Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 9, 2017

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

John Anderson, GOP congressman who ran for president in 1980Clarence Beavers, last of pioneering WWII paratroopersMacon F. Brock Jr., cofounder of Dollar Tree discount chainMaurice ('Mickey') Carroll, political reporter who covered shooting of Lee Harvey OswaldCharles J. Cella, former president of Arkansas's Oaklawn Jockey ClubJack Clarke, Illinois newspaper publisherJean d'Ormisson, French writer, philosopher, and newspaper commentatorStuart Evy, Getty executive who gambled on ESPNErnest Finney, retired South Carolina Supreme Court chief justiceWilliam Gass, novelist, essayist, and translatorHoward Gottfried, producer of movies by Paddy ChayefskyJohnny Hallyday, French rock starJames F. Hanley, NYC's chief labor negotiatorTommy Horton, British golferShashi Kapoor, Bollywood actor and producerChristine Keeler, John Profumo of Britain's notorious '60s scandalMichael I, King of RomaniaMarshall R. Loeb, revived 'Money' and 'Fortune' magazinesFather Dominic Luong, retired auxiliary bishop of Diocese of Orange CountyRon Meyer, college and NFL football coachSunny Murray, jazz drummerVincent Nguini, guitarist and composer with Paul Simon's bandSteve Reevis, Native American actorKevin ('K-Rob') Robinson, BMX record-setterAli Abdullah Saleh, Yemen leaderTracy Stallard, pitcher who threw record-breaking pitch to Roger Maris in 1961Cy Young, US Olympic javelin-throwing champion

Art and Literature

Jean d'Ormisson (92) public face among the “immortals” of the Academie Francaise, whom French President Emmanuel Macron called a “prince of letters.” A writer, philosopher, and newspaper commentator, the dapper D'Ormisson, known for his charm and wit, appeared regularly on French TV—unlike most other lifetime members of the academy. He was among the rare Academicians who might be recognizable to the French public. D’Ormesson wrote some 50 books and essays, starting in 1956. His last work, Ces moments de bonheur, ces midis d’incendie (These Moments of Happiness, These Fiery Noons) was published in 2016. D’Ormesson died in Paris, France on December 5, 2017.

William Gass (93) leading experimental American writer of the ‘60s and ‘70s who became an award-winning essayist and translator and an influence on many younger writers. Gass was among a generation of writers who opened up, and often abandoned, traditional narration, emphasizing wordplay, digression, and self-conscious references to storytelling. His epic novel The Tunnel (1995; no connection to the British TV series of the same title) took 20 years to complete. For 30 years he taught at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he died of congestive heart failure on December 6, 2017.

Business and Science

Macon F. Brock Jr. (75) cofounder of the Dollar Tree chain of discount stores, which grew into a Fortune 500 company. Brock was a big supporter of Virginia schools, including his alma mater, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, where several buildings are named after him. In 1986 Brock, his brother-in-law, and a friend created Only $1.00 stores; they changed the name to Dollar Tree in 1993. Dollar Tree has since grown to more than 6,600 stores. The company expanded in July 2015 with the purchase of the Family Dollar chain of now more than 8,100 discount stores. Brock underwent a lung transplant in 2014. He died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, in Virginia Beach, Virginia on December 9, 2017.

Stuart Evey (84) executive for Getty Oil who recommended that the company invest in the start-up that became ESPN, then took an active role in its management for five years. Evey, who oversaw Getty’s nonpetroleum businesses, was asked in late 1978 to evaluate a plan for an all-sports network. In those early days of cable programming, there were few channels, let alone any that televised sports 24 hours a day, as Bill Rasmussen, a former hockey team executive, was proposing. Seven other companies had rejected Rasmussen’s pitch, and he was running out of money. Evey persuaded the Getty board to invest $10 million in ESPN for an 85 per cent stake. The network went on the air on September 7, 1979 and eventually became the largest force in sports media. Evey, who wrote a memoir about it, died of diabetes in Spokane, Washington on December 8, 2017.

Marshall R. Loeb (88) business journalist who turned a floundering Money magazine into one of the nation’s most successful publications in the ‘80s, then led a similar revival at Fortune. Loeb joined Money in 1980 as managing editor, the magazine’s top editorial post, after 14 years at Time magazine. Inheriting a magazine that was barely profitable, he set about expanding its coverage of personal finance, among other things. Circulation soon climbed to 1.4 million in 1984, from 825,000 in ‘80, making Money the fastest-growing magazine in the country. Fortune recruited Loeb in 1986, and under his watch the magazine became must reading in executive suites. Loeb was credited with reviving the magazine’s profitability and expanding its traditionally tight focus on corporate management and the economy to embrace broader topics, like executive life, and social issues, like homelessness and public education. He died of Parkinson's disease in New York City on December 9, 2017.


Ernest Finney (86) South Carolina's first black chief justice since Reconstruction. Finney spent a lifetime breaking racial barriers in the state. The path he forged has been well followed: a woman or a black judge has been South Carolina's chief justice in all but one of the 23 years since Finney was elected to the seat. He became a successful civil rights lawyer and was elected one of the state's first black legislators since Reconstruction in the early ‘70. He became the state's first black Circuit Court judge in 1976. The State Legislature appointed Finney to the Supreme Court in 1985 as the first black justice since Reconstruction. He served six years as Chief Justice before retiring in 2000. Finney was suffering from dementia in May 2016 when he drove away from his home, prompting a frantic 90-minute search that found him safe two counties from his Columbia home. He died in Columbia, South Carolina on December 3, 2017.

Christine Keeler (75) central figure in the sex-and-espionage Profumo scandal that rocked Cold War Britain. Keeler was a model and nightclub dancer in 1963 when she had an affair with British War Secretary John Profumo. When it emerged that Keeler had also slept with a Soviet naval attaché, the collision of sex, wealth, and national security issues caused a sensation and helped to topple the Conservative government. Profumo, married at the time to British actress Valerie Hobson, resigned in disgrace and died in 2006. Another person swept up in the scandal, London osteopath Dr. Steven Ward, committed suicide. The Profumo affair, which mesmerized Englanders during a subsequent trial, became the basis for the 1989 film Scandal, in which Keeler was portrayed by Joanne Whalley. Keeler was ultimately sentenced to nine months in prison for perjury. She served six months and spent the rest of her life trying to escape her unwanted notoriety. She died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease near Farnborough in southern England on December 4, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Maurice ('Mickey') Carroll (86) journalist who brought streetwise insights to his political reporting for a string of major newspapers and later became the public face of the emerging Quinnipiac University poll. Carroll covered government and politics for at least eight New York and New Jersey newspapers over 40 years. His reporting included an eyewitness account from Dallas of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and dispatches from the scenes of civil rights marches in the South. After working for the New York Times, then New York Newsday, in 1995 he became assistant director of the opinion poll run by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, where he also taught journalism. Carroll died of colon cancer in Convent Station, New Jersey on December 6, 2017.

Jack Clarke (83) longtime publisher of the Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register and its predecessors until he retired in 1996. Clarke was born in Mattoon and grew up in Springfield and Chicago. He served in the Navy, earned a master's degree in business administration at Harvard, and returned to Springfield to become assistant business manager and later business manager for the Journal and the Register, then published separately. He became publisher in 1968 and oversaw the ‘74 merger of the papers. Clarke helped to push for the establishment of what was then Sangamon State University and has since become the University of Illinois at Springfield. He died of cancer in Naples, Florida on December 9, 2017.

Howard Gottfried (94) movie producer whose longtime partnership with famed scriptwriter Paddy Chayefsky (died 1981) yielded acclaimed films such as Network (1976) and Altered States (1980). Gottfried was a lawyer by training but had an eye for daring movies and an affinity for adventuresome writers. He died of a stroke in New York City on December 8, 2017.

Johnny Hallyday (74) France’s biggest rock star for decades and an icon who packed sports stadiums and all but lit up the Eiffel Tower with his pumping pelvis and high-voltage tunes. Hallyday’s glitzy stage aura was clearly fashioned around stars like Elvis Presley, and his musical inspiration came from the likes of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. Yet his stardom largely ended with the French-speaking world. The antithesis of a French hero right down to his Elvis-style glitter, his gravelly voice, and his name with an un-French ring, Hallyday was nevertheless an institution in France, with a postage stamp in his honor. He was the top rock ‘n’ roll star through more than 50 years and eight presidents. He died in Paris, France on December 6, 2017.

Shashi Kapoor (79) leading Bollywood actor and producer from the ‘70s and '80s. Kapoor acted in more than 100 Hindi films and was a key theater personality. He appeared in British and American movies produced by Merchant Ivory Productions. His English-language movies included The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Bombay Talkie (1970), and Heat & Dust (1982), in which he costarred with his wife, British actress Jennifer Kendal. Kapoor was a member of a family dynasty in the Bollywood film industry. He was the youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, a veteran of Bollywood and the theater. Shashi Kapoor began acting at age 4 in plays produced and directed by his father. He started in films as a child actor in the late ‘40s and made his debut as a leading actor in movies in 1961. He died in Mumbai, India, where he was being treated for a kidney ailment, on December 4, 2017.

