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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 11, 2018

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Arvonne Fraser, Minnesota feminist activistMargaret Heckler, US congresswoman from MassachusettsMuthuvel Karunanidhi, Indian screenwriter turned politicianPaul Laxalt, former Nevada governor and US senatorH. F. Lenfest, businessman turned philanthropistJarrod Lyle, Australian golf championStan Mikita, hockey starSir V. S. Naipaul, Trinidad-born Nobel-winning novelistTakeshi Onaga, governor of OkinawaAlan Rabinowitz, leading big cat conservationistCharlotte Rae, actress on 'Facts of Life'Joel Robuchon, French chef with most Michelin starsAnya Krugovoy Silver, poet whose work was inspired by her illnessA. W. Richard Sipe, former priest who researched sex abuse in Catholic ChurchTomasz Stanko, Polish jazz trumpeter

Art and Literature

Sir V. S. Naipaul (85) Nobel laureate who documented the migrations of peoples, the unraveling of the British Empire, the ironies of exile, and the clash between belief and unbelief in more than a dozen novels and as many works of nonfiction. Naipaul was born of Indian ancestry in Trinidad, went to Oxford University on a scholarship, and lived the rest of his life in England, where he forged one of the most illustrious literary careers of the last 50 years. He was knighted in 1990. Compared in his lifetime to Conrad, Dickens, and Tolstoy, he was also a lightning rod for criticism, particularly by those who read his portrayals of third-world disarray as apologies for colonialism. Naipaul died in London, England, six days before his 86th birthday, on August 11, 2018.

Anya Krugovoy Silver (49) poet who, after receiving a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer in 2004, wrote lyrical verse that gave readers an account of her illness. Silver was pregnant and teaching English literature at Mercer University in Macon when she learned that she had inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive kind. She gave birth to her only child, Noah, then had a mastectomy and discovered the intensity with which cancer inspired her poetry. In often sensual poems, she wrote with candor about living under the threat of imminent death, her love for her son and her husband, and the parallel world of advanced cancer. Silver died in Macon, Georgia on August 6, 2018.

Business and Science

H. F. Lenfest (88) businessman turned philanthropist who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to arts, education, and journalism institutions in Philadelphia. Lenfest joined Triangle Publications, a media group, in 1965 after working at a New York law firm. When the company sold its cable TV assets, Lenfest purchased them with the help of two investors and expanded the assets into the 11th largest cable company in the country, He and his wife, Marguerite, made $1.2 billion after selling the company, Suburban Cable, to Comcast in 2000. They donated an estimated $1.1 billion. Lenfest had long been a supporter of public institutions that served the community, donating millions to entities such as Columbia University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Lenfest College Scholars program, and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of complications from chronic illness on August 5, 2018.

Alan Rabinowitz (64) childhood stutterer who became a leading big cat conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo, and, since 2006, for Panthera, the wild cat conservation organization that he cofounded. Rabinowitz established the world’s first jaguar preserve, in Belize, and a vast tiger preserve in Myanmar. His radio telemetry research on the Asiatic leopard, Asian leopard cats, and Asian civets at a wildlife sanctuary in Thailand helped to determine how much space each species needed to live and reproduce and led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. He had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2001. He died of lymphatic cancer, which had spread to his lungs, in New York City on August 5, 2018.

Joel Robuchon (73) master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen. Robuchon was named among the best craftsmen in France in 1976, crowned cook of the century in '90, chosen to be one of the cooks at the “dinner of the century,” and, for years holder of the most Michelin stars in the world (32). Robuchon was known for his constant innovation and even playfulness in the kitchen. He built an empire of gourmet restaurants across the world—from Paris to Tokyo, Las Vegas, and New York. He died of cancer in Geneva, Switzerland on August 6, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Charlotte Rae (92) actress who played a wise and patient housemother to a brood of teenage girls on the long-running sitcom The Facts of Life during a career that encompassed many other TV roles and stage and film appearances. Rae originated the character of Mrs. Garrett in 1978 during the first season of NBC’s comedy Diff’rent Strokes, then took Mrs. Garrett with her for the spinoff Facts, which premiered the next season. Set at a girls’ boarding school, that NBC series ran for nine seasons, but Rae left after its seventh year. The Facts role came to Rae after years of theater and TV performances. She earned an Emmy nomination for the part, and she was a two-time Tony nominee for her work on Broadway. Her last feature film credit was Ricki & the Flash with Meryl Streep in 2015. Rae was diagnosed in 2017 with bone cancer after beating pancreatic cancer. She died in Los Angeles, California on August 5, 2018.

Tomasz Stanko (76) Polish jazz trumpeter and composer. In recent years Stanko often played in jazz clubs in New York, where he had a Manhattan apartment, and recorded with a band called New York Quartet. His last studio album, Wislawa, was released in 2013. It was inspired by the poetry of Polish poet and Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska. Stanko’s early recordings in Poland, made in the ‘60s, were with pianist Krzysztof Komeda. Stanko was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. He died in Warsaw, Poland on August 5, 2018.

