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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 30, 2017

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Rose Marie, former child movie star featured on 'Dick Van Dyke Show'Harold Balazs, Washington state sculptorTom Baldini, mayor of Marquette, Mich.Dr. Ben Barres, transgender neuroscientistBobby Battle, Oklahoma inmate who helped to reform state prison systemJan Baum, LA art dealerAlan Bleviss, voice-over artist in TV commercials and film trailersJohnny Bower, oldest full-time goaltender in NHL historyRaymond Brown, Ole Miss football star turned Mississippi lawyerPeggy Cummins, Welsh-born Hollywood actressAmanda Davis, Atlanta TV news anchorIsaac Newton Farris Sr., brother-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Carmen Franco, only child of Spanish dictator Francisco FrancoLeRoy Frasier, one of three pioneering black students at UNC-Chapel HillErica Garner, daughter of Black Lives Matter figure Eric GarnerSue Grafton, author of 'alphabet' mysteriesThomas P. Griesa, New York federal judge in Argentine debt lawsuitsYehoshua Hershkowitz, founder of kosher meals-on-wheels programDr. Jimmie Holland, pioneer in psycho-oncologyMaura Jacobson, crossword puzzle-maker for 'New York' magazineJerry Kindall, Major League Baseball player and college coachHeather Menzies-Urich, actress in 'Sound of Music,' with late husband Robert UrichJohn C. Portman, postmodern architect and developerPhilip Pumerantz, founder of California school of osteopathyMarcus Raskin, cofounder of progressive think tankTim Rollins, artist and educatorJoe Rutherford, longtime Mississippi newspaper editorial page editorFran Schneidau, Connecticut radio news reporterLawrence E. Stager, biblical archaeologistDaniel Talbot, art film distributor who cofounded NYC's Lincoln Plaza CinemasRecy Taylor, Alabama rape victimTatsuro Toyoda, founder's son and former president of Toyota Motor Corp.Jack Van Berg, racehorse trainerUlrich Wegener, West German police commando who led 1977 hijacked plane rescue

Art and Literature

Harold Balazs (89) artist whose large sculptures are displayed in cities across Washington state. Among Balazs’s public works in Spokane are the Rotary Fountain at Riverfront Park, the Centennial Sculpture floating in the Spokane River near the convention center, and The Lantern on the river side of the INB Performing Arts Center. He also created public art in Seattle and numerous other cities. Balazs was born in 1928 and grew up in Westlake, Ohio. After his family moved to Spokane in the ‘40s, he enrolled at Washington State College in Pullman and earned a fine arts degree. He died in Spokane, Washington on December 30, 2017.

Jan Baum (89) art dealer who presented key Los Angeles artists such as Chris Burden and Betye Saar and helped to establish La Brea Avenue as a gallery hub in the ‘80s. Baum operated two galleries in her lifetime: Baum-Silverman Gallery on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood and later the Jan Baum Gallery at 170 S. La Brea Ave. The first gallery was a partnership with Iris Silverman, a private dealer in African and Oceanic art. The pair launched the space in 1977. In 1980 Silverman died, and Baum struck out on her own. Jan Baum Gallery opened the next year in a two-story Art Deco building on La Brea near 2nd Street—an area that wasn’t known as a budding gallery district. But it nonetheless proved to be a success, and within five years more than a dozen other galleries had opened up shop in the area. Baum stayed for 26 years. She died of a cerebral edema in Los Angeles, California on December 25, 2017.

Sue Grafton (77) best-selling crime novelist whose popular “alphabet” mysteries featuring southern California detective Kinsey Millhone sold millions of copies worldwide. Grafton published the first of her alphabetical series of novels—each title began with a different letter—with A Is for Alibi in 1982. She reached the 25th letter of the alphabet with her final book, Y Is for Yesterday, published last August. After publishing two novels in the ‘60s, Grafton later wrote screenplays before breaking through in the ‘80s with her mystery books, which became instant best-sellers. Her experience as a screenwriter gave her such a strong distaste for the ways of Hollywood that she refused to allow any of her Kinsey Millhone books to be made into films or TV productions. She was one book away from completing the final Kinsey Millhone installment, which would have been called Z Is for Zero. Grafton died of cancer in Santa Barbara, California on December 28, 2017.

