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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, February 17, 2018

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Marty Allen, half of comedy team Allen & RossiVic Damone, postwar croonerAnthony Acevedo, US Holocaust survivorBarbara Alston, first lead singer of The CrystalsJim Bridwell, center, adventurer and mountain climberRalph ('Skippy') Byrnes, one of eight Bonded Vault heist gunmenLeo Cahill, former coach of Toronto ArgonautsDon Carter, cofounder of Dallas MavericksJaime Crowley, Rhode Island educator and school administratorPrince Henrik of DenmarkJon Fox, two-term US congressman from PennsylvaniaTito Francona, former player and father of Cleveland Indians manager Terry FranconaJohn Dan Gielen, founder of Louisiana convenience store chainsBilly Henderson, Georgia high school football coachJack Hynes, Boston TV news anchorAsma Jahangir, Pakistani lawyer and human rights activistBoyd Jarvis, recording producer and musicianBarbara Lekberg, sculptor in metalRuud Lubbers, Netherlands' longest-serving prime ministerMaurice Cecil Mackey Jr., college presidentUrsula Marvin, Smithsonian geologistJan Maxwell, Broadway actressTerry Mobley, University of Kentucky basketball player and administratorDr. Arthur J. Moss, cardiac researcherJonathan Narcisse, Iowa newspaper editor and publisherTom Rapp, founder of Pearls Before Swine bandLydia Ratcliff, ghostwriter turned farmerArthur J. ('Mr. Okra') Robinson, New Orleans fruit-and-vegetable vendorSir Nicholas Shehadie, rugby player and sports administratorDaryle Singletary, country music singerNini Theilade, ballerina who performed in film and with Ballet RusseMorgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwean opposition leaderNitin Vadukul, photographer of hip-hop artistsArt van Elslander, Michigan businessman and philanthropistQazi Wajid, Pakistani actor and entertainer

Art and Literature

Barbara Lekberg (92) sculptor who infused her welded-metal works with motion and grace in a career that spanned more than 60 years. Lekberg often wielded a blowtorch, welding steel, bronze, and other materials into works featuring dancers, trees, contemplative figures, and more. Moving to New York from the Midwest in the late '40s, she began studying and working at the Clay Club, soon to become the Sculpture Center, making a strong impression in shows there and elsewhere. She died of Alzheimer's disease in the Bronx, New York on February 14, 2018.

Nitin Vadukul (52) photographer of hip-hop artists who gave Eminem a chain saw, captured LL Cool J morphing into a superhero, and portrayed Missy Elliott as Neo, protagonist of the movie The Matrix. Vadukul's photography came to prominence in the late '90s, just as hip-hop was gaining a mainstream presence, and his work reflected that evolution. He died in New York City of colorectal cancer that had spread to the liver, on February 17, 2018.

Business and Science

John Dan Gielen (79) built the Shop Rite and Tobacco Plus stores into a Louisiana empire. Gielen founded Shop Rite in 1966 and Tobacco Plus in '93. He also owned Church Point Wholesale, which supplies products to convenience stores in six states. The companies employ about 1,000 workers. Gielen died of Parkinson's disease in Crowley, Louisiana on February 14, 2018.

Ursula Marvin (96) geologist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when she and her colleagues were asked to examine an extraterrestrial object: a 10-pound chunk of Sputnik IV, a Soviet satellite that had crashed, superheated at 1,535 degrees Celsius, onto a street in Manitowoc, Wisconsin before dawn on September 5, 1962. Marvin later hunted for meteorites in Antarctica and analyzed moon rocks from Apollo missions. She died in Concord, Massachusetts on February 12, 2018.

Dr. Arthur J. Moss (86) researcher credited with saving countless patients from fatal cardiac disorders, including long QT syndrome, a rare genetic malfunction in the heart's electrical system that can kill suddenly. Moss died of cancer in Brighton, New York, a suburb of Rochester, on February 14, 2018.

Lydia Ratcliff (84) longtime ghostwriter for personal finance columnist Sylvia Porter (died 1991) until 1965, when she surprised everyone and left the world of Manhattan publishing for a small farm in Vermont. Ratcliff had no intention of farming; instead she worked on a book with Porter for the next few years. But along the way she accumulated goats, pigs, sheep, and a cow. Before long she had created a working farm and later marketed her meats to some of the top restaurants in New York. She delivered whole carcasses herself from Vermont slaughterhouses directly to chefs at Daniel, Jean Georges, the 21 Club, Chanterelle, and Gramercy Tavern, among others. Ratcliff was an early practitioner of sustainable farming and what became the farm-to-table movement. She died of emphysema on February 13, 2018.

Arthur J. ('Mr. Okra') Robinson (74) fruit and vegetable huxter who rolled each day through the streets of New Orleans in a loudly painted pickup truck/fruit stand singing his sales pitch like the roving food vendors once common in the city. Over tinny loudspeakers you would hear that he had cantaloupe, greens, squash, and “the mango,” and soon the truck would come into view. Children, regular customers, and selfie-snapping tourists would flock to him—the customers to buy watermelon, or maybe a few ears of corn. Robinson would hand over the produce in a plastic bag, snap the cash proceeds into a binder clip, and be on his way. He was a direct heir to a street-peddling tradition in New Orleans. Well before delivery apps disrupted the grocery business, people sat on their front stoops and bought from the Waffle Man, the Peanut Man, the Banana Man, the Hot Stuffed Crab Lady, or the Ha Ha Man, an ice cream vendor so called for his singsong jingle. Robinson died of a heart attack in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 15, 2018.

Art van Elslander (87) founder of Art Van Furniture and a major Detroit-area philanthropist credited with saving the city's annual Thanksgiving parade. Van Elslander, known as Art Van, opened his first store in 1959 in East Detroit, now called Eastpointe. There are more than 100 stores in the Midwest, with more than half of them in Michigan. The business was sold in 2017 to Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston private equity firm. In December 2017, Van Elslander said he was donating $20 million to expand the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit, named for a Roman Catholic priest on a path to sainthood. A cancer center at St. John Hospital is named for Van Elslander, who also supported many other charities. He died of cancer in Warren, Michigan on February 12, 2018.


Jaime Crowley (48) assistant principal at Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island. Crowley was an award-winning educator and school administrator for many years. In 2015 he was named statewide Middle School Principal of the Year by the Rhode Island Association of School Principals. He was also former principal at Thompson Middle School and had worked as assistant principal and director of guidance at Mount Hope High School in Bristol, Rhode Island. Crowley died of blood cancer in Boston, Massachusetts on February 16, 2018.

Maurice Cecil Mackey Jr. (89) Michigan State University's 16th president (1979-85). Mackey previously led the University of South Florida and Texas Tech University. Michigan State faced a nearly $30-million budget shortfall in the early '80s, forcing Mackey to make such budget cuts as downsizing the nursing college. He died in south Florida on February 15, 2018.


Ralph ('Skippy') Byrnes (72) man who served prison time for his role in the infamous Bonded Vault heist in Rhode Island in 1975. Byrnes was one of eight gunmen who emptied the secret vault inside the Hudson Fur Storage building in Providence. The men stole millions of dollars in cash, jewelry, and silver bars from safe deposit boxes that investigators previously said were used by mobsters and their associates. Byrnes was originally sentenced to life in prison, but his sentence was later reduced to 35 years. He was released after serving 11 years and remained on parole until his sentence ended in 2010. He died of Alzheimer's dementia in Providence, Rhode Island on February 13, 2018.

Asma Jahangir (66) one of Pakistan's most prominent right activists and lawyers. Jahangir had a prominent career both as a lawyer and a rights activist. She was chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and was widely respected for her outspoken criticism of the country's militant and extreme Islamist groups. She also was president of the Supreme Court's Bar Association and was a United Nations rapporteur on human rights and extrajudicial killings. A fierce defender of democracy, Jahangir often criticized Pakistan's military and intelligence. She defended minority Christians charged with blasphemy, an offense that under Pakistan's controversial law carries the death penalty. She was repeatedly threatened by the country's militant religious right whom she criticized loudly and often. Jahangir suffered a heart attack late on February 10 and was rushed to hospital, where she died early the next day, in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan on February 11, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Marty Allen (95) baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows, and talk shows for decades. Known for his greeting and catch-phrase “hello dere,” Allen was a living link late in life to a generation of long-dead superstars with whom he shared a stage, including Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, and Elvis Presley. He first found fame as half of the duo Allen & Rossi with partner Steve Rossi, who died in 2014. Allen & Rossi appeared 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show, including episodes where the Beatles performed and most of America watched. Allen died of pneumonia in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 12, 2018.

Barbara Alston (74) who sang “Da Doo Ron Ron” and contributed lead vocals for several hit songs by the Crystals, one of the most popular “girl groups” of the early '60s. Alston was not yet 18 when she became a founding member of the Crystals, a quintet of Brooklyn high schoolers organized in 1961 by her uncle, Benny Wells. She was the band's first lead vocalist, backed by singers Dolores (“Dee Dee”) Kenniebrew, Mary Thomas, Patricia Wright, and Myrna Giraud. Alston was pushed to the fore by producer Phil Spector, who was searching for up-and-coming acts for his newly formed label, Philles Records, and overheard a Crystals rehearsal at the Brill Building, a music industry hub in Manhattan. For the group's earliest pop hits, he surrounded Alston's alto voice with strings in songs such as “There's No Other Like My Baby,” which peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard charts in 1962, and “Uptown,” a Latin-tinged single about the “sweet” charms of urban tenements. Alston appeared in the original 1966 Broadway production of Cabaret as one of the Kit Kat Girls and later returned to the Crystals for a short-lived reunion. She died of influenza in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 16, 2018.

Vic Damone (89) postwar lounge singer with a mellow baritone who once earned praise from Frank Sinatra as having “the best pipes in the business.” Easy-listening romantic ballads brought Damone million-selling records and sustained a 50-year career in recordings, movies, and nightclub, concert, and TV appearances. After he won a tie on the radio show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Hunt, his career began climbing. His hit singles included “Again,” '“You're Breaking My Heart,” '“My Heart Cries for You,” '“On the Street Where You Live,” and, in 1957, the title song from the Cary Grant film An Affair to Remember. Damone's style as a lounge singer remained constant through the years: straightforward, he concentrated on melody and lyrics without resorting to vocal gimmicks. Like many young singers of his era, his idol was Sinatra. Damone died of a respiratory illness in Miami Beach, Florida on February 11, 2018.

Jack Hynes (88) longtime TV news reporter and anchor in Boston and son of a Boston mayor. Known as the dean of Boston TV news, Hynes eschewed the glamour and fame of the job and was known for his no-nonsense “tell-it-like-it-is” style and for setting the standard for accuracy and credibility. He also preferred substance over style, rejecting newscast humor and banter, and once even turning down an award as the nation's most telegenic anchorman. He worked at WCVB-TV for 26 years and briefly for WBZ-TV before spending another 20 years at WLVI-TV, and retired in 2006. Hynes was a Boston native and son of former Mayor John B. Hynes. He died of heart failure in Hingham, Massachusetts on February 13, 2018.

Boyd Jarvis (59) producer and musician whose synthesizer bass lines became an important facet of New York dance music in the '80s and whose popular song “The Music Got Me” anticipated what came to be called house music. The early '80s was a time of explosive creativity for club music, especially in New York, where disk jockeys played endless sets at nightclubs like Zanzibar and Paradise Garage. Jarvis was already playing a keyboard synthesizer in clubs when he met deejay Timmy Regisford at the Garage. They soon began collaborating and recorded their music on a reel-to-reel tape machine, playing it in live sets in clubs and on New York radio station WBLS-FM, a hotbed of early dance music. Their raw, minimalist mixes became popular with the club kids in New York and soon spread to other cities. Jarvis died of cancer in East Orange, New Jersey on February 17, 2018.

