyqvist (56) Swedish actor who starred in the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films and often played villains in Hollywood movies like John Wick. Nyqvist was perhaps best known worldwide for originating the role of Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish Dragon Tattoo series opposite Noomi Rapace. Daniel Craig played the role in the American adaptation. In Hollywood, Nyqvist played a broad range of memorable roles, including the mob boss who terrorizes Keanu Reeves in John Wick and Tom Cruise’s foe in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. He had several films on the slate that are yet to come out, including Terrence Malick’s World War II drama Radegund and Thomas Vinterberg’s Kursk, about the 2000 K-141 Kursk submarine disaster. Nyqvist died of lung cancer in Stockholm, Sweden on June 27, 2017.

Dave Rosser (50) rock guitarist, a latter-day member of the Afghan Whigs. Rosser died of inoperable colon cancer in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 27, 2017.

Stevie Ryan (33) actress and comedian who gained fame with impersonations of celebrities on YouTube, including Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and Amy Winehouse. Ryan also had a sketch comedy show on VH1, Stevie TV, and cohosted a relationship talk show with Brody Jenner. Her death in Los Angeles, California was ruled a suicide by hanging, on July 1, 2017.

Politics and Military

Dean Flake (85) father of US Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and former mayor of an Arizona town that his family helped to found. Dean Flake was a former rancher and mayor of Snowflake, a town that his father settled in the 1800s. Dean and his wife Nerita had 11 children and were active in the Mormon church. He served on the Board of Arizona State Parks and was a bishop at his church. Dean Flake died in Phoenix, Arizona on June 26, 2017.

Simone Veil (89) French survivor of Nazi death camps and European Parliament president who spearheaded abortion rights as one of France’s most prominent woman politicians. Veil said her it was her experiences in the Nazi concentration camps that made her a firm believer in the unification of Europe. She died in Paris, France on June 30, 2017.

Society and Religion

Peter L. Berger (88) Protestant theologian and sociologist who, in the face of the “God is dead” movement of the ‘60s, argued that faith can indeed flourish in modern society if people learn to recognize the transcendent and supernatural in ordinary experiences. Berger was the author of a shelf-full of books. He was known for his work in what is called the sociology of knowledge—understanding how humans experience everyday reality. His book A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society & the Rediscovery of the Supernatural (1969) was for many years required reading in college sociology and theology courses. Berger died of heart failure in Brookline, Massachusetts on June 27, 2017.

Meechy Monroe (32) achieved YouTube fame with hairstyle tutorials that empowered black women to embrace the natural hair movement and forgo harsh chemicals. A bad haircut in 2009 prompted Monroe to cut off the tresses she had been perming from the age of 16 and to start over. She went online to research ideas for what she called her “transition” and found inspiration in a web community of people who believed that black women should embrace the natural texture of their hair. Monroe died of brain cancer in Westmont, Illinois on June 27, 2017.

Jon Underwood (44) founder of the Death Cafe in London who encouraged people around the world to discuss, over tea and cake, life, the finality of life, and why we fear it. Underwood was working as a strategy and business development director for the council of Tower Hamlets, a London borough, when he came across an article about the so-called cafe mortels—events rather than places—started in 2004 by Bernard Crettaz, a Swiss sociologist. As a Buddhist, Underwood had already contemplated the philosophical questions of dying. Although everyone experiences it, he felt, the topic seemed so taboo that no one wanted to discuss it. He perpetuated a movement that spread to more than a dozen countries with more than 1,000 gatherings and came to learn that the meetings, which began in 2011, were more about laughter than tears. People often talked less about how to die than how to live. Underwood died suddenly in London, England from a brain hemorrhage caused by undiagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia, on June 27, 2017.


Russ Adams (86) tennis photographer who chronicled the sport for more than 50 years. Adams was known as the dean of modern tennis photography, spanning the eras of black and white to color and film to digital. He was a presence at Grand Slam tournaments and the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Olympics. He worked for newspapers in Massachusetts and photographed such Boston luminaries as Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, and Bill Russell. In 1955 Adams was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His wife, Betty, who traveled the tennis circuit with him, died June 5. Russ Adams died 25 days later in Newport, Rhode Island on June 30, 2017.