John C. Portman (93) architect and developer known for his postmodernist designs that helped to reshape cities like Atlanta and New York. Portman's revolutionary designs redefined urban landscapes, although sometimes not without controversy. Some of his buildings were criticized as concrete islands and self-contained cities within cities. No single architect shaped Atlanta's skyline like Portman. He gave the city the cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel and the AmericasMart, an array of buildings downtown where wholesale goods are bought and sold. He also left his mark from San Francisco to Shanghai and helped to revitalize Times Square with his famed New York Marriott Marquis. He died in Atlanta, Georgia on December 29, 2017.


Business and Science

Dr. Ben Barres (63) neuroscientist who did groundbreaking work on brain cells known as glia and their possible relation to diseases like Parkinson’s. Barres was an outspoken advocate of equal opportunity for women in the sciences. He was transgender, having transitioned from female to male in 1997, when he was in his 40s and well into his career as Dr. Barbara Barres. That gave him a distinctive outlook on the difficulties that women and minorities face in academia, and especially in the sciences. An article he wrote for the journal Nature in 2006 titled “Does Gender Matter?” took on some prominent scholars who had argued that women were not advancing in the sciences because of innate differences in their aptitude. The article cited studies documenting obstacles facing women, but it also drew on Barres’s personal experiences. He recounted dismissive treatment he had received when he was a woman and how that had changed when he became a man. Chairman of the neurology department at Stanford University since 2008, Dr. Ben Barres died of pancreatic cancer in Palo Alto, California on December 27, 2017.

Alan Bleviss (76) voice-over artist who could be heard in everything from presidential campaign ads to blockbuster film trailers and TV commercials. Canadian-born Bleviss’s voice was heard in countless commercials for companies like AT&T, Heinz, Pampers, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and MasterCard, and in trailers for films, including Scarface, Dirty Dancing, and Ragtime. He also provided narrations for ABC, the Discovery Channel, PBS, and Animal Planet. His work for the Children’s Defense Fund, Heinz tomato juice, and other commercial clients won six Clio Awards, which honor creativity in advertising. His career was interrupted in the late ‘80s when a neurological disorder, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, made it difficult for him to speak, but he regained his voice with the help of a vocal specialist. Bleviss died of lung cancer in New York City on December 30, 2017.

Isaac Newton Farris Sr. (83) brother-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a founding member of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. Farris married Christine King in a ceremony performed by her brothers, Martin Luther and A. D. King on August 19, 1960. Farris was a successful entrepreneur and founder of Farris Color Visions. He also was project manager for the construction of the King Center, founded by Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. Farris was also a deacon and trustee at the historic Ebenezer Baptist church, where he was a member for over 60 years. He suffered from prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease and died in Atlanta, Georgia on December 30, 2017.

Dr. Jimmie Holland (89) physician who rose from rural Texas roots to pioneer the field of psycho-oncology—treating the emotional distress of cancer patients while their medical symptoms are addressed. With several colleagues in the mid-‘70s, Holland established a division of psychiatry at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. She became the first woman to head a clinical department there and was credited with creating the first full-time psychiatry service in a major cancer hospital. Holland was one of only three women in her 1952 medical school class. She died of cardiovascular disease in Scarsdale, New York on December 24, 2017.

Tatsuro Toyoda (88) former Toyota Motor Corp. president and a son of the company’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, who led its climb to become one of the world's top automakers. The younger Toyoda, the automaker's seventh president, stepped down from that position in 1995 while continuing in other posts, such as adviser, a title he held until his death. He was instrumental in setting up the California joint venture with US rival General Motors called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), which began production in 1984. At that time it was heralded as a pioneer in international collaborations in the industry. With a career focused on international operations, Toyoda was NUMMI's first president and was known for his efforts to bring together Toyota's corporate culture of superefficiency, teamwork, and empowering workers with American culture, including introducing a new style of labor-management relations. He died of pneumonia in Tokyo, Japan on December 30, 2017.


Education

LeRoy Frasier (80) along with his brother and another high school student, Frasier was among the first black undergraduate students to successfully challenge racial segregation at North Carolina's flagship public university. Frasier, his brother Ralph, and John Lewis Brandon were students at Hillside High School in Durham when they applied to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1955. They were rejected until a federal court judge ordered UNC-Chapel Hill to admit them. While at the school, the siblings were not allowed to go to the golf course, and the university-owned restaurant and hotel known as the Carolina Inn was off-limits. At football games they were seated in a section with black custodial workers. They lived on their own dorm floor and had to get a special dispensation to use the swimming pool. The Frasier brothers completed three years at Chapel Hill; both later graduated from what is now North Carolina Central University, a historically black school in Durham. UNC-Chapel Hill has since taken steps to make amends by inviting them to speak and naming scholarships after them. LeRoy Frasier, a longtime English teacher, suffered heart failure and died in New York City on December 29, 2017.

Philip Pumerantz (85) former high school teacher who helped to resurrect the once-maligned practice of osteopathic medicine in California by founding what is now a bustling medical school. Pumerantz was one of the longest-serving university presidents in the country when he retired in 2015. Under his guidance, what is now Western University of Health Sciences grew from a school of 36 would-be osteopaths studying in a shuttered J. C. Penney store in downtown Pomona to a campus of 3,900 students. The university now sprawls over a 25-acre campus in the heart of Pomona and consists of nine colleges, including southern California's only college of veterinary medicine. Pumerantz died in Upland, California on December 26, 2017.

Tim Rollins (62) artist and educator whose murallike paintings inspired by literary classics brought 1980s art stardom to him and his collaborators—a collective of at-risk South Bronx teenagers. Rollins devoted almost all his 35-year career to his unusual combination of art-making and teaching, and to the group, which exhibited as Tim Rollins + KOS (Kids of Survival, as Rollins’ original collaborators named themselves). The collective had its beginnings in 1981, when Rollins was working as a substitute teacher in the South Bronx—a devastated area at the time—to develop a special-education program for students with learning disabilities that would combine making art with improving reading and writing skills. Rollins died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease in the South Bronx, New York, on December 26, 2017.


Law

Bobby Battle (80) former Oklahoma inmate whose decades-long lawsuit against the Department of Corrections sparked major reforms in the state’s prison system. Battle filed the lawsuit in 1972 while an inmate at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester over conditions at the prison. Before it went to trial, one of the worst prison riots in US history broke out at the penitentiary that left three inmates dead and more than 20 injured. The lawsuit, which ultimately became a class-action suit, led to the racial desegregation of prisons in Oklahoma and changes in the use of confinement, punishment, and medical care of inmates. Battle died of pneumonia in Midwest City, Oklahoma on December 25, 2017.

Erica Garner (27) daughter of key Black Lives Matter figure Eric Garner. In 2014, her father was stopped on Staten Island for selling untaxed cigarettes and died after a white police officer subdued him with a choke-hold. A grand jury declined to indict the officer, but the city agreed to pay a $6 million civil settlement. Eric Garner's last words, “ I can't breathe,” became a slogan for activists. Erica Garner became a voice for police accountability after his death, criticizing New York Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio over policing matters. In 2016 she campaigned on behalf of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, for president. Erica Garner, who gave birth in August, had learned during her pregnancy that she had heart problems. She had a heart attack after an asthma episode and was placed in a medically induced coma. She died in New York City on December 30, 2017.

