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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, September 23, 2017

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Bernie Casey, actor, poet, and painterJake LaMotta, boxer whose life was chronicled in 'Raging Bull'Charlie Adams, executive director of North Carolina High School Athletic AssociationMohammed Mahdi Akef, leader of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim BrotherhoodLiliane Bettencourt, L'Oreal heiressCharles Bradley, soul singerRon Carrier, fourth president of James Madison UniversityPattie Daly Caruso, mother of 'Today' correspondent Carson DalyDorothy Eck, Montana state senatorBill Goodling, US congressman from PennsylvaniaBobby ('The Brain') Heenan, pro wrestling managerBob Holland, Australian cricket playerPaul Horner, purveyor of fake newsRev. René Laurentin, French theologianReggie Lavong, radio disk jockey turned stockbrokerCharles Low, landlord turned actorDenny Marcin, pro football coachJoyce Matz, fought for preservation of NYC landmarksLarry J. McKinney, US district judgeKurt Messerschmidt, Holocaust survivorLillian Ross, 'New Yorker' writerJohnny Sandlin, Alabama recording engineerDavid Shepherd, British painter of wildlifeZarub Sotkilava, Russian opera singerAlbert Tomei, New York State Supreme Court justicePete Turner, photographer known for brilliant color photosSima Wali, advocate for rights of Afghan womenLionel Wilson, rugby fullbackDaniel Yankelovich, pollster and public opinion analyst

Art and Literature

David Shepherd (86) British artist whose love of painting wildlife led him to become a leading conservationist as well. Shepherd was well known for his paintings of elephants, tigers, and other wild animals of Africa and Asia, which he generally rendered in a naturalistic style that may not have been appreciated in fine-art circles but did generate plenty of sales. He also loved to paint locomotives and military scenes with aircraft and other large machinery. An early-’70s BBC documentary about him was called The Man Who Loves Giants. Shepherd died of Parkinson’s disease in Sussex, England on September 19, 2017.

Pete Turner (83) photographer for magazines and record albums best known for the vibrant colors of his photos. Turner’s intense colors can be seen in the red and yellow trash can that he posed on a beach against a cerulean sky; a Times Square street scene recast in dreamlike blue with a traffic light reflected in a wet manhole cover; a hot yellow antique car in a lot in Texas shot in a wide angle against a brilliantly lit background; a herd of ostriches silhouetted against a glowing golden sunrise; and a cheetah slowly walking through bamboo—yellow and black blending with green. Turner, whose career spanned 60 years, died of cancer in Wainscott, Long Island, New York on September 18, 2017.

Business and Science

Liliane Bettencourt (94) L'Oreal cosmetics heiress, the world's richest woman. Bettencourt was the daughter of Eugene Schueller, who founded L'Oreal in the early 20th century. Forbes magazine estimated her fortune to be worth $39.5 billion this year. She died in Paris, France on September 20, 2017.

Daniel Yankelovich (92) pollster, author, and public opinion analyst who for 50 years mirrored the perceptions of generations of Americans about politics, consumer products, social changes, and, not least, themselves. Until the late ‘50s, market research, when done at all, was a relatively crude way of trying to figure out whether a new soap or a set of kickable tires would go over with the American public. Often it was just guesswork. No corporation today would risk introducing a product without knowing, in advance, how well it is likely to sell, what it should look like, what to call it, and how to package, advertise, and distribute it. Yankelovich was part of a coterie of pollsters who changed all that. He died of kidney failure in the La Jolla section of San Diego, California on September 22, 2017.


Ron Carrier (85) fourth president of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. A former economics professor, Carrier was the youngest college president in the nation when he took the helm in 1971. He led JMU for 27 years. During his tenure, Carrier shepherded the school’s transformation from Madison College to James Madison University. He also helped to expand the athletics program into a national champion at the NCAA Division I level. The school saw the addition of 40 programs, five colleges, and programs in 37 countries. Carrier died of cancer in Harrisonburg, Virginia on September 18, 2017.


Larry J. McKinney (73) senior US district judge in Indianapolis. McKinney was appointed a district court judge for the Southern District of Indiana in July 1987. He became a senior judge in July 2009. Before joining the federal court he served more than eight years as a Johnson County Circuit Court judge. He previously was a state deputy attorney general and had worked in private practice. McKinney died suddenly and unexpectedly in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 20, 2017.

Albert Tomei (77) Brooklyn judge whose rejection in 1997 of a murder defendant’s plea bargain crippled New York State’s recently revived death penalty. In a long career on the bench, no ruling by Justice Tomei of the State Supreme Court was as consequential as the one he handed down in the first death penalty case brought by a district attorney in New York City under the 1995 statute that revived capital punishment in the state. He declared its plea bargaining provision unconstitutional. By barring the death penalty in cases in which a defendant struck a plea agreement, Tomei concluded, the law encouraged defendants to plead guilty rather than risk a death sentence by going to trial. He died of throat cancer in New York City on September 22, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Charles Bradley (68) known as the “Screaming Eagle of Soul” for a powerful style that evoked one of his musical heroes, James Brown. Bradley achieved success later in life with his 2011 debut album No Time for Dreaming. Recording on the Daptone label, he was a fiery live performer. He followed up his first album with Victim of Love (2013); his third album, Changes, was released last year. Among his TV appearances was one in 2016 on CBS This Morning: Saturday, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Bradley was diagnosed with stomach cancer last fall and underwent treatment. He went on tour earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health, but the cancer returned recently, spreading to his liver. He died in Brooklyn, New York on September 23, 2017.

Pattie Daly Caruso (73) mother of Today correspondent and The Voice host Carson Daly. Caruso was a well-known personality on local TV in California, where she hosted her talk show Valley Views for 25 years. She appeared with her son at times on the red carpet and on The Voice. Caruso died of a heart attack in Palm Desert, California on September 17, 2017.

Bernie Casey (78) professional football player turned poet, painter, and actor known for parts in films such as Revenge of the Nerds and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Casey played wide receiver in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams—making the Pro Bowl in 1967 and catching 40 touchdown passes in eight seasons. But for Casey, who also published books of poetry, the arts always came first. He held a master's degree in fine arts from Bowling Green State University and exhibited his paintings while appearing in 35 films. His TV credits included Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Murder, She Wrote, and LA Law. Casey died in Los Angeles, California on September 19, 2017.

Bobby ('The Brain') Heenan (72) pro wrestling manager. Heenan was considered by most experts the greatest pro wrestling manager of all time. He came to nationwide prominence as manager of Ray Stevens and Nick Bockwinkel in the American Wrestling Association. He also managed Bockwinkel when he became the league’s heavyweight champion. But Heenan’s claim to game was his lengthy stint as a manager in the then-World Wrestling Federation, when he would send bad guy after bad guy to try to defeat WWF heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan. Heenan managed Andre the Giant when Andre turned heel and challenged Hogan at a sold-out Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania 3. Heenan was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer in 2002 and spent the last several years battling the disease, including losing the ability to talk after multiple surgeries on his tongue and the reconstruction of his lower jaw. He died of cancer in Largo, Florida on September 17, 2017.

Paul Horner (38) leading purveyor of fake news during the 2016 presidential election campaigns. Horner was known for writing false stories and disseminating Internet hoaxes that often went viral on Facebook and hoodwinked thousands of people. They included a story falsely claiming that President Barack Obama was gay and a radical Muslim, and another saying protesters were being paid thousands of dollars to demonstrate at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies. Horner took on greater prominence during the presidential election when false stories were widely shared on social media during the race between Trump and Hillary Clinton. In an interview with the Washington Post in 2016, Horner said he thought Trump won the White House because of him and that Trump’s supporters didn’t fact-check his stories before posting them. Horner was found dead of a suspected drug overdose at his home in Laveen, Arizona on September 18, 2017.

Reggie Lavong (84) velvet-voiced radio personality who played rhythm and blues and more in the ‘60s on WWRL-AM in New York. Lavong was one of several disk jockeys who worked under the nickname Dr. Jive, using that handle on WWRL for several years beginning in 1960. He worked at several other stations as well, including WHAT in Philadelphia, which he co-owned for three years. Lavong presented concerts at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and elsewhere and spent several years as vice president of marketing of R&B at Capitol Records beginning in 1969. He also owned a candy store in Germantown, Pennsylvania in the mid-‘60s and started a limousine service in Philadelphia in the ‘80s. His eclectic résumé took another turn late in his career when he became a stockbroker and financial consultant. Lavong died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of complications from an infection, on September 19, 2017.

