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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 29, 2018

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Sister Wendy Beckett, art historian and criticFrank Blaichman, Jewish partisan fighter in WWII PolandFaith Hope Consolo, NYC retail real estate brokerJohn C. Culver, former Democrat congressman and senator from IowaBrian Garfield, novelist best known for 'Death Wish'Roy J. Glauber, Nobel-winning physicistJudith Rich Harris, child psychologistRingo lam, Hong Kong film directorHoney Lantree, '60s female rock drummer with the SheratonsGeorges Loinger, French teacher who saved hundreds of Jewish children from HolocaustChristine, Phyllis, and Dorothy McGuire of '50s singing McGuire SistersRