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

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Stephen Hawking, renowned British physicistTom Benson, owner of New Orleans SaintsDr. T. Berry Brazelton, pediatricianEd Charles, poet of New York MetsSir Ken Dodd, British entertainerNokie Edwards, bassist-guitarist for VenturesKen Flach, '80s tennis championAugie Garrido, college baseball coachMichael Getler, journalist and ombudsmanRabbi Mordechai Hager, Hasidic leaderLefty Kreh, globe-trotting sport fishermanCraig Mack, Grammy-nominated rapperEmily Nasrallah, Lebanese author and feministLouise Slaughter, US congresswoman from New York stateDavid S. Wyman, scholar of US response to Holocaust

Art and Literature

Emily Nasrallah (87) Lebanese author and feminist whose writing touched on women’s determination, migration, and the terror of Lebanon’s 1975–90 Civil War. Nasrallah was the author of several novels and children’s books and was awarded regional and international prizes for her work. She began her career as a journalist and published her first book, Birds of September (1962), to critical acclaim. She died of cancer in Beirut, Lebanon on March 13, 2018.

Business and Science

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (99) one of the world's best-known pediatricians and child development experts whose work helped to explain what makes kids tick. A Texas native long affiliated with Harvard University, Brazelton was widely lauded for his knowledge of how infants and children develop. The pediatrician, TV personality, and writer was still spry into his 90s, having published his memoir in 2013, shortly before his 95th birthday, and remained active teaching, researching, and lecturing worldwide. He died of congestive heart failure in Barnstable, Massachusetts on March 13, 2018.

Stephen Hawking (76) British physicist who suffered for more than 50 years from ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative disease that destroys the nervous system. Diagnosed at age 21, Hawking defied the normally fatal illness, pursuing a brilliant career that stunned doctors and thrilled his fans. He was known for writing about the mysteries of space, time, and black holes. As slowly as a word per minute, he used the twitching of the muscle under his right eye to grind out his thoughts on a custom-built computer, painstakingly outlining his vision of time, the universe, and humanity’s place within it. What he produced was a masterwork of popular science, one that guided a generation of enthusiasts through the esoteric world of antiparticles, quarks, and quantum theory. His success in turn transformed him into a massively popular scientist, one as familiar to the wider world through his appearances on primetime TV shows as for his work on cosmology and black holes. He made cameo TV appearances on The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Big Bang Theory. He died in Cambridge, England on March 13, 2018.


David S. Wyman (89) leading scholar of the US response to the Holocaust whose book, The Abandonment of the Jews: America & the Holocaust 1941–45 (1984), was a best-selling critique of everyone from religious leaders to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Wyman was in graduate school when he began a quest to learn what was done on behalf of the millions of Jews rounded up and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. His book drew upon private and government records and contemporary media accounts. He found widespread indifference and hostility to the Jews in Europe, even as their systematic extermination was conclusively documented. He faulted religious organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish; mainstream newspapers and movies; and the anti-Jewish feelings of the general public. The federal government was slow to act, enforcing strict immigration quotas and refusing to bomb the concentration camps, waiting until well after the Holocaust had begun to establish a War Refugee Board, then forcing the agency to rely mostly on private funding. The blame rose right to the top, with Roosevelt, who Wyman alleged was more concerned about angering anti-Semites than about helping the Jews. Wyman died in Amherst, Massachusetts, eight days after his 89th birthday, on March 14, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Sir Ken Dodd (90) star of a vanishing age of British comedy whose fame at its peak rivaled that of the Beatles. Instantly recognizable by his unruly mop of hair and snaggle-toothed grin, Dodd came up through the ranks of Britain’s variety circuit, where performers kept eager crowds entertained with songs, a bit of dance, and lots of jokes. He was famous for his rapid-fire one-liners, surreal flights of fancy, use of fanciful words like “tattyfilarious,” and marathon stand-up shows. Even in his 80s, Dodd’s shows often ran three to four hours. In the ‘60s he held the Guinness world record for the longest joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in 3.5 hours. Knighted just last year, he died in Liverpool, England on March 11, 2018.

Nokie Edwards (82) longtime bassist-guitarist for the “surf rock” pioneers the Ventures, an instrumental group founded in Seattle in the late ‘50s by guitarists Bob Bogle and Don Wilson. Edwards joined soon after. They helped to create the twangy surf sound that influenced the Beach Boys, among others. Edwards played bass on the Ventures’ 1960 hit “Walk, Don’t Run” and had switched to guitar when they recorded what became the theme for the TV show Hawaii Five-O. The Ventures sold millions of records and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Edwards died in Yuma, Arizona of a recurring infection three months after surgery for a broken hip, on March 12, 2018.

Michael Getler (82) reporter and editor who was later the first ombudsman appointed by an American TV network, reprising at PBS a role he had played at the Washington Post. As an independent internal critic, Getler brought more than 50 years’ experience as a reporter and an editor in high-ranking positions at the Post and the International Herald Tribune in Paris. At the Post he was the 13th ombudsman. At PBS from 2005–17, he was the first such monitor, hired after the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which directs federal money to public TV and radio, accused some stations of exhibiting a liberal bias and slanting their coverage of the Middle East against Israel. Getler died of bile duct cancer in Washington, DC on March 15, 2018.

Craig Mack (47) former rapper best known for the platinum 1994 hit “Flava in Ya Ear.” Mack helped to launch Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment with his first album, Project: Funk da World. It was anchored by “Flava in Ya Ear,” which was nominated for a Grammy. The remix also included LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and then-up-and-coming Biggie Smalls. Mack's follow-up single, “Get Down,” went gold. After Mack left Diddy, he released a second album, Operation: Get Down, in 1997 but left the music industry and devoted his life to religion. He died in Walterboro, South Carolina on March 12, 2018.

Politics and Military

Louise Slaughter (88) veteran US congresswoman (D-NY), a Kentucky blacksmith’s daughter who represented New York state's 25th Congressional District, which includes the city of Rochester. She once chaired one of Congress’s most important committees. Slaughter was the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee (2007–10) and was her party’s top member on the panel. She was serving her 16th term in the House, and her 31 years in the chamber made her its third longest-serving woman. She died in Washington, DC a week after falling at her home and sustaining a concussion, on March 16, 2018.

Society and Religion

Rabbi Mordechai Hager (95) reserved but strong-willed leader of one of the nation’s largest Hasidic sects, who settled many of his followers in a relatively bucolic upstate enclave to escape New York's temptations and decadence. Hager lived in the Hasidic village he founded, Kaser, in Rockland County, New York. A bearded figure known affectionately by his followers as Reb Mottele, the rabbi was leader of the American branch of the Viznitz, believed to number roughly 5,000 families, or 30,000 people. There is also a second branch based in Israel, although Viznitz Hasidim are scattered in many countries. Rabbi Hager died in New York City of liver failure resulting from an undetermined infection, on March 16, 2018.


Tom Benson (90) auto dealer and longtime owner of the New Orleans Saints who brought the franchise its only winning seasons. Benson also owned the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Pelicans since 2012 but made his mark in pro sports with the Saints. He bought the Saints in 1985 when it appeared the club would be sold to out-of-state interests and perhaps moved out of Louisiana. He paid $70 million for the team, which is now worth close to $2 billion. Benson had been hospitalized since February 16 and died in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 15, 2018.

Ed Charles (84) third baseman known as “The Glider” who helped to lead the Miracle Mets to the 1969 World Series title with his veteran guidance and poetry. Charles was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1952 and spent nearly 10 years in the minor leagues before he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics after the ‘61 season. He made his big league debut with the As that April at age 29 but was best known for his time with the Mets, who acquired him on May 10, 1967 for outfielder Larry Elliot and $50,000. Charles hit just .207 with three homers and 18 runs batted in, in 169 at-bats in 1969, which turned out to be his final season, but he inspired his teammates with his poetry and came up with the occasional big hit. He singled off Baltimore’s Dave McNally in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the World Series and scored the go-ahead run on Al Weis’s sacrifice fly as the Mets won 2-1 for a 2-0 Series lead en route to New York's first title. He died in New York City on March 15, 2018.

Ken Flach (54) tennis champion who won four Grand Slam titles in men's doubles and two in mixed doubles. Flach reached No. 1 in the men's doubles rankings and paired with Robert Seguso to form one of the world's top teams in the ‘80s. They won 28 titles together, including major championships at the US Open in 1985 and Wimbledon in ‘87–88. They twice were runners-up at the US Open. Flach and Seguso also collected a gold medal for the US at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Flach retired as a professional tennis player in 1996 and became a coach, leading Vanderbilt to the NCAA finals in 2003. He died of pneumonia in California on March 12, 2018.

Augie Garrido (79) wherever Garrido went in his 60 years in college baseball, wins and championships always followed. His ability to motivate and innovate produced five College World Series titles with two schools and the most wins of any coach in college baseball history. He won three national championships with Cal State Fullerton in 1979, ’84, and ’95. He also won titles at Texas in 2002 and ’05. Garrido stepped away from coaching in 2016. His 1,975 career wins date to 1969. He also coached at San Francisco State, Cal Poly, and Illinois. He won 25 conference championships and national coach of the year honors six times. He was the first coach to win national championships with different schools. His teams played in the College World Series 15 times. Garrido, who had been hospitalized in Newport Beach, California after a stroke on March 11, died four days later, on March 15, 2018.

Lefty Kreh (93) one of the preeminent sport fishermen of his time. Kreh reeled in 126 species of fish and new generations of fishing enthusiasts. A member of three fishing halls of fame, he cast his line on every populated continent, fishing alongside presidents, Ernest Hemingway, Fidel Castro, and greats of other sports. Besides writing 32 books and columns for the Miami Herald and the Baltimore Sun, he designed a fly celebrated on a US Postal Service stamp. A Maryland fishing trail bears his name, as does a strain of anthrax; while working at Fort Detrick in the '60s, Kreh was the sole survivor of accidental exposure to the virus. He died in his sleep of congestive heart failure in Cockeysville, Maryland on March 14, 2018.

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