Thomas P. Griesa (87) New York federal judge who drew the ire of Argentine government officials in a long-running case over Argentina's debts. Griesa presided for 15 years over lawsuits brought by US hedge funds that bought heavily discounted Argentine bonds after the country defaulted on debts in 2001. The hedge funds demanded full repayment of billions of dollars in bonds. Argentina called the hedge funds “vultures.” Griesa said the bonds must be paid in full. In 2014 Argentina's then-President Cristina Fernandez called Griesa senile and his finding “silliness.” After Fernandez left office, the court case was settled; bondholders were paid more than $8 billion. Griesa died in New York City on December 24, 2017.

Recy Taylor (97) black Alabama woman whose rape by six white men in 1944 drew national attention. Taylor was 24 when she was abducted and raped as she walked home from church in Abbeville. Her attackers left her on the side of the road in an isolated area. Two all-white, all-male grand juries declined to indict the six white men who admitted to authorities that they assaulted her. In a 2010 interview, Taylor told the Associated Press that she believed the men who attacked her were dead, but she still would have liked an apology from officials. The Alabama Legislature passed a resolution apologizing to her in 2011. Taylor died in her sleep in Abbeville, Alabama, three days before her 98th birthday, on December 28, 2017.


News and Entertainment

Peggy Cummins (92) Welsh-born stage and film actress who worked for just a few years in Hollywood but left behind an indelible performance as a lethal, beret-wearing robber in the noir classic Gun Crazy (1950). Cummins retired from acting in the early ‘60s. A child star in England, she was not yet 20 when brought to the US in 1945 by studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck to play the title role in an adaptation of one of the decade’s raciest novels, Forever Amber. The petite actress was passed over in favor of Linda Darnell, reportedly because she was too young. But Cummins was old enough for the low-budget Gun Crazy, a tale of sex and violence secretly cowritten by the legendary blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. She made just a handful of American movies, including Escape and The Late George Apley, before returning to England in 1950. She died of a stroke in London, England, 11 days after her 92nd birthday, on December 29, 2017.

Amanda Davis (62) veteran Atlanta TV news anchor whose achievements included launching a segment encouraging foster children adoptions and an in-depth series about her alcoholism. Davis had been a presence on Atlanta TV news for more than 25 years. Her numerous awards over the years included the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists Pioneer of the Year Award and 10 Southeast Regional Emmy Awards. She currently was morning news anchor at CBS affiliate WGCL-TV, known locally as CBS46. She died a day after suffering a stroke while waiting for a flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in Atlanta, Georgia on December 27, 2017.

Maura Jacobson (91) for 31 years Jacobson made crossword puzzles for New York magazine that were prized by aficionados for their pun-filled wit. Jacobson owed her career, in a way, to a traffic accident. She had dabbled in puzzle making, sending some to Margaret Farrar, crossword puzzle editor at the New York Times, but had let the hobby lapse. Then, in 1971, she was seriously injured in an auto accident; it kept her off her feet for a year. So she began putting more effort into the craft and by 1978 was making puzzles for a listings magazine called Cue. In 1980 New York bought Cue, and Jacobson and her puzzles were part of the package. In a 2011 article commemorating her retirement, the magazine said she had created more than 1,400 puzzles for New York. Jacobson died in White Plains, New York on December 25, 2017.

Rose Marie (94) actress who played wise-cracking Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Rose Marie was a child movie star of the ‘20s and ‘30s who endeared herself to TV fans on the classic ’60s sitcom that also featured Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, who died last January, and comedian Morey Amsterdam (died 1996). Rose Marie appeared in numerous movies as a child and starred in the Broadway musical Top Banana (1951). She was nominated for three Emmys and received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2001. She died in Los Angeles, California on December 28, 2017.

