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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 26, 2017

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Jerry Lewis, comedian and actor, former half of Martin & Lewis comedy teamJohn Abercrombie, jazz-rock guitaristCecil V. Andrus, former US secretary of the Interior under Pres. Jimmy CarterWil Cardon, Arizona politician and businessmanVelichko Cholakov, champion Bulgarian weightlifterTony A. de Brum, political leader in Marshall IslandsTom Docking, Kansas lieutenant governorNorris Allen Edney Sr., Alcorn University dean and interim presidentDr. Edmond I. Eger 2nd, pioneering anesthesiologistLew Ferguson, AP supervisory correspondentRobert ('Sarge') Haley, retired Boston EMS captainTobe Hooper, director of 'Texas Chain-Saw Massacre'Howard Kaminsky, made book deals with former and future US presidentsJohn ('Jack') Keil, creator of McGruff the Crime DogSteve Kessler, former West Virginia county sheriff and circuit clerkGeorge A. Keyworth 2nd, science adviser to ReaganJoe Klein, baseball executiveFredell Lack, classical violinistColin Meads, New Zealand rugby starThomas Meehan, Tony-winning Broadway book writerFrank Montanaro Sr., Rhode Island labor leaderBob Murphy, voice of Stanford University sportsBernard Pomerance, playwright of 'The Elephant Man'Ronald Previte, corrupt cop turned Mafia captain turned FBI informantRafael ('Felo') Ramirez, Spanish-langusge baseball broadcasterDr. Bajram Rexhepi, former prime minister of KosovoCharlie Robertson, former mayor of York, Pa. acquitted of murder 33 years after crimeAlan Root, British wildlife filmmakerJack Rosenthal, Pulitzer-winning journalistJeannie Rousseau de Clarens, WWII French spyLarry Sherman, actor and journalistJay Thomas, TV character actor and radio personalitySusan Vreeland, novelist who based her fiction on works of artDon Ward, San Diego stage director and choreographerJim Whelan, New Jersey state senator

Art and Literature

Howard Kaminsky (77) acquisitions editor who sharpened his instincts for finding commercially successful manuscripts at Warner Books and parlayed that sense into high-level positions at Random House and Hearst. Kaminsky’s authors included Richard M. Nixon and Donald J. Trump. He developed his reputation at Warner with best-sellers like Never-Say-Diet (1980) by Richard Simmons; sequels to The Happy Hooker by former madam Xaviera Hollander; potboiler fiction by Andrew Greeley, a Roman Catholic priest; and the paperback edition of Judith Krantz’s Scruples. But his best-known deal was the one that Warner made with a disgraced former president: Barely six weeks after Nixon resigned in 1974, Kaminsky signed him to an estimated $2.5 million deal to write his memoirs. Kaminsky died of a heart attack in New York City on August 26, 2017.

Susan Vreeland (71) novelist who blended her love for literature and visual art in Girl in Hyacinth Blue and other works of fiction. Vreeland wrote about everyone from Pierre-Auguste Renoir to Canadian painter Emily Carr and centered Girl in Hyacinth Blue on the journeys of an alleged Vermeer painting. The book came out in 1999, became a word-of-mouth success, was translated into 26 languages, and was adapted into a 2003 TV movie, Brush with Fate, starring Ellyn Burstyn and Glenn Close. Vreeland died in San Diego, California after undergoing heart surgery, on August 23, 2017.

Business and Science

Dr. Edmond I. Eger 2nd (86) leader in the development of a now universally used technique to determine the proper dose of anesthetic gas administered in operating rooms—an advance that has saved an untold number of lives. Inhaled gases like ether and chloroform had been in use as anesthetics for more than 100 years when Eger graduated from medical school in 1955, but there was still no clear standard for dosing, or for comparing the strength of one gas to that of another. Without a systematic way to measure the effects of anesthesia, doctors looked for signs like changes in a patient’s muscle tone, breathing, and pupil diameter. But those traits were of no use in research because they varied from patient to patient and did not occur in lab animals. As new anesthetic gases were developed, the need grew for a more precise way to test, compare, and dose them. Eger devised a method working with Drs. Giles Merkel and Lawrence Saidman and other anesthesiologists at the University of California/San Francisco. He died of pancreatic cancer in Tiburon, California on August 26, 2017.