Sunny Murray (81) drummer, among the first to define a personal style in the free-jazz idiom. Murray was still finding his footing on New York's jazz scene in 1960 when he met pianist Cecil Taylor, a rising star of the avant-garde. The two played together at a jam session, and they clicked. Touring with Taylor in 1962, Murray met Albert Ayler, a young American tenor saxophonist living in Europe. Murray’s partnership with Ayler was documented on Spiritual Unity, a classic album recorded in 1964. Murray moved to Paris, France in 1968 and died there of multiple organ failure on December 7, 2017.

Vincent Nguini (65) guitarist and composer from Cameroon best known for his long tenure in Paul Simon’s band. Nguini, who performed worldwide with Simon and recorded extensively as both a studio musician and a bandleader, was an adaptable guitarist who came up with playful melodies. He had mastered styles from all around Africa and the Americas and was fluent in jazz, blues, salsa, samba, bikutsi, and makossa from Cameroon, highlife from Ghana, juju from Nigeria, soukous from Congo, and mbaqanga from South Africa, plus Simon’s folk-pop. He became a collaborator with Simon in 1987, when he began arranging songs and meshing guitar lines with him. Nguini died of liver cancer in Abadiânia, Brazil, where he had gone to see a spiritual healer, on December 8, 2017.

Steve Reevis (55) actor who had supporting roles in the movies Fargo and Last of the Dogmen. Reevis was a member of the Blackfeet Tribe in northwestern Montana. He also appeared in the movies Dances with Wolves and the 2005 version of The Longest Yard and acted in several TV episodes, including Walker, Texas Ranger, Jag, and Bones. He died in Missoula, Montana on December 7, 2017.

Politics and Military

John Anderson (95) former longtime Illinois congressman who ran for president as an independent in 1980. The World War II veteran, former prosecutor, and 10-term GOP congressman originally sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 but later waged an independent campaign against Democrat President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan. Anderson received 7 per cent of the national vote. He became disillusioned with the direction of the Republican Party and what he saw as a move to the far right. He died in Washington, DC on December 3, 2017.

Clarence Beavers (96) last surviving member of a groundbreaking group of black paratroopers deployed during World War II against what were described as the world’s first intercontinental-range airborne weapons—giant bomb-laden balloons launched from Japan and aimed at North America. Beavers was one of 17 soldiers who formed what became the Army’s first all-black paratroop unit, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. The unit, which began training in 1944, was never as famous as the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black Army Air Forces group from Alabama, but it was pioneering nonetheless. The paratroopers were nicknamed the Triple Nickels (the 555th conjured up the five-cent coin), but they also became known as the Smoke Jumpers after being dispatched to the American Northwest to be on hand to extinguish forest fires should the balloon bombs ignite them. Beavers died of heart failure in Huntington, New York on December 4, 2017.

James F. Hanley (69) former union electrician who later became New York City's chief labor negotiator for nearly 15 years. Hanley worked for 42 years at the city’s Office of Labor Relations. He was commissioner under three very diverse mayoral administrations and won the trust of union leaders while negotiating scores of contracts for 300,000 municipal employees. More than half the city’s $86 billion budget is spent on salaries, pensions, and other benefits. Hanley died of respiratory failure on Staten Island, New York on December 6, 2017.

Michael I, King of Romania (96) former Romanian king forced to abdicate by the Communists in the aftermath of World War II. Michael, who played a pivotal role in Romania’s switch to the Allied cause after a coup in 1944, spent decades in exile working as a chicken farmer and aircraft pilot. He finally got his citizenship back in 1997, eight years after the collapse of communism. A great-great-grandson of Britain’s Queen Victoria, Michael acceded to the throne in 1927 when he was 6 after his father, Carol II, eloped with his mistress and abdicated. After three years Carol returned to the throne and stayed there until abdicating again in 1940, when Michael became king for a second time. He reigned for seven years until he was forced to abdicate. Michael’s reign is best remembered for his coup on August 23, 1944, against pro-Nazi leader Marshal Ion Antonescu, which took Romania into the war on the side of the Allies. He died in Aubonne, Switzerland on December 5, 2017.

Ali Abdullah Saleh (75) former leader of Yemen, known as a survivor of Middle Eastern politics who had ruled for more than 30 years and reemerged to play a major role in his country’s civil war. Saleh was a manipulator of Yemen’s tribal politics who once likened his presidency to “dancing on the heads of snakes,” but his Machiavellian skills and good luck finally ran out. His long tenure as leader of the poorest Arab country, which suffered periodic warfare and became a hotbed for Al Qaeda, was universally seen as corrupt and unprincipled, interested mainly in wealth and power for himself and his relatives, whom he installed in powerful posts. He died after an explosion at his home in Sana, the capital. Yemen’s Houthi rebels, his onetime allies in the war, said they had killed him in an ambush on December 4, 2017.

