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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 14, 2017

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Y. A. Tittle, longtime pro football starArmando Calderón Sol, former president of El SalvadorRobert Fenn, speed-skating coachBen Hawkins, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiverJerry Kleczka, former US congressman from WisconsinVincent La Selva, founder and conductor of New York Grand OperaWilliam J. Lombardy, chess championJean Rochefort, French film actorBob Schiller, TV comedy writerAnn Stephens, former first lady of MontanaGrady Tate, jazz drummer turned singerDaniel Webb, Chicago White Sox pitcherRichard Wilbur, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Art and Literature

Richard Wilbur (96) two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and translator who delighted generations of readers and theatergoers with his rhyming editions of Moliere and his own verse on memory, writing, and nature. As US poet laureate in 1987–88, Wilbur was often cited as an heir to Robert Frost and other New England writers. He was regarded as a master of old-fashioned meter and language who resisted contemporary trends. He was also known for his translations, especially of Moliere, Racine, and other French playwrights. His rhyming couplets of Moliere's Tartuffe and The Misanthrope were often called the definitive editions of those classic 17th-century satires. Wilbur died in Belmont, Massachusetts on October 14, 2017.


News and Entertainment

Vincent La Selva (88) founder in 1973 of the New York Grand Opera, which made its Central Park debut in ‘74 with a production of Puccini’s La Bohème in what was described then as the first fully staged, full-length opera in a New York park. For almost 40 years La Selva, doubling as the orchestra’s conductor, continued to deliver free summer concerts to hundreds of thousands of music lovers who could not afford the Metropolitan or New York City Operas. He also transformed an untold number of the uninitiated into opera fans. La Selva died of dementia in Parma, Ohio on October 9, 2017.

Jean Rochefort (87) French actor who starred in more than 100 movies over 50 years and was much loved by the French public. Rochefort, who started his career during the ‘50s, won three Cesar awards, the equivalent of the Oscars in the US. Instantly recognizable with his trademark mustache and dandy style, Rochefort was applauded for his versatility and great sense of humor. He died in Paris, France on October 9, 2017.

Bob Schiller (98) comedy writer whose credits reach back to TV’s infancy, including I Love Lucy and later Maude, All in the Family, and The Carol Burnett Show. Schiller began writing for TV in 1950 and in ‘53 formed a partnership with Bob Weiskopf, with whom he collaborated for nearly 50 years. Among their hundreds of TV scripts was the classic I Love Lucy episode that found Lucy Ricardo stomping grapes. The team also wrote for such ‘50s sitcoms as The Bob Cummings Show, December Bride, The Jimmy Durante Show, and The Ann Sothern Show. Their partnership continued through the ‘60s and ‘70s with such shows as Lucille Ball’s follow-up comedy The Lucy Show. which they cocreated, and The Red Skelton Hour, Flip Wilson’s variety show Flip, and Archie Bunker’s Place. Schiller had also written scripts for such classic radio series as Duffy’s Tavern, Abbott & Costello, and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. He shared writing Emmys with Weiskopf for All in the Family and Flip. Schiller died in Pacific Palisades, California on October 10, 2017.

Grady Tate (85) jazz drummer known for his work with Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others and whose warm baritone led to a second career as a singer. Tate started drumming professionally in the late ‘50s and eventually became one of the busiest sidemen in jazz, recording with stars like Jimmy Smith, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, and Billy Taylor. In his later years, Tate sang more and played the drums less. He died of dementia in New York City on October 8, 2017.


Politics and Military

Armando Calderón Sol (69) former Salvadoran president. Calderón Sol governed El Salvador from 1994–99, after the signing of the ‘92 peace accords ended 12 years of civil war. El Salvador is now governed by a party made up of former leftist rebels who fought the government during the 1980–92 civil war. Calderón Sol was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and died in Houston, Texas on October 9, 2017.