Jan Maxwell (61) Broadway star and five-time Tony Award nominee. Maxwell made her Broadway debut as an understudy in the 1989 production of the musical City of Angels. She received five Tony Award nominations over the course of her career, the first in 2005 for the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She also was nominated for her work in Coram Boy (2007), Lend Me a Tenor and The Royal Family (both 2010), and a revival of Follies (2012). Maxwell also appeared on the small screen in episodes of shows including Law & Order, All My Children, Gossip Girl, and The Good Wife. She died of cancer in New York City on February 11, 2018.

Jonathan Narcisse (54) Iowa newspaper editor and publisher who ran twice for governor and fought for social justice. Narcisse was a member of the Des Moines school board from 2007 through '09 and ran for governor in '10 and '14 as the Iowa Party candidate. He was editor-in-chief of the Iowa Bystander, a Des Moines-based newspaper founded in 1894, and publisher of two statewide Latino publications. He also ran The Communicator, a central Iowa weekly that he helped to reorganize into a publication about good news in Iowa. Narcisse died of a heart attack in Des Moines, Iowa on February 17, 2018.

Tom Rapp (70) founder of Pearls Before Swine, an eclectic band much loved by aficionados of underground music in the '60s and '70s. Rapp then became a civil rights lawyer, only to take an encore after being out of music for 20 years. The band's first album was One Nation Underground, released in 1967, which became a favorite on college and underground radio. A second album, Balaklava, came out in 1968, and others followed. Rapp was the only constant in an ever-changing band lineup, writing the songs, singing, and playing assorted instruments. The group then switched to the Reprise label, and Rapp eventually went solo, on albums like Sunforest (1973). But then he changed course radically, leaving music, enrolling in college, and in the early '80s earning a degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He returned to performing in 1997. In 1999 he released a new solo album, A Journal of the Plague Year. He died of cancer in Melbourne, Florida on February 11, 2018.

Daryle Singletary (46) country music singer. Born in Cairo, Georgia, Singletary got started in music as a child singing gospel songs with his brother and cousins. He moved to Nashville in 1990, where he played in local nightclubs before being signed by Evergreen Records in '92. Thanks to a boost from members of Randy Travis's band, Singletary signed with Irving Azoff's Warner-distributed Giant label, which released his Travis-coproduced debut album in 1995. The album spawned the country hits “I Let Her Lie,” “Too Much Fun,” and “I'm Living Up to Her Low Expectations.” At a time when country was becoming increasingly glossy, Singletary took pride in his traditional country sound. He died in Nashville, Tennessee on February 12, 2018.

Nini Theilade (102) Indonesian-born ballerina who won wide acclaim for her dancing in the fabled 1935 film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, then performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during its tour of the US as World War II was beginning. Theilade was performing solo recitals as young as 14. Theater and film director Max Reinhardt put her in the version of A Midsummer Night's Dream that he staged in England and at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, then in the film that he and William Dieterle directed. Theilade was lead fairy among Titania's attendants. The film had a somewhat improbable cast that included Mickey Rooney as Puck, James Cagney as Bottom, Dick Powell as Lysander, and, in her first film, Olivia de Havilland as Hermia. Critics differed on whether it succeeded, but virtually everyone agreed that the dancing was a high point, especially Theilade's work. She was also a choreographer, creating several works for the Royal Danish Ballet in the second half of the '30s. She died in Svendborg, Denmark on February 13, 2018.

Qazi Wajid (87) one of Pakistan's veteran TV actors and radio entertainers. Wajid started his carrier as a radio drama artist and remained attached to the “sound box” until TV was introduced in Pakistan in 1964. He won a presidential medal for his achievement in the field of radio and TV dramas in 1988. In TV dramas, Wajid performed a wide variety of characters, both comic and dramatic. His colleagues referred to him as the “academy.” He was hospitalized in the southern port city of Karachi, Pakistan on February 10 for chest pain and died the next day, on February 11, 2018.