Society and Religion

Father Dominic Luong (76) in 1975 when refugees from Vietnam began arriving in America by the thousands, Luong saw his future. The newly ordained priest left the seminary in Buffalo, New York, where he was teaching biology and working as a hospital chaplain, and headed to New Orleans—a port of arrival for many forced to flee their homeland after the fall of Saigon. There he helped to found what became the first Vietnamese-American parish in the US, Mary Queen of Vietnam Church. For years he tended to the needs of the refugees and immigrants, those whose lives years later were uprooted again when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. Luong’s work was so tireless and his passion so evident that Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange in 2003, making him the first Vietnamese-born Roman Catholic priest in the US and an immediate spiritual leader in the country’s largest Vietnamese-American community—Little Saigon. Retiring in 2015 after years of service in Orange County, California and months of declining health, Luong died two weeks before his 77th birthday, on December 6, 2017.


Charles J. Cella (81) helped to turn Oaklawn Park into a major racing destination in the South as a third-generation president of the Arkansas track and a thoroughbred owner himself. Cella took over as president of Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs in 1968 upon the death of his father, John G. Cella. The younger Cella led the track to even greater success through such innovations as full-card interstate simulcasting and the Racing Festival of the South, which featured lucrative stakes races. In 2005 the Cella family and Oaklawn Park received the Eclipse Award of Merit for their contributions to US racing. Charles Cella died of Parkinson’s disease in St. Louis, Missouri on December 6, 2017.

Tommy Horton (76) British golfer who played in two Ryder Cups and won four times on the European Tour. Horton also won 23 times on the European Senior Tour. He was awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to golf in 2000 and was made an honorary European Tour life member in ’12. He tied for fourth in the 1976 British Open at Royal Birkdale and had four top-10 finishes in the event. He represented Britain and Ireland against the US in the Ryder Cup in 1975 and ’77 and was a course designer, broadcaster, and author. Horton became ill at the Annual General Meeting at the Royal Jersey Golf Club and died soon after at a Grouville, Jersey hospital on December 7, 2017.

Ron Meyer (76) football coach behind Southern Methodist University's powerhouse “Pony Express” teams who later called for a snow plow to clear a spot so the New England Patriots could kick the winning field goal against Miami in one of the NFL's most memorable moments. SMU's heyday was 1979–81, when the Mustangs, led by running backs Eric Dickerson and Craig James, turned a middling program into a Southwest Conference champion before it skidded toward the NCAA's “death penalty” ruling for jaw-dropping rules violations. After early struggles, the program—which had already been sanctioned by the NCAA for infractions before Meyer arrived—took off as wealthy boosters, fueled by the region's economic boom of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, got caught up in a payment scheme designed to bring in top players. The cheating survived long after Meyer left for the NFL and eventually led the NCAA to first put the program on probation in 1985, then shut it down in ’87. Meyer died after collapsing with an aortic aneurism while playing golf in the Austin, Texas suburb of Lakeway, on December 5, 2017.

Kevin ('K-Rob') Robinson (45) former professional BMX rider who set a world record for the longest power-assisted bicycle back flip. Robinson earned gold medals in the X Games and was famous for his high-flying jumps. He jumped 84 feet from one ramp to another in downtown Providence in 2016, setting a world record. He set a BMX high air world record in New York's Central Park in 2008. Robinson retired from competition in 2013. A native of East Providence, Rhode Island, he created the nonprofit K-Rob Foundation in 2010 to improve the lives of children in his hometown and surrounding communities and built the first free public skate park in East Providence, a lifelong dream. He died unexpectedly of an apparent stroke in Barrington, Rhode Island on December 9, 2017.

Tracy Stallard (80) footnote in baseball history for throwing the pitch that the New York Yankees’ Roger Maris hit for his 61st home run on the last day of the 1961 season—breaking one of the game’s most cherished records, Babe Ruth’s 60-homer season for the 1927 Yankees. A fast-balling right-hander, Stallard was 24 years old and in his first full major league season when he was the starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox on the afternoon of Sunday, October 1, 1961 at Yankee Stadium. He retired Maris on a fly to left field on his first trip to the plate. But in the fourth inning he delivered a fast ball on a 2-0 count that Maris drove into the lower right-field seats, where it fell a few rows deep into the lower deck. Maris circled the bases slowly to a standing ovation. Stallard spent most of the 1962 season in the Red Sox farm system. He was traded to the woeful Mets after that, had a 6-17 record in 1963 and a 10-20 mark in ‘64, then was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals. He died in Kingsport, Tennessee on December 6, 2017.

Cy Young (89) US Olympic javelin-throwing champion who, at the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, beat the record set in '32 by Finland’s Matti Jarvinen, who had set 12 world records over six years. Unrelated to the Hall of Fame pitcher of the same name, Young became the first American man to win a gold medal in javelin and remained the only one. He died of vascular dementia in Modesto, California on December. 6, 2017.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top