John ('Jack') Keil (94) advertising executive who led the team that created McGruff the Crime Dog and voiced the character. Keil was creative director at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency when he and his team created the trench coat-wearing animated dog, with Keil himself saying the slogan, “Take a Bite Out of Crime.” He died in Westminster West, Vermont on August 25, 2017

George A. Keyworth 2nd (77) physicist who was a science adviser to President Ronald Reagan and strongly backed the antimissile plan known as Star Wars, which he came to see it as an important factor in the Soviet collapse. in 1985 Keyworth told military contractors that federal research might soon offer “unequivocal proof” of the nation’s ability to destroy enemy missiles. The administration’s vision of weapons in space—a projected five-year, $26 billion project (almost $60 billion today)—met stiff opposition from specialists and Congress, and the plan never got beyond the research stage. Even so, conservative historians say Moscow became so unnerved at the prospect of a daunting new rivalry that the threat helped to end the Cold War and decades of nuclear buildups. Keyworth died of prostate cancer in Monterey, California on August 23, 2017.


Norris Allen Edney Sr. (81) former interim president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi. Edney was interim president from February 2010 to January ‘11 and acting president from December ‘13 to March ‘14, guiding the university through two presidential transitions. Under his leadership, Alcorn had a familiar and steady hand to steer it through the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) reaffirmation of accreditation in 2010. Throughout his career, Edney served Alcorn in multiple roles beginning as a biology instructor in 1963. He worked his way up to various leadership positions, including chairman of the Department of Biology, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, dean of Graduate Studies, and interim dean of the School of Nursing. He also was president of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) from 1979–84 and of the Natchez-Adams County School Board. He died in Natchez, Mississippi on August 26, 2017.


Steve Kessler (60) Fayette County, W. Va. circuit clerk and the county’s former sheriff. Kessler’s law enforcement career started at the Mount Hope Police Department. He graduated from the W. Va. State Police Academy in 1980 and joined the sheriff’s office in ’81. Fayette voters elected Kessler sheriff in 2008 and reelected him in ’12. Term limits stopped him from running again in 2016, but he was elected circuit clerk instead. During his 36 years with the office, Kessler made more arrests for drug violations than any other officer in the agency’s history. At one point he worked as chief of detectives, helping to achieve several murder convictions. He died suddenly after being stung several times by bees while mowing his lawn, in Fayette County, West Virginia on August 23, 2017.

Ronald Previte (73) former corrupt police officer, a onetime Philadelphia Mafia captain whose work as an FBI informant helped to take down three mob bosses, earning him the nickname “Fat Rat.” An imposing man who stood 6-feet-2 and weighed nearly 300 pounds, Previte wore a hidden microphone beginning in 1997 and recorded hundreds of conversations for the FBI while leading a double life as a made member of the Mafia. He freely admitted to a 30-year career in crime, including gambling, loan-sharking, extortion, drug trafficking, and prostitution. He died of a heart attack in Galloway Township, New Jersey on August 21, 2017.

News and Entertainment

John Abercrombie (72) guitarist whose style placed him in his generation’s top tier of improvising musicians. Abercrombie became known in the mid-‘70s as a prominent jazz-rock guitarist. As his style evolved and he moved away from fusion, it was his knack for understatement and his affinity for classic jazz guitar technique that defined his approach. He played in bands led by drummer Jack DeJohnette and saxophonist Gato Barbieri, among others, before ECM Records released his first album as a leader, Timeless (1975). On that album Abercrombie ranged from electric fusion with Indian classical influence to ballads and postbop. He died of heart failure in Cortlandt Manor, New York on August 22, 2017.

Lew Ferguson (83) journalist whose 42-year career included nearly 30 years as Associated Press supervisory correspondent in Topeka, Kansas. Ferguson was an Oklahoma native who returned there after working for the AP in Topeka and serving a four-year term on the Kansas Board of Regents. He became Topeka correspondent in 1970 and helped to train some 50 young writers before retiring in ‘99. His long career in journalism included coverage of professional baseball and football in Minnesota and Kansas City, including coverage of three World Series and the Super Bowl in 1970. He died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on August 24, 2017.

Tobe Hooper (74) horror-movie pioneer whose low-budget sensation The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre took a buzz saw to audiences with its brutally frightful vision. Along with contemporaries like George Romero and John Carpenter, Hooper crafted some of the scariest nightmares that ever haunted moviegoers. He directed Poltergeist (1982) from a script by Steven Spielberg and the well-regarded ‘79 miniseries Salem's Lot from Stephen King's novel. Hooper was a little-known filmmaker of documentaries and TV commercials when he made his most famous work: The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre (1974). He made it for less than $300,000 in his native Texas, and yet it became one of the most influential films in horror: a slasher film landmark. Hooper died in Sherman Oaks, California on August 26, 2017.