Jerry Kleczka (73) former US congressman, a liberal Democrat who represented a Wisconsin district, including his hometown of Milwaukee, for 20 years. A factory worker’s son, Kleczka represented Wisconsin’s 4th District from 1984–2005, winning 10 consecutive races. He retired from Congress and was succeeded by Democrat Gwen Moore. Before winning a special election to the US House in 1984 to fill the seat left vacant by the heart attack death of Democrat Clement Zablocki, Kleczka served in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate. In Congress he was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and later the House Budget Committee. He died in the Madison, Wisconsin area on October 8, 2017.

Ann Stephens (90) former first lady of Montana. Stephens was first lady from 1989–93 while her husband, Stan Stephens, was governor. She was born in Minneapolis in 1927, and her family moved to Havre, Montana when she was 12. She married Stan Stephens in Havre in 1954. Ann Stephens died of cancer in Kalispell, Montana on October 8, 2017.


Sports

Robert Fenn (73) Milwaukee-based speed-skating coach who mentored two-time Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis. Fenn was also an accomplished speed-skater and won gold and bronze medals at the short-track world championships in 1976. He was born in New York and worked as a carpenter but became best known as a coach at the Petit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. He died unexpectedly in Waukesha, Wisconsin on October 8, 2017.

Ben Hawkins (73) former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver. A third-round pick of the Eagles in 1966, Hawkins spent eight of his nine NFL seasons in Philadelphia, where he played 102 games (67 starts) from 1966–73. He was tied for ninth in team history in receiving touchdowns (32), 10th in receiving yards (4,764), and 19th in receptions (261). His single-season career high of 1,265 receiving yards in 1967 is the fifth-best mark in team history. A former standout at Arizona State from 1962–66, Hawkins later coached in the US Football League for the Arizona Outlaws and the San Antonio Gunslingers. He died in Belmar, New Jersey on October 9, 2017.

William J. Lombardy (79) one of the most talented and promising chess players of his generation, winning titles and accolades while he was still a teenager. But Lombardy all but gave up the game at the height of his career to become a Catholic priest, although he later left the priesthood. Lombardy was the first American to win the World Junior Chess Championship—doing so with a perfect score, a feat that has never been duplicated—and led the US to victory over the Soviet Union in the 1960 World Student Team Championship, beating Boris Spassky, future world champion. Lombardy was later named a grandmaster, the World Chess Federation’s highest title. Born in the Bronx, New York, and a longtime resident of New York City, he collapsed and died suddenly while visiting a friend in Martinez, California on October 13, 2017.

Y. A. Tittle (90) Hall of Fame quarterback and 1963 NFL Most Valuable Player. Known as “The Bald Eagle” as much for his sturdy leadership as his prematurely receding hairline, Tittle played 17 seasons of pro football. He began with the All-America Football Conference’s Baltimore Colts in 1948 and finished with the NFL’s New York Giants. He played 10 years in between with the San Francisco 49ers but had his greatest success in New York, leading the Giants to three division titles in four years in a remarkable late-career surge. Tittle never won a championship but came to personify the competitive spirit of football, thanks to an iconic photo taken by Dozier Mobley during Tittle’s final season in 1964. The frame caught the then-37-year-old quarterback, who looked older than his years, after throwing an interception returned for a touchdown by Pittsburgh’s Chuck Hinton. Tittle is seen kneeling in exhaustion and pain from an injured rib, blood dripping down his face from a head gash. He was the first pro football player to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1954. He died in Stanford, California, 16 days short of his 91st birthday, on October 8, 2017.

Daniel Webb (28) former relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Webb was 7-5 with a 4.50 earned run average in 94 games for the White Sox from 2013–16. He was drafted by Toronto in 2009 and traded to the White Sox after the ‘11 season in a deal for pitcher Jason Frasor. He made his major league debut in September 2013 at Yankee Stadium—the first hitter he faced was Derek Jeter, and Webb walked him. He made 57 appearances for the White Sox in 2014 and pitched 110 innings in his career, striking out 93. The right-hander pitched one inning in 2016, then had Tommy John (ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction) surgery in June. He was released by the White Sox after the season and did not pitch professionally during his recovery. Webb was killed in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident in Waverly, Tennessee, about 70 miles west of Nashville, on October 14, 2017.


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