Charles Low (89) real estate developer whose friendship with actor Robert De Niro led him to an acting career that included a notable appearance in Goodfellas (1990). Low and De Niro developed a friendship after the actor became a tenant in a building that Low owned in New York. Low later acted in several films, including Scent of a Woman, The King of Comedy, and Once Upon a Time in America and appeared on the HBO series The Sopranos. His most notable role came in Goodfellas, where he played wig salesman Morris (“Morrie”) Kessler. The character was stabbed in the back of his head. Low died in New Jersey on September 18, 2017.

Lillian Ross (99) New Yorker reporter whose narrative style defined a memorable and influential 70-year career, including a revealing portrait of novelist Ernest Hemingway, a classic Hollywood exposé, and a confession to an adulterous affair. Hundreds of Ross's “Talk of the Town” dispatches appeared in the New Yorker, starting in the ‘40s when she wrote about Harry Truman's years as a haberdasher, and continuing well into the 21st century. Ross died in New York City on September 20, 2017.

Johnny Sandlin (72) Alabama musician and recording engineer who produced songs for groups including the Allman Brothers Band. Sandlin became part of the early Southern rock scene after guitarist Duane Allman recruited him to work at Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia in the late ‘60s. Sandlin later produced acts including Widespread Panic, Kitty Wells, Elvin Bishop, Eddie Kendricks, and Doug Kershaw. He opened Duck Tape Studios in Decatur after returning to northwest Alabama and earned five platinum albums and 10 gold albums. Sandlin died in Decatur, Alabama on September 19, 2017.

Zurab Sotkilava (80) Soviet and Russian opera singer. Born in then-Soviet Georgia, Sotkilava was a member of its leading soccer team before an injury put an end to his sports career. In 1965 he graduated from the Tbilisi Conservatory and later attended classes at Milan's La Scala. He made his Bolshoi Theatre debut in 1973 as Don José in Bizet's Carmen and later starred as Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca, Radames in Verdi's Aïda, and Count Vaudemont in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, among other productions. Sotkilava performed on some of the world's top stages and received numerous international awards. He died in Moscow, Russia on September 18, 2017.

Politics and Military

Mohammed Mahdi Akef (89) former leader of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group who had been detained since 2013. Akef, who headed the Brotherhood from 2004–10, was among hundreds of the group’s figures arrested in the heavy crackdown launched against it after the military’s ‘13 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member. Akef was initially convicted on violence-related charges and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The verdict was overturned on appeal, and he was facing a retrial. Akef’s family had requested he be released from custody because of his medical condition, but the request was declined by an Egyptian court. Akef had cancer, heart problems, and a broken thigh. He died in Cairo, Egypt on September 22, 2017.

Dorothy Eck (93) helped to draft Montana’s Constitution 45 years ago and later served in the state Senate for 20 years. Eck was elected to help draft a new state Constitution in 1972, fighting for the public’s right to participate in government and for a requirement that public schools teach students about Montana’s Native American heritage. She helped to elect Democrat Gov. Tom Judge and worked as a member of his staff for about four years before serving in the state Senate for 20 years. There Eck advocated for children, health services, the poor, and the environment and helped to mentor other lawmakers. She died in Bozeman, Montana on September 23, 2017.

Bill Goodling (89) former Republican congressman who represented parts of central Pennsylvania in the US House for more than 25 years. Goodling took office in 1975 after winning the congressional seat previously held by his father, George Goodling. The younger Goodling represented York County for 13 consecutive terms and was chairman of what is now known as the House Committee on Education & the Workforce until retiring in 2001. He was a former teacher, guidance counselor, and principal who reached across the political aisle to push for improvements in public education. Goodling died in York, Pennsylvania on September 17, 2017.

Sima Wali (66) Afghan woman who fled the Soviet-backed coup in Afghanistan in 1978 to wage what she called a “jihad for peace and equality” by women against “gender apartheid” imposed by the Communists, then by the Taliban. Wali had worked for the American Embassy and the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in her 20s before the 1978 coup. She then settled in Washington, DC, where she became a US citizen and organized Refugee Women in Development, an advocacy group, now dissolved, that sought to empower victims of war and genocide. She further championed the rights of Afghan women after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to rout the Taliban, Islamic fundamentalists whom Washington accused of providing a haven for the terrorists who had masterminded the 9/11 attacks. She died of multiple system atrophy, a rare neurological disease, in Falls Church, Virginia on September 22, 2017.