Fredell Lack (95) Oklahoma-born violinist and teacher who in a long international career that began in the ‘40s was known for intimate interpretations of works by the Romantics. Lack was still a teenager when she began embarking on worldwide tours, drawing praise for her intensity and warmth of tone in concertos and sonatas by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Haydn, and others. She died in Houston, Texas on August 20, 2017.

Jerry Lewis (91) manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with crooner Dean Martin (died in 1995), settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur, and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons. Lewis’s career spanned the history of show business in the 20th century, beginning in his parents’ vaudeville act at age 5. He was just 20 when his pairing with Martin made them international stars. Lewis later made such film favorites as The Bellboy and The Nutty Professor, was featured in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, and appeared as himself in Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night. In the ‘90s he scored a stage comeback as the devil in the Broadway revival of Damn Yankees, and after a 20-year break from making movies he returned as the star of the independent drama Max Rose (2016). In his 80s he was still traveling the world, working on a stage version of The Nutty Professor. Jerry Lewis died of end-stage heart disease in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 20, 2017.

Thomas Meehan (88) three-time Tony Award-winning book writer best known for transforming the “Little Orphan Annie” cartoon strip into the smash Broadway musical Annie. The 1977 original production won the Tony as best musical and ran for 2,300 performances, inspiring tours and revivals. Meehan wrote the books for three shows that ran over 2,000 performances on Broadway: Annie with 2,377 performances, The Producers with Mel Brooks at 2,502 performances, and Hairspray, which he wrote with Mark O'Donnell and which reached 2,642 performances. Meehan, who had been ill for about five months and had undergone surgery, died at his home in New York City on August 21, 2017.

Bernard Pomerance (76) playwright best known for the Tony Award-winning play about a horribly deformed man that has lured some of Hollywood’s biggest names, such as John Hurt and Bradley Cooper. The Elephant Man was based on a true story and has been frequently revived since its 1979 New York debut. It examines the life of John Merrick, an extremely disfigured but indomitable man who becomes a celebrity in Victorian London. On Broadway, such diverse performers as David Bowie and Mark Hamill eventually followed Philip Anglim in the title role. Billy Crudup starred in a 2002 revival, and Cooper led one in 2014 that earned four Tony nominations. Hurt starred in David Lynch’s 1980 film adaptation. Pomerance died of cancer in Galisteo, New Mexico on August 26, 2017.

Alan Root (80) British wildlife filmmaker with a daredevil streak and the scarred body to prove it. Root, whose filmmaking concentrated on the natural wonders of Africa, was known for inventive shots that captured both the grandeur of gigantic herds and up-close images of animals and their behavior. In the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, camera equipment had not yet shrunk to its current size, yet Root found ways to get the kind of shots that make viewers ask, “How did they photograph that?” His clients included the British nature program Survival. Root told his story in an autobiography, Ivory, Apes & Peacocks: Animals, Adventure & Discovery in the Wild Places of Africa (2012). He died in Kenya on August 26, 2017.

Jack Rosenthal (82) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, government official, and civic leader, principal editor of a landmark 1968 federal report on urban riots that found an America moving “toward two societies, separate and unequal.” The son of a refugee judge from Nazi Germany, Rosenthal merged multiple careers into a lifelong commitment to public service. He was a spokesman and strategist for Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy during the ‘60s civil rights upheaval and oversaw the editorial page of the New York Times, where he championed criminal justice reforms and spotlighted the challenges of an aging population, and the Times magazine. Later he nurtured numerous civic ventures, including raising millions of dollars for victims of the 2001 World Trade Center attack as president of the New York Times Foundation. Rosenthal died of pancreatic cancer in New York City on August 23, 2017.

Larry Sherman (94) actor and former journalist who also was Donald Trump's first publicist. Sherman was an out-of-work sports journalist with no experience in publicity in 1982 when he applied for the job of public relations head for the New Jersey Generals of the US Football League. Trump, then a real-estate magnate and owner of the franchise, hired him on the spot. Sherman's earliest vocation was that of an actor, and during a career that spanned throughout his lifetime, he logged numerous credits in films ranging from North by Northwest (1959; in which he played Cary Grant's cab driver) and Midnight Cowboy (1969; as a homeless man who drops dead on the street in front of Jon Voight's Joe Buck character) to his final film appearance in The Comedian with Robert De Niro in 2016. Sherman also made repeated appearances as a judge on TV's Law & Order. He died in New York City on August 26, 2017.