Politics and Military

Anthony Acevedo (93) as a 20-year-old US Army medic during World War II, Acevedo had been captured during the Battle of the Bulge when a Red Cross care package arrived in March 1945 at the Nazi slave labor camp where he was imprisoned. It contained a diary and a fountain pen. Acevedo recorded a grim roster of prisoner deaths (by dysentery, heart attack, jaundice, influenza, and starvation); the cruelty of the guards; and rumors of American troops closing in on the Berga camp, a part of the Buchenwald complex. It was a rare accounting of Nazi atrocities by an American prisoner of war. Acevedo was liberated later that month but suffered for decades from night terrors and post-traumatic stress syndrome. He appeared to be the first Mexican-American registered in the database of survivors and victims at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, to which he donated the diary in 2010. He died of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Loma Linda, California on February 11, 2018.

Jon Fox (70) former two-term US congressman (R-Pa.) who also served in local and state offices for more than 20 years. Elected commissioner in the township near Philadelphia in 1980, Fox won a state House seat in '84 and served until '92. He then served in Congress from 1995-99. He died of brain cancer in Abington Township, Pennsylvania on February 11, 2018.

Ruud Lubbers (78) Netherlands' longest-serving prime minister who led his country through economic turmoil to prosperity and helped to shape the foundations of the European Union. Lubbers, who led the Dutch government from 1982-94, dragged the Netherlands through tough economic times. His conservative economic policies were in step with his counterparts in Washington and London during the '80s, US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Lubbers trimmed back the Dutch welfare state, persuaded powerful labor unions to rein in their demands, and ushered in years of growth. He died in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on February 14, 2018.

Morgan Tsvangirai (65) Zimbabwean opposition leader. Tsvangirai for years was longtime ruler Robert Mugabe's most potent challenger and even became prime minister in an uncomfortable coalition government for a few years. Mugabe, 93 and in power for 37 years, resigned in November 2017 after pressure from the military and ruling party. In January 2018, ailing Tsvangirai suggested that he would be stepping down. He had been battling colon cancer for two years. He died in Johannesburg, Zimbabwe, ending a long campaign to lead his country that brought him jailings, beatings, and accusations of treason, on February 14, 2018.

Society and Religion

Prince Henrik of Denmark (83) French-born husband of Danish monarch Queen Margrethe who publicly vented his frustration at not being the social equal of his wife or their son in line to become Denmark's king. The Danish royal family has no political authority but is one of the world's oldest kingdoms and prides itself on stability. But Henrik caused a scandal in August 2017 by announcing that when he died he didn't want to be buried next to Margrethe in the cathedral where the remains of Danish royals have gone for centuries. The queen already had a specially designed sarcophagus waiting for the couple. The palace said it would respect Henrik's wish to be cremated, with half his ashes spread over Danish seas and the other half buried in the royal family's private garden at the Fredensborg Palace, north of Copenhagen, where he died in his sleep on February 13, 2018.


Jim Bridwell (73) adventurer and mountain climber who lived his life vertically on some of the toughest peaks in Yosemite National Park. Bridwell was idolized by some and labeled reckless by others, but no one disputed his sheer skill on a rock face. He made some 100 first ascents in the California park and on peaks in Alaska and the Andes. In 1975 Bridwell, John Long, and Billy Westbay became the first climbers to ascend a route called The Nose on Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan in a single day. A previous climbing team had needed a week. A photograph of the trio afterward, with Bridwell shirtless in a psychedelic vest and smoking a cigarette, became famous. He also helped to establish the first formal Yosemite search-and-rescue team, pioneered rescue techniques, and invented climbing gear. Bridwell suffered liver and kidney failure from hepatitis C that he may have contracted in the '80s when he got a tattoo from a headhunting tribe in Borneo. He died in Palm Springs, California on February 16, 2018.