Politics and Military

Arvonne Fraser (92) leading voice on women’s issues in Minnesota, nationally, and abroad from the early days of second-wave feminism into the 21st century. In Minnesota, Fraser was a founder of the Center on Women, Gender & Public Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She ran the political campaigns of her husband, Donald M. Fraser, a former US representative and Minneapolis mayor, and was a political candidate herself, making an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 1986. Nationally she helped to found or worked with numerous women’s groups, and during the administration of President Jimmy Carter she was director of the Office of Women in Development, part of the US Agency for International Development. She also traveled the world as the country’s representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Fraser died in Hudson, Wisconsin on August 7, 2018.

Margaret Heckler (87) eight-term Republican congresswoman from Massachusetts who later was secretary of Health & Human Services under President Ronald Reagan and US ambassador to Ireland. Heckler was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 1966 after upsetting former Speaker Joseph Martin Jr., a 42-year congressman, in the Republican primary and Democrat Patrick Harrington Jr. in the general election. She was one of only 11 women in the House at first and served until 1983 after a loss to Democrat Barney Frank. Heckler was a champion of women’s and veterans' issues in the House. Besides supporting the Equal Rights Amendment, in 1974 she helped to push through the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which barred lenders from discriminating on the basis of gender or marital status. She died of cardiac arrest in Arlington, Virginia on August 6, 2018.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (94) Indian screenwriter who parlayed his vocation as a prolific writer of films about the downtrodden into a political career that challenged the upper caste’s hold on Indian politics. India’s longest-serving legislator, Karunanidhi was elected to the state of Tamil Nadu’s assembly 13 times, serving from 1957 until his death. He was also the state’s chief minister five times—for a total of 19 years—starting in 1969. Although his political career was concentrated in Tamil Nadu, Indian’s southernmost state, his influence was felt nationwide. He suffered multiple organ failure after being hospitalized in late July and died in Chennai, Italy on August 7, 2018.

Paul Laxalt (96) son of Basque immigrants who rose to political power as a Nevada governor (1967–71), US senator (1975–87), and close ally to President Ronald Reagan. The conservative Republican had a storied political career, including a brief run for president in 1987. As Nevada governor, Laxalt was credited with repairing damaged ties between state and federal governments over Nevada’s gambling industry. He also helped to launch the state’s community college system, first medical school, and Lake Tahoe preservation efforts. He died in McLean, Virginia, four days after his 96th birthday, on August 6, 2018.

Takeshi Onaga (67) Okinawa governor who led opposition to US military bases on the southern Japanese island. Onaga was elected in November 2014 on a pledge to scrap plans to relocate a US Marine Corps air station to a less densely populated part of the island and to close the air station instead. The Futenma relocation reflects centuries-old tensions between Okinawa and the Japanese mainland, which annexed the islands, formerly the independent kingdom of the Ryukus, in 1878. In the final days of World War II, Okinawa became Japan’s only home battleground and the island remained under US rule for 20 years longer than the rest of Japan. Onaga lost consciousness on August 7 and died the next day of pancreatic cancer in Urasoe, Okinawa on August 8, 2018.

Society and Religion

A. W. Richard Sipe (85) researcher, psychotherapist, and former priest who spent his life studying the roots of sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church, becoming one of the subject’s leading experts. Sipe’s research into celibacy and sexuality within the clergy helped to establish a foundation for those studying, investigating, and responding to the sexual abuse crisis of the 2000s. Along with describing how celibacy was lived, his work resulted in several striking estimates arrived at in the ‘80s. One was that fully 6 per cent of all priests were sexual abusers of children and minors. Another was that at any given time, only 50 per cent of priests were celibate—an estimate that the church said was overblown. Sipe died of multiple organ failure in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California on August 8, 2018.


Jarrod Lyle (36) Australian golfer who endeared himself to people around the world during a long struggle against cancer. Lyle, who won twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2008, was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia as a teenager in 1999 and suffered recurrences in 2012 and ’17. He gradually returned to golf and reduced his handicap to scratch before turning professional in 2004. He qualified for the Asian Tour in 2005 and started playing on the second tier of the US tour in ‘06. After another setback he made an emotional comeback from 20 months out of competitive golf during the 2013 Australian Masters before using a medical exemption to play on the US Professional Golfers Association Tour in ’15. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in December 2017 but recently decided not to continue with treatment after saying he’d “reached his limit.” Lyle’s sense of humor and courageous comebacks made him popular with fans and fellow golfers. He died near Melbourne, Australia a week after opting to forego further treatment, on August 8, 2018.

Stan Mikita (78) Czechoslovakian-born hockey forward who played with the Chicago Blackhawks for more than 20 years (1959–80). Mikita was the Blackhawks’ career leader for assists (926), points (1,467), and games played (1,394). He was the only National Hockey League player in history to win the Art Ross (scoring champion), Hart (Most Valuable Player), and Lady Byng (sportsmanship) trophies in the same season, in consecutive years (1967–68). He had been in poor health after being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia—a progressive disease that causes problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. He died in Chicago, Illinois on August 7, 2018.

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