Heather Menzies-Urich (68) actress who played one of the singing Von Trapp children in the hit 1965 film, The Sound of Music. Menzies-Urich played Louisa von Trapp, the third-oldest of the seven Von Trapp children, in the film adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical that starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The movie captured five Oscars, including best picture. A Toronto native, Menzies-Urich's other film credits include Hawaii and Piranha. On TV she appeared as a fugitive on Logan's Run and had guest spots on Dragnet, Bonanza, Marcus Welby MD, and other series. Her husband, actor Robert Urich, died in 2002. After his death, Menzies-Urich established the Robert Urich Foundation to raise funds for cancer research. She died of brain cancer in Frankford, Ontario, Canada on December 24, 2017.

Joe Rutherford (69) longtime editorial page editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. Rutherford wrote editorials for the Daily Journal for decades, providing its institutional voice on many issues. The newspaper's advocacy for public education and an expanded highway network were notable during his tenure. He retired from the Tupelo-based newspaper in 2016 after 44 years. Rutherford died of diabetes in Tupelo, Mississippi on December 26, 2017.

Fran Schneidau (79) longtime WCBS radio reporter whose voice could be heard delivering Connecticut news for 39 years. Schneidau once was a stockbroker on Wall Street. She began her radio career at WICC-AM in Bridgeport before moving in 1978 to WCBS-AM, where she became Connecticut bureau chief. Schneidau had retired from WCBS Newsradio 880 last February. She died in Hartford, Connecticut on December 26, 2017.

Daniel Talbot (91) force in the independent film world who distributed art house movies and cofounded New York's influential Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. Two weeks ago it was reported that the theater's lease was up and it could close in January 2018 after operating for nearly 40 years. Daniel Talbot and his wife and business partner, Toby Talbot, started and ran the six-screen theater tucked into a basement in Manhattan's Upper West Side neighborhood. The couple would determine which films passed muster, flagging them for wider attention. Daniel Talbot died in New York City on December 29, 2017.


Politics and Military

Tom Baldini (74) newly elected mayor of Marquette, Michigan. Baldini was a high school government teacher in Marquette for nearly 20 years before becoming an aide to then-Gov. James Blanchard in 1984. In 1994 President Bill Clinton nominated him as US chairman of the International Joint Commission for Canada and the US managing the waterways shared by the two countries. Baldini was an icon in Michigan Democrat politics and ultimate champion for the Upper Peninsula. He was elected to the Marquette City Commission in 2014 and as mayor last month. He died in Marquette, Michigan a month after taking office and three days after suffering a stroke, on December 26, 2017.

Carmen Franco (91) only child of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who joined a military uprising in 1936 and ruled Spain from the end of Spain's Civil War in '39 until his death in ’75. His daughter married Spanish aristocrat Cristobal Martinez-Bordiu in 1950; they had seven children. In a recent interview with El Mundo newspaper, Carmen Franco revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer. She died in Madrid, Spain on December 29, 2017.

Marcus Raskin (83) cofounder of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank that became an abundant source of research on nuclear disarmament, the Vietnam War, economic inequality, civil rights, and national security. Raskin and Richard J. Barnet started the institute in 1963, devoted to maintaining its independence by refusing to accept government funding. Raskin died of heart failure in Washington, DC on December 24, 2017.

Ulrich Wegenerr (88) police commando who led the 1977 West German raid that rescued 90 people from a Lufthansa jetliner that four militants had hijacked and flown to Somalia. The hijacking was one of a series of attacks in 1977 linked to the anarchist Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang. The traumatic events, which became informally known as the German Autumn, culminated in the hijacking on October 13 of Lufthansa Flight 181, a Boeing 737 that had departed from Palma de Mallorca, Spain with 86 passengers and five crew members, destined for Frankfurt. Also on the plane were four armed militants, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—two of them Palestinian, the other two Lebanese. They commandeered the plane and forced its pilot to land in Rome for refueling, then to head for Larnaca, on the southern coast of Cyprus. They demanded the release of 11 Red Army Faction militants, along with two Palestinian compatriots held in Turkey, and a $15 million ransom. The West German government authorized Border Protection Group 9, the elite antiterrorist squad commanded by Wegener, then a lieutenant colonel, to storm the aircraft. Wegener died in Cologne, Germany on December 28, 2017.