Jay Thomas (69) character actor and radio personality who became known to TV viewers for his roles on Cheers, Murphy Brown, and most recently on the crime drama Ray Donovan. Thomas moved easily from radio to TV and back again. Before landing recurring roles on Cheers and Murphy Brown, he was the drive-time personality on Power 106 Radio in the Los Angeles market. Then, before landing the role of sleazy tabloid publisher Marty Grossman on Ray Donovan, he boomed out across America on a morning show on SiriusXM. His first break on TV was as an annoying deli owner on Mork & Mindy. He died of cancer in Santa Barbara, California on August 24, 2017.

Don Ward (83) director-choreographer and patriarch of San Diego’s first family of the stage who helped to guide and inspire legions of theater artists over the years. With his wife, Bonnie, Ward staged hundreds of musicals in San Diego, eventually bringing the couple’s three children into the family business. Along the way they mentored such soon-to-be theater luminaries as Tony Award-winning actors Christian Hoff and Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Casey Nicholaw, now a leading Broadway director. The Wards were most closely identified with the San Diego Junior Theatre, where Ward was artistic director for 15 years (his wife ran the dance program); the now-defunct Starlight Musical Theatre in Balboa Park, where the couple were artistic leaders for more than 10 years; and Moonlight Stage Productions in Vista, where they became mainstays starting in the ‘90s. Don Ward died in Cardiff, Wales on August 22, 2017.

Politics and Military

Cecil V. Andrus (85) former US Secretary of the Interior who engineered the conservation of millions of acres of Alaska land during the Carter administration. Andrus resigned midway through his second term as Idaho governor in 1977 to become President Jimmy Carter's secretary of the Interior, serving until Carter's term ended in ’81. He was then elected governor two more times, becoming the first four-term governor in Idaho history. He was also the last Democrat to hold the office in red-state Idaho. Carter declared permanent national monuments on 56 million acres in Alaska in 1978. Despite criticism from many Alaskans, Andrus ordered protection of an additional 52 million acres of public lands in the state that same year. The threat of additional federal protections by executive fiat forced Alaskan lawmakers to compromise on the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which set aside an area the size of California as national parks, national forests, and refuge areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Andrus died of lung cancer in Boise, Idaho on August 23, 2017.

Wil Cardon (46) Arizona Republican politician and businessman who unsuccessfully ran against current US Sen. Jeff Flake in the primary in 2012. Cardon also lost a bid for Arizona Secretary of State in 2014. Cardon's family said the man with a smile “as wide as Arizona” suffered from depression, a disease that he battled with “openness and honesty.” The father of five children, Cardon committed suicide in Mesa, Arizona on August 26, 2017.

Tony A. de Brum (72) longtime political leader in the Republic of the Marshall Islands who helped to negotiate his country’s independence in the ‘70s and decades later fought for its survival in the face of climate change. In dozens of speeches to the United Nations over the years and in various government roles, De Brum wove together the dominant themes of his country: the struggle for independence, the lingering suffering from nuclear testing that the islanders had endured, and the threat of rising sea levels from climate change. The 67 nuclear tests the US conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946–58 led to widespread fallout contamination and numerous documented cases of illness and death related to radiation. De Brum died in the capital city, Majuro, Marshall Islands, on August 21, 2017.

Tom Docking (63) former Kansas lieutenant governor (1983–87), a member of what was once the state’s most prominent Democrat family and the son and grandson of governors. Docking ran with Democrat Gov. John Carlin when Carlin won a second term and was appointed to head a commission for recommending changes in the state’s tax laws. He was the Democrat nominee for governor in 1986 when Carlin was term-limited, but he lost to Republican Mike Hayden. Docking died of cancer in Wichita, Kansas on August 24, 2017.

Robert ('Sarge') Haley (63) retired Boston EMS captain who played a key role in the Emergency Medical Services response to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Haley was there to serve marathon runners, and when the bombing occurred, killing three people and injuring hundreds, he helped everyone to remain “focused and strong.” Haley built the department's special operations unit, which responds to 500 major city events each year. He retired in July after 35 years on the job and died in Randolph, Massachusetts on August 25, 2017.

Frank Montanaro Sr. (82) labor leader and Rhode Island Democrat National committeeman. Montanaro became active in unions while serving as a firefighter. He was president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations) for 19 years. George Nee took over in 2009 after Montanaro decided not to run for reelection. He died in Providence, Rhode Island on August 22, 2017.

Dr. Bajram Rexhepi (63) Kosovo's former prime minister and interior minister, the first PM after the first postwar elections. A surgeon by profession, Rexhepi, also ex-mayor of the northern city of Mitrovica, was among the independence fighters in the 1998–99 war and afterward was deputy leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, or PDK, created from former independence fighters. Since 2010 he had withdrawn from politics. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but is still not recognized by Belgrade. Rexhepi was taken to Turkey after a stroke in April and died there after months of battling a grave illness, on August 21, 2017.

