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

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Lou Adler, NYC radio news anchor and directorWilliam Agee, business executive, and wife Mary CunninghamRay ('Bones') Bandar, collector of animal skullsHal Bedsole, USC All-America receiverJanet Benshoof, lawyer who fought for women's rightsBernard, Cardinal Law, former archbishop of BostonKen Catchpole, Australian rugby halfbackDick Enberg, legendary sports broadcasterMarch Fong Eu, California's first female secretary of stateJordan Feldstein, talent managerJohnny Fox, sword-swallower and magicianLarry Harris, cofounder of Casablanca RecordsClifford Irving, author of phony Howard Hughes autobiographyMamie ('Peanut') Johnson, one of three women who played in Negro baseball leaguesLeRoy Jolley, second-generation racehorse trainerKim Jong-hyun, lead singer of South Korean band SHINeeHiep Thi Le, Vietnamese refugee turned US movie starJerome Lefkowitz, NY labor lawyer and mediatorKevin Mahogany, jazz singerBennett Malone, Mississippi state legislatorBruce McCandless, NASA astronautReggie ('Combat Jack') Ossé, hip-hop podcasterStan Pilecki, German-born rugby player for AustraliaHerbert Rodgers, Vermont man who poured lye on estranged wifeArseny Roginsky, Soviet dissidentLt. Gen. Edward L. Rowny, presidential adviser on arms control negotiationsRoswell Rudd, jazz trombonistJohn Schmidt, Illinois appellate judgeThomas Stanford, Oscar-winning film and TV editorDiane Straus, publisher of two liberal policy magazinesKenichi Yamamoto, helped to produce Mazda's rotary engineJerry Yellin, WWII fighter pilot

Art and Literature

Clifford Irving (87) writer whose scheme to publish a phony autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes created a sensation in the ‘70s and stands as one of the all-time literary hoaxes. A novelist of little note in 1971, Irving conned McGraw-Hill publishers into paying him a $765,000 advance for a book about the reclusive Hughes. His elaborate ruse became the subject of the 2006 movie The Hoax, starring Richard Gere. Irving served 17 months in federal prison for fraud after Hughes emerged to condemn the work as a fabrication. The bogus autobiography wasn’t published until 1999, when it was printed as a private edition. Irving, who was married six times, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a week before he died after being admitted to hospice care in Sarasota, Florida on December 19, 2017.

Business and Science

William Agee (79) rising corporate star, only 38 in 1976 when the Bendix Corp., a large auto parts maker, made him one of the youngest chief executives of a major American company. Handsome and articulate, with an MBA degree from Harvard, Agee personified a new, faster-moving, less bureaucratic management style that was starting to take hold. But a recruiting decision—the hiring in spring 1979 of a bright, promising female employee named Mary Cunningham—and Agee’s subsequent handling of their relationship largely defined his business career, touching off a national discussion about workplace behavior that reverberates today. Less than two years later Cunningham was forced to leave the company under pressure amid allegations that she and Agee were having an affair—something they both denied. They later divorced their respective spouses, and they married in 1982. Agee died in Seattle, Washington of respiratory failure as a complication of scleroderma, a degenerative disease in which the immune system harms healthy tissue, on December 20, 2017.

Ray ('Bones') Bandar (90) retired high school science teacher who kept 6,000 animal skulls in his San Francisco home. Bandar began stocking his home with bones when he and his wife bought it in 1965. His skull collection includes 1,700 California sea lions, 1,000 birds, 120 black bears, 24 breeds of dog, 12 leopards, nine giraffes, six hippos, and six rhinos. Bandar also had 200 pelvises, a great white shark jaw, a monkey mummy, and moose antlers he kept in a bathtub. He provided displays to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, where he was a volunteer field associate for 60 years. He died of congestive heart failure in San Francisco, California on December 23, 2017.

Diane Straus (66) publisher of two liberal policy magazines. Straus had been president and publisher of The American Prospect when she joined Washington Monthly in 2008, nearly 40 years after it was founded. At the time the magazine was in danger of going out of business. Straus brought in new revenues by reaching out to foundations. And with funding from Jeffrey Leonard, a private equity manager who had left the board of The American Prospect to become chairman of Washington Monthly, the magazine survived, although it has reduced its frequency to five issues a year. Straus died of cancer in Washington, DC on December 20, 2017.

Kenichi Yamamoto (95) leader of the engineering team that produced a commercially viable rotary engine at the company called Toyo Kogyo until 1984 (now known as Mazda Motor Co.) and later became its president and chairman. Around 1961, Toyo Kogyo’s president asked Yamamoto to supervise a group of engineers who were trying to perfect the rotary engine that had been invented by a German engineer, Felix Wankel. With few moving parts, the rotary was a compact alternative to conventional engines, with their reciprocating pistons, connecting rods, and crankshafts. Yamamoto's team produced a successful engine: The prototype of a stylish rotary-powered coupe called the Cosmo made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1963. Yamamoto died in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, Japan, on December 20, 2017.


Janet Benshoof (70) lawyer who spent much of her career defending a woman’s right to an abortion, then expanded her work to champion causes for women around the world, including those raped in war zones. Over 40 years Benshoof pursued her advocacy at three organizations in New York: as director of the American Civil Liberties Union's reproductive freedom project and as founder and president of the Center for Reproductive Rights and, most recently, the Global Justice Center. She plotted the legal strategy for abortion and sex-education cases in state courts and the US Supreme Court and trained judges in Iraq to prosecute rape and sexual violence cases under international law. Benshoof died in New York City of uterine serous carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of endometrial cancer, on December 18, 2017.

Jerome Lefkowitz (86) labor lawyer and mediator who helped to draft the Taylor Law, which grants New York public employees collective bargaining rights but forbids them from striking. Lefkowitz oversaw the Taylor Law’s enforcement as well. He was hired in 1967 as the first employee of the state’s Public Employment Relations Board, created to carry out the new bargaining regulations. He became its deputy chairman and served in that post for 20 years, drafting many of its rulings. The law, officially the New York State Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, covers state and local governments and school districts and went into effect in 1967. Lefkowitz died of an infection in Albany, New York on December 21, 2017.

Herbert Rodgers (62) Vermont man who in a jealous rage doused his estranged wife with industrial-strength lye and burned her so badly she needed a face transplant. Rodgers had been serving a 30- to-70-year prison sentence in Pennsylvania. He admitted breaking into Carmen Tarleton’s house in 2007 intending to kill a man with whom he believed she was romantically involved but poured the toxic chemical over her instead. Vermont houses some inmates out of state to alleviate overcrowding in its prisons. Rodgers was imprisoned in Michigan but was moved to Pennsylvania in June. He died from a medical issue at a Pennsylvania hospital on December 18, 2017.

John Schmidt (52) Illinois appellate judge. Schmidt replaced a retiring justice on the 4th District Appellate Court, effective December 7. He was Sangamon County state’s attorney from 1999–2010. He died unexpectedly in Springfield, Illinois just weeks into his new job on the bench, on December 19, 2017.

News and Entertainment

Lou Adler 88) longtime New York radio news anchor and director whose exacting standards influenced a generation of broadcasters. Adler began his radio career in New York in 1959 at WCBS-AM. He worked for CBS as a reporter on radio and, briefly, on TV before returning to radio in 1967 as an anchor when the station switched to a news format. He became news director in 1971, a position he held for 10 years. Adler left WCBS in 1981 for another New York radio station, WOR-AM (710), and later worked at the Atlanta all-news station WCNN-AM. He died of Alzheimer’s disease in Meriden, Connecticut on December 22, 2017.

Jordan Feldstein (40) longtime manager of the pop rock band Maroon 5 and brother of actor Jonah Hill. Feldstein was founder and chief executive of Career Artist Management and had managed Maroon 5 since its inception in 2002. His company also counts Miguel, The B-52s, Elle King, and Rick Springfield among its clients. Feldstein called 911 after experiencing shortness of breath. He had gone into cardiac arrest by the time paramedics arrived and died in Los Angeles, California a short time later, on December 22, 2017.

Johnny Fox (64) sword-swallowing magician who presented his quirky art form to enthusiastic audiences around the world. Fox also ran an oddity-filled Manhattan museum called Freakatorium for 5½ years. The items on display included a shrunken head, a two-headed turtle, clothing from circus performer Tom Thumb, and a glass eye from Sammy Davis Jr. Fox had been battling cancer and died in Damascus, Maryland on December 17, 2017.

Larry Harris (70) helped his second cousin Neil Bogart (died 1982) to found Casablanca Records, a company that brought Kiss, Donna Summer, and other acts to the mainstream spotlight in the ‘70s. Casablanca, whose parties and other stimulant-enhanced antics are part of music-industry lore, rose and fell with the disco craze and is often identified with that genre. But its roster was wide-ranging, encompassing not only Kiss, the makeup-encrusted rock band, but also Cher, the funk band Parliament, and stand-up comics like Robin Williams and Rodney Dangerfield. Harris was the No. 2 man at the company behind Bogart, who had what Harris called a “sky’s-the-limit” approach to promoting the label’s acts. In his 2009 book, And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records, Harris told Casablanca's story. He died of an abdominal aneurysm in Port Angeles, Washington on December 18, 2017.

Kim Jong-hyun (27) lead singer of South Korean boy band SHINee. Kim debuted in 2008 as the main singer of SHINee and cultivated a career as both a group member and a solo singer-songwriter. His last public appearance was at a solo concert titled “Inspired” on December 9–10 in Seoul, and he was scheduled to hold concerts with SHINee members in Tokyo and Osaka in February. Better known by his stage name Jonghyun, Kim was found unconscious at a residence hotel in Seoul, South Korea, and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Authorities found burned coal briquettes, which produce carbon monoxide, in a frying pan in his hotel room. South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. A string of high-profile figures, including a former president and business executives, have killed themselves in recent years. Kim died in a possible suicide in Seoul, South Korea on December 18, 2017.

Hiep Thi Le (46) escaped from Vietnam on a fishing boat when she was about 9 and a dozen years later became an unlikely movie star when she was cast as the central figure in Heaven & Earth, Oliver Stone’s 1993 film. Stone had already examined Vietnam and its aftermath in his films Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989) when he took up the true story of Le Ly Hayslip, a Vietnamese woman who in two memoirs recounted her harrowing story of life in central Vietnam and, later, the US. Stone held open auditions for the part of Le Ly, drawing thousands of hopefuls. Le, he said, “just had the light.” At the time she was a student at the University of California at Davis studying physiology and had no acting experience. Le later appeared in about a dozen other movies, including Cruel Intentions (1999); Green Dragon (2001), about Vietnam War refugees; and Return to Pontianak (2001), directed by her husband, writer and director Djinn. She died of stomach cancer in Los Angeles, California on December 19, 2017.

Kevin Mahogany (59) vocalist whose baritone voice and talents as an improviser made him a latter-day jazz standard-bearer. Mahogany arrived on the national jazz stage in the ‘90s. His style drew on Kansas City's tradition of bluesy male vocals, while also reflecting the influence of rhythm and blues and jazz from the ‘60s and ’70s. After moving to New York, Mahogany performed with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Ray Brown. In 1993 he released his debut CD, Double Rainbow. In 1996 he portrayed mid-20th-century crooner Big Joe Turner in Robert Altman’s film Kansas City. Mahogany was found dead in Kansas City, Missouri on December 17, 2017.

Reggie ('Combat Jack') Ossé (53) broadcasting personality better known as Combat Jack who parlayed his experience in hip-hop into a podcasting empire. Ossé came of age in New York in time to see the rise of hip-hop from a local phenomenon to a worldwide craze. Working as a lawyer at Def Jam, he crossed paths with Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, and other early rap royalty before they were famous. After walking away from the entertainment industry, Ossé reinvented himself when the social web was in its infancy. He worked as a blogger under the pseudonym Combat Jack, then used the name as a podcaster in 2010. Combat Jack was able to coax hip-hop luminaries into revealing parts of themselves that they had never shown in public. Ossé died of colon cancer in New York City on December 20, 2017.

Roswell Rudd (82) musician who helped to establish a place for the trombone in the jazz avant-garde, then disappeared from the national stage for almost 20 years before enjoying a late-career resurgence in which he explored a wide array of styles. With groups like the New York Art Quartet and Archie Shepp’s bands of the mid-‘60s, Rudd was at the center of the free-jazz scene. But eventually he moved on, teaching at colleges and collaborating with musicians from around the world. After his return to commercial recording and international performances in 1999, his music became more diverse, mixing tuneful original compositions and jazz standards with rhythm and blues classics and ballads from France and Cuba. Rudd died of prostate cancer in Kerhonkson, New York, in the Catskills, on December 21, 2017.

Thomas Stanford (93) film and TV editor known for his Oscar-winning editing work on West Side Story (1962). Born in Germany and educated in Switzerland and England, Stanford moved to New Mexico in 1987 after a decades-long career as a film editor in Hollywood, where he earned credits for more than two dozen films and TV movies. He died in Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 23, 2017.

Politics and Military

March Fong Eu (95) California political trailblazer, the state’s first female secretary of state and later a US ambassador to Micronesia. Eu served four terms as a Democrat state assemblywoman representing the Oakland area before becoming California’s chief elections officer in 1975. She held that position until 1994 when President Bill Clinton named her ambassador to the Pacific nation of Micronesia. Eu was probably best known for her successful campaign to ban pay toilets in public buildings, arguing that urinals were often free, but she also ushered in voter registration by mail and got a complex built to showcase California’s archives. She died in Irvine, California from complications after a fall and subsequent surgery, on December 21, 2017.

Bennett Malone (73) Democrat who served nearly 36 years in the Mississippi State House. Malone was from Carthage and represented a House district that included parts of Leake, Neshoba, Rankin, and Scott counties. The former cattle farmer and businessman was elected in 1979 and later became chairman of the House Corrections Committee. Malone resigned in early 2015 after suffering from West Nile disease and an aneurysm. He died weeks after his wife pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to a former state corrections commissioner for her role as a consultant; Teresa Malone faces up to 10 years in federal prison. Bennett Malone died in Carthage, Mississippi on December 17, 2017.

Bruce McCandless (80) NASA astronaut, first person to fly freely and untethered in space. McCandless was famously photographed in 1984 flying with a spacewalker’s jetpack, alone in the cosmic blackness above Earth. He traveled more than 300 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger during the spacewalk. During that flight McCandless and fellow astronaut Robert L. Stewart pioneered the use of NASA’s backpack device that allowed astronauts walking in space to propel themselves from the shuttle. Stewart became the second person to fly untethered two hours after McCandless, who died in California on December 21, 2017.

Arseny Roginsky (71) longtime leader of the Russian human rights organization Memorial and a Soviet-era dissident who documented the victims of state persecution during the Cold War and after. Roginsky waged his longest battle with the ghosts of Russia’s past. For almost 30 years he oversaw Memorial’s campaign to record the names of more than 3 million victims of Soviet persecution. Under his leadership, the organization also extended its mandate to confront human rights issues in modern Russia, especially abuses in the North Caucasus and in the continuing war in eastern Ukraine. Roginsky had gone to Israel for cancer treatment and died in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 18, 2017.

Lt. Gen. Edward L. Rowny (100) US Army officer who advised presidents of both parties during arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union, repeatedly raising warnings about the Russians and arguing that American proposals were too soft. After serving in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, Rowny was named a negotiator in the talks that resulted in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty signed in 1972 by President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev. Rowny was also a principal player in the next round of SALT negotiations. But when that agreement was put forward in 1979, he objected to it so strongly that he resigned from the Army after President Jimmy Carter signed it so that he could be free to speak against it, which he did. An unwavering advocate of the “peace through strength” concept, Rowny died of cardiomyopathy, a heart disease, in Washington, DC on December 17, 2017.

Jerry Yellin (93) World War II fighter pilot who, unaware of Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945, continued to lead a four-plane attack on Japanese airfields, the last combat mission of that war. Yellin was afflicted by what is now known as posttraumatic stress disorder, having witnessed the carnage on Iwo Jima and later losing 16 members of his squadron, who were killed on missions. Iwo Jima was needed as a base for fighter planes that would escort long-range B-29 bombers based in the Mariana Islands while they raided Japan; it was conquered with a terrible toll on both sides. Later in life Yellin became best friends with his son's Japanese father-in-law. He died in Florida on December 21, 2017.

Society and Religion

Bernard, Cardinal Law (86) disgraced former archbishop of Boston whose failures to stop child molesters in the priesthood sparked what became the worst crisis in American Catholicism. Law was once one of the most important leaders in the US church. He influenced Vatican appointments to American dioceses, helped to set priorities for the nation’s bishops, and was favored by Pope John Paul II. But in January 2002, the Boston Globe began a series of reports that used church records to reveal that Law had transferred abusive clergy among parish assignments for years without alerting parents or police. Within months, Catholics around the US demanded to know whether their bishops had done the same. Law tried to manage the mushrooming scandal in his own archdiocese by first refusing to comment, then apologizing and promising reform. But thousands more church records were released describing new cases of how Law and others expressed more care for accused priests than for victims, and he resigned. In 2004 he was appointed archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of four principal basilicas in Rome, Italy, where he died on December 20, 2017.


Hal Bedsole (76) All-America receiver on the University of Southern California's undefeated 1962 national championship team and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Bedsole caught 82 passes for 1,717 yards and 20 touchdowns from 1961–63 at USC, all school records at the time. His 20.9 career average per reception remains a school record. He was a second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings and played tight end for them from 1964–66. After leaving the NFL, he worked in radio sales and marketing. He died in Arizona one day after his 76th birthday, on December 22, 2017.

Ken Catchpole (78) speedy halfback who played 27 test matches for Australia and was a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Known for his pace and accurate passing, Catchpole came through the ranks in Sydney at Randwick and was picked as captain for his Wallabies debut in 1961 at age 21. He formed a halves combination with five-eighth Phil Hawthorne that was acknowledged as one of the best in the world at the time. In 1968 Catchpole sustained a serious injury when he was pinned under other players in a ruck. He tore his hamstring and severely ruptured his groin, ending his playing career at age 28. He was honored with a bronze statue outside Sydney Football Stadium. Catchpole died in Sydney, Australia on December 21, 2017.

Dick Enberg (82) sports broadcaster who, through 60 years, whether it was broadcasting one of John Wooden’s basketball championships with UCLA, a no-hitter by Nolan Ryan, or a dramatic point at Wimbledon, excitedly summed up the big moments with two simple words: “Oh my!” Enberg was a master at calling big events across the sports spectrum but held a special love for baseball. He died of a suspected heart attack in La Jolla, California on December 21, 2017.

Mamie ('Peanut') Johnson (82) one of three women to play baseball in the Negro Leagues. The Ridgeway, South Carolina native was rejected at age 17 from trying out for the all-white All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was recruited in 1953 by the Indianapolis Clowns, the team that featured Hank Aaron before he went on to Major League Baseball. In three seasons as a pitcher with the Clowns, Johnson posted a 33-8 record and a .270 batting average. During the off-seasons she attended New York University and earned a nursing degree from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. When her baseball career ended, she raised her son and worked in nursing for 30 years. Johnson died in Columbia, South Carolina on December 19, 2017.

LeRoy Jolley (79) second-generation racehorse trainer under whose guidance Foolish Pleasure and Genuine Risk won the Kentucky Derby. Growing up near the Oaklawn Park racetrack in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Jolley never wanted to do anything but follow his father, Moody, into the business of training thoroughbreds. Over his career he saddled 991 winners and won purses of more than $35 million. He retired for a while but returned in recent years to train horses again. He died of lung cancer in Albany, New York on December 18, 2017.

Stan Pilecki (70) German-born rugby player who played 18 test matches for the Wallabies over a seven-year international career. Pilecki became the first player to appear in 100 matches for Queensland state. He played his first test match at age 31 before tours of Britain, New Zealand, Fiji, and Argentina. He was born in a German refugee camp in 1947 before his family migrated to Australia in ’50. The top award in Queensland rugby is the Pilecki Medal, named in his honor. Pilecki died in Brisbane, Australia on December 20, 2017.

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