Society and Religion

Yehoshua Hershkowitz (92) Brooklyn, New York founder more than 40 years ago of Tomche Shabbos, a kosher meals-on-wheels program, which has been imitated by Jewish communities around the world. Hershkowitz built an organization that today distributes meals to 600 families in the Borough Park area every week and provides meals on Jewish holidays. The concept and the name were rapidly imitated. Today there are unaffiliated Tomche Shabbos organizations that distribute meals to the needy in Los Angeles, Toronto, Washington, Phoenix, Miami, Antwerp, London, and other world cities, plus dozens in Israel. Hershkowitz died in Brooklyn, New York on December 25, 2017.

Lawrence E. Stager (74) American archaeologist who unearthed evidence that ancient Israelites sinned by worshiping a “golden calf,” just as the Bible said, and helped to redeem the reputation of Goliath and his fellow Philistines. Captivated while excavating an Israeli site on a postgraduate fellowship, Stager decided against a legal career to pursue biblical archaeology. In 1990 he immediately recognized a bronze figurine found in Canaanite ruins dating to the second millennium BC as a bull calf. The icon, found by Stager’s team as it cleared rubble at a ruined temple in Ashkelon, on the Mediterranean Sea south of Tel Aviv, was similar to the golden idols that God inveighed against in Old Testament accounts of the 40 days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. The stunning discovery squared with the earliest legends of Judaism and biblical accounts of Jerusalem’s rivalry with the calf-worshiping Hebrew king Jeroboam. Stager died of injuries from a fall, in Concord, Massachusetts on December 29, 2017.


Sports

Johnny Bower (93) Hall of Fame goaltender who helped to take the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cup championships in the ‘60s and became the oldest full-time goalie in National Hockey League history, playing until he was 45. Breaking into pro hockey when the NHL had only six teams, each generally carrying a single goaltender, Bower played for eight seasons in the minors before making his NHL debut with the Rangers at age 29. After one full pro season, he spent four more seasons in the minors before finally arriving in the NHL to stay with the Maple Leafs. Bower died of pneumonia in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, outside Toronto, on December 26, 2017.

Raymond Brown (81) former Ole Miss football star who played for two NFL championship teams in the ‘50s. A quarterback and defensive back at Ole Miss, Brown was voted Most Valuable Player of the 1958 Sugar Bowl. He played three seasons as a defensive back and punter for the Baltimore Colts, including their championship teams in 1958–59. He graduated from law school after his NFL career and was a law clerk for a US Supreme Court justice before practicing law in his native Mississippi. He died in Gautier, Mississippi on December 25, 2017.

Jerry Kindall (82) first man to win College World Series titles as both a player and a head coach. Kindall coached Arizona to national titles in 1976, ’80, and ‘86 after starring at shortstop on the University of Minnesota’s '56 championship team. He spent nine seasons in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs, the Cleveland Indians, and the Minnesota Twins. Kindall coached the Wildcats from 1973–96, finishing as the school’s career victory leader with an 860-579-7 record. He died in Tucson, Arizona three days after suffering a stroke, on December 24, 2017.

Jack Van Berg (81) Hall of Fame racehorse trainer who oversaw Alysheba to victories in the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Van Berg ranked fourth all-time among trainers in North America, with 6,523 victories from 41,164 starts. He had career purse earnings of $85,925,482. Van Berg trained in southern California for 41 years until moving to Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Arkansas after Hollywood Park closed in December 2013. He blamed the cities of Inglewood and Los Angeles and the state of California for the track's closure. Van Berg died of cancer in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 27, 2017.


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