Charlie Robertson (83) former mayor of York, Pa. who in 2002 was acquitted of murder in the killing of a black woman during racial unrest in 1969. Robertson abandoned his bid for a third term as mayor before his trial on charges that in 1969, as a patrolman on the city police force, he had incited a group of white youths who later ambushed a vehicle and shot and killed Lillie Belle Allen. Prosecutors said local news coverage in 1999 of the 30th anniversary of the riots had prompted people to come forward with fresh evidence that allowed them to reopen the case. Robertson died of cancer in York, Pennsylvania on August 24, 2017.

Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens (98) French amateur spy who passed a wealth of information to the British about the development of the V-1 and V-2 rockets during World War II and survived stays in three Nazi concentration camps for her activities. In 1943 she was an interpreter in Paris for an association of French businessmen, representing their interests and helping them to negotiate contracts with the German occupiers. She was young and attractive, spoke flawless German, and was a favorite with the German officers, who were completely unaware that the woman they knew as Madeleine Chauffour had been reporting to a French intelligence network, the Druids, organized by the Resistance. Hearing of a secret weapons project, she made it her mission to be on hand when the topic was discussed by the Germans, coaxing information through charm and guile. She died in Montaigu, southeast of Nantes, France, on August 23, 2017.

Jim Whelan (68) Democrat New Jersey state senator and former mayor of Atlantic City who worked to help revitalize the struggling seaside resort. Whelan served three terms as mayor of Atlantic City before losing a reelection bid in 2001. He won a state Assembly seat in 2005 before being elected to his Senate seat in ’07. He represented the 2nd Legislative District, which includes Atlantic City and several other communities in Atlantic County. Last January, Whelan announced that he would not be seeking reelection. On July 11, he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth from his kidney. It was announced that the operation was successful, but on July 31 he was readmitted to the hospital for complications from blood thinners he was taking. He died in Trenton, New Jersey on August 22, 2017.


Velichko Cholakov (35) former European champion, part of the Bulgarian weightlifting team withdrawn from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after a doping scandal. The Bulgarian team was withdrawn from the Beijing Olympics after Cholakov and 10 other team members tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid. Cholakov won gold at the European championships in 2004. He also won bronze in the over-105 kilogram category at the Athens 2004 Olympics and silver at the world championships in ’03. He was currently training young weightlifters in his hometown. He had been suffering from heart problems when he died in Sofia, Bulgaria on August 20, 2017.

Joe Klein (75) general manager of three Major League Baseball teams before spending the last 20 years as executive director of the independent Atlantic League. Klein had been with the league since its inception in 1997, when he became executive director a year before teams started play. He began his pro baseball career as a minor league infielder with the Washington Senators from 1962–68 and stayed in the organization as a minor league manager and team executive for 16 more years, including after the franchise's move to Texas in '72. He was the Rangers' general manager from October 1982 until November ’84 and later was GM for the Cleveland Indians (1986–87) and Detroit Tigers (1994–95). Klein died of complications after heart surgery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 23, 2017.

Colin Meads (81) tough All Blacks lock hailed as New Zealand's greatest rugby player of the 20th century. Meads played 55 tests among 133 games for New Zealand between 1957–71—a number thought prodigious in an era in which the All Blacks seldom played more than four tests a year. Hardened by his life as a sheep farmer in the rugged King Country district of New Zealand's North Island, Meads was endowed with great strength, stamina, and toughness; he once played an entire match with a broken arm. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago, he died in Wellington, New Zealand on August 20, 2017.

Bob Murphy (86) longtime voice of Stanford University sports who brought a sense of community to his commentary for more than 40 years. Murphy was a color analyst for Stanford football and basketball from 1964–2007, weaving stories of famous Stanford athletes, professors, and speeches into his work. It was his encyclopedic knowledge of Stanford athletics and his voice, spirit, and wit that made him a university icon. He died of Alzheimer's disease in Santa Cruz, California on August 22, 2017.

Rafael ('Felo') Ramirez (94) Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster, the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over 30 years. Ramirez was the baseball voice for Spanish speakers across the US, giving voice to more than 30 World Series and All-Star Games. Early in his career, he broadcast the classic Game 6 of the 1956 World Series in which the New York Yankees’ Don Larsen pitched a perfect game to beat the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. Ramirez began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 and had been the Florida Marlins' Spanish-language announcer since ’93. He fell and struck his head while getting off the Marlins team bus on April 26 during a series in Philadelphia and spent two months in a Delaware hospital before he was brought to Miami, where he continued his recovery. Ramirez died in Miami, Florida on August 21, 2017.

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