Leo Cahill (89) US-born “Leo the Lip” was Toronto's coach from 1967–72 and from '77-78 and general manager from '86-88. Under Cahill's guidance, Toronto lost in the Grey Cup in 1971 and '87. He wrote a book titled Goodbye Argos (1973). Cahill played at the University of Illinois, appearing in the 1947 Rose Bowl, and served in Korea in the US Army. He entered coaching at his alma mater and had stops at Lewis, South Carolina, and Toledo before breaking into the Canadian Football League in 1960 as a Montreal assistant. After his first coaching stint with the Argonauts, Cahill returned to football in 1974 as general manager of the World Football League's Toronto Northmen. But the Canadian government said it would pass legislation banning the league from taking root in Canada, so the Northmen moved to Memphis, Tennessee and became known as the Southmen. The franchise had a league-best 17-3 record. The WFL ceased operations before the end of the 1975 campaign. Cahill died in Atlanta, Georgia on February 16, 2018.

Don Carter (84) owner who was instrumental in bringing the NBA to Dallas with the expansion Mavericks in 1980. Carter cofounded the franchise with Norm Sonju, the club's first president. Carter sold majority interest to Ross Perot Jr. in 1996 but kept a minority stake. The Mavericks were a model franchise in the early days, quickly becoming a contender and reaching the Western Conference finals in 1988 before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. When Dallas won the franchise's only championship in 2011, owner Mark Cuban invited Carter to celebrate with the team on the court in Miami. Commissioner David Stern handed the trophy to Carter, who was wearing his trademark white cowboy hat that was part of the team's early logo. He died in Dallas, Texas on February 14, 2018.

Tito Francona (84) former major leaguer and father of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona. The elder Francona played in the majors for 15 seasons, six with the Indians. He batted .363 and finished fifth in American League Most Valuable Player voting in 1959, his first season with the Indians. He led the AL in doubles in 1960, and in '61 he was an AL All-Star and led the league in singles. Francona made his debut in 1956 with the Baltimore Orioles. He retired as a player after the 1970 season with Milwaukee. A left-handed-hitting outfielder and first baseman, Francona had a career batting average of .272, with 125 home runs and 656 runs batted in. He died unexpectedly in New Brighton, Pennsylvania on February 13, 2018.

Billy Henderson (89) two-sport athlete at the University of Georgia before a long high school football coaching career that included three state championships at Athens' Clarke Central High School. Henderson's overall record of 285-107-16 included 222 wins at Clarke Central. He coached at Macon's Willingham High School and Mount DeSales from 1958-73 before his return to Athens to coach 23 seasons at Athens High School and Clarke Central, where he won state titles in 1977, '79, and '85. Henderson was a three-time Most Valuable Player in baseball at Georgia, where he played on the Bulldogs' 1946 and '48 Southeastern Conference championship football teams. He played for two years in the Chicago Cubs organization before beginning his coaching career. He died in Athens, Georgia on February 14, 2018.

Terry Mobley (74) made one of Kentucky men's basketball's biggest baskets before serving the school in numerous leadership roles for over 50 years. Mobley was a three-year starter under legendary coach Adolph Rupp from 1962-65 and gained national fame for his 15-foot shot in the final seconds that lifted the No. 2 Wildcats past top-ranked Duke 81-79 on December 31, 1963 in New Orleans. Mobley worked for IBM after graduation before returning to join Kentucky's development office and eventually led a $1 billion capital campaign. His other administrative roles at Kentucky included working as a trustee and interim athletic director. He died in Lexington, Kentucky on February 12, 2018.

Sir Nicholas Shehadie (92) former Wallabies captain who was also a leading sports administrator and one of the architects of the first Rugby World Cup. Shehadie was the first man to play 100 games for the Wallabies during an international career stretching from 1946-58. He captained Australia in four of his 30 tests and played 114 matches in the Wallabies jersey. Later he was chairman of the New South Wales Rugby Union and was president of the Australian Rugby Union between 1980-87. In the latter capacity he played a major role in planning the first World Cup that took place in New Zealand and Australia in 1987. A former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Shehadie used his diplomatic and lobbying skills at the International Rugby Board to overcome opposition to the World Cup concept from some northern hemisphere nations. The Cup has become rugby's showcase event and one of the top 10 sports events in the world in terms of revenue and audience. Shehadie died in Sydney, Australia on February 11, 2018.

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