Tom Corcoran (85) US Olympic skier who in 1966 founded the Waterville Valley ski resort in New Hampshire that became popular with racers and celebrities. Until the ‘90s, it hosted 11 World Cup events, including the 1969 World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom finals. Corcoran competed in the 1956 Olympics and again in ‘60, when he placed fourth in the Giant Slalom—the best finish for an American man in the event until 2002, when Bode Miller won a silver medal. Corcoran died on Seabrook Island, South Carolina on June 27, 2017.

Darrall Imhoff (78) former University of California and US Olympic champion basketball center who played 12 seasons in the NBA. Imhoff led the Pete Newell-coached Golden Bears to the 1959 NCAA title and played alongside Oscar Robertson and Jerry West on the ‘60 Olympic team—also coached by Newell. Nicknamed “The Ax” for his physical play, Imhoff was selected third overall by the New York Knicks in the 1960 NBA draft—behind Robertson and West—and averaged 7.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in 801 games in 12 seasons with the Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Cincinnati Royals, and Portland Trail Blazers. He died of a heart attack in Bend, Oregon on June 30, 2017.

Doug Peterson (71) helped to design two yachts that won the America’s Cup. Peterson helped to design America3 (shown above), which Bill Koch sailed to victory against Italy in 1992, then helped to design Black Magic for Team New Zealand in ‘95, when the Kiwis beat Dennis Conner. He also designed the yacht that Italy’s Prada Challenge sailed in the 2000 America’s Cup match, a five-race loss to Team NZ. Peterson died in San Diego, California on June 26, 2017.

Max Runager (61) former NFL punter who helped the San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl after the 1984 season. Runager played 11 seasons in the NFL after being drafted out of South Carolina by Philadelphia in the eighth round in 1979. He spent his first five years with the Eagles, losing the Super Bowl after the 1980 season before joining San Francisco in ’84. The Niners went 15-1 his first season and beat Miami for the title. Runager played four seasons for San Francisco and came back for one game in 1988. He also played four seasons for Cleveland and finished his career with 661 career punts and a 40.2 yard-per-punt average. He was found dead in his car in a parking lot in Orangeburg, South Carolina on June 30, 2017.

Dave Semenko (59) Edmonton Oilers tough guy who protected Wayne Gretzky during the ‘80s. Semenko was the bodyguard for “The Great One” for parts of 10 seasons with the Oilers in the World Hockey Association and the National Hockey League; he helped Edmonton to win the Stanley Cup in 1984 and ‘85. In an era when hulking enforcers roamed the ice alongside the league’s top stars, Semenko was one of the toughest, with 65 goals, 88 assists, and 1,175 penalty minutes in 575 regular-season NHL games. He died of cancer in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on June 29, 2017.

Ric Suggitt (58) Canadian rugby coach who guided national teams for both the US and Canada. Suggitt was coach of the women’s team at the University of Lethbridge. He led the US women’s sevens team from 2010 through the end of the ‘14–15 World Series season, helping it to qualify for the Rio Olympics, and to a silver medal at the ‘15 Pan American Games, where it lost 55-7 to Canada in the final. Suggitt took over the Lethbridge program in 2015. He joined Rugby Canada in 1999 and coached the Canadian men at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He also led Canada’s men’s sevens team. On the women’s side, he guided the senior 15s team and under-19 and under-23 programs. He died from medical complications in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada on June 27, 2017.

Anthony Young (51) former New York Mets pitcher who set a major league record with 27 straight losses. Young’s streak of losses began in 1992 and stretched into the next season. In all, the drought spanned 74 appearances—Young had a 4.39 earned run average in that span. The right-hander posted 15 saves in 1992 but was 2-14 that season, then went 1-16 in '93 for a miserable Mets team that led the majors with 103 losses. The highlight of that awful season might have come on July 28 at Shea Stadium. That night Young was summoned in the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins and gave up the go-ahead run on a bunt single, putting him in position for a 28th straight loss. Instead the Mets rallied for two runs in the ninth for a 5-4 victory. Young got the win and was mobbed by his teammates. He died of a brain tumor in Houston, Texas on June 27, 2017.

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