Society and Religion

Rev. René Laurentin (99) Roman Catholic theologian who devoted his career to investigating reports of supernatural religious visions. Often compared to French philosophers Henri-Louis Bergson and Jacques Maritain, Father Laurentin was one of the world’s foremost students of Mariology, the theological exploration of the Virgin Mary; an expert on historic religious apparitions; and an investigator of celestial sightings reported everywhere from a hill in the Balkans to a Texas backyard. The author of more than 150 books, he wrote six volumes on Our Lady of Lourdes alone, perhaps the world’s best-known account of a Virgin Mary apparition. Laurentin died in Evry, France, a suburb of Paris, on September 17, 2017.

Joyce Matz (92) publicist who represented civic groups seeking to preserve New York City landmarks like St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Lever House, and the Town Hall, and to fend off developers like Donald J. Trump. Matz, whose passion for architecture began decades ago with a magazine article she read about the precarious condition of Venice, devoted herself to preservationist causes big and small. She exercised considerable influence as a spokeswoman for coalitions, often led by others, to prevent the demolition of a favorite building that had historic value or provided affordable housing. She died of a stroke in New York City on September 18, 2017.

Kurt Messerschmidt (102) Maine resident and Holocaust survivor. Messerschmidt was a leader in the local Jewish community. He led choir groups and taught music programs at Temple Beth El before retiring in 1985. He married his wife, Sonja, in 1944 while they were prisoners at a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. The two were separated by the Nazis but reunited at a refugee center in Germany months after the war ended. Sonja Messerschmidt died in 2010. Kurt Messerschmidt died in Portland, Maine on September 19, 2017, 72 years after surviving a “death march” toward the end of World War II.


Charlie Adams (81) former North Carolina High School Athletic Association executive director. Adams led the NCHSAA from 1984 until his retirement in 2010, and during his tenure the organization moved state championship games to college campuses and established an endowment to benefit member schools. Adams died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2017.

Bob Holland (70) former test leg spinner, the third-oldest player to be picked for Australia when he made his debut at age 38. Holland made his first-class debut for New South Wales at 32 and his test debut six years later, playing 11 tests and taking 34 wickets. He was the oldest man to make his test debut for Australia since Don Blackie and Bert Ironmonger were selected in 1928 at age 46. Holland played his first test against the West Indies at Brisbane’s Gabba ground in 1984 and was best known for his 10-wicket haul at the Sydney Cricket Ground during that series. He died of brain cancer in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia on September 17, 2017.

Jake LaMotta (95) former middleweight champion whose life in and out of the ring was depicted in the film Raging Bull (1980), for which Robert De Niro won an Oscar. The Bronx Bull, as LaMotta was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts in a career that began in 1941 and ended in ‘54. He fought the great Sugar Ray Robinson six times, handing Robinson the first defeat of his career and losing the middleweight title to him in a storied match. In the fight before he lost the title, LaMotta saved the championship in movie-script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille. Trailing badly on all three scorecards, he knocked out the challenger with 13 seconds left in the fight. LaMotta threw a fight against Billy Fox, which he admitted in testimony before the Kefauver Committee, a US Senate committee investigating organized crime in 1960. Renowned for his strong chin and the punishment he could take, and dish out, LaMotta was knocked down only once—in a 1952 loss to light-heavyweight Danny Nardico—in his 106 fights. He died of dysphagia pneumonia in Miami, Florida on September 18, 2017.

Denny Marcin (75) former New York Giants and Jets assistant coach. Known as ‘‘the Old Ball Coach’’ in football circles, Marcin coached the Giants’ defensive line from 1997–2003. After leaving the Giants, he coached the Jets’ defensive linemen from 2004–06. Marcin then retired from coaching but served in a scouting role with the Jets for several years. He died in Southport, North Carolina on September 20, 2017.

Lionel Wilson (84) regarded as one of the finest rugby fullbacks to play for South Africa. Wilson played 27 tests between 1960–65, missing only one of the tests that South Africa played in that time. His career was book-ended by tests against New Zealand. He made his debut in the third test against the All Blacks at Bloemfontein in 1960 and played his last test in New Zealand in ’65. Wilson was initially a controversial selection, a converted scrumhalf thought to be too slight to play fullback. But he quickly won over Springboks fans with his skill and pace. He died in Napier, New Zealand on September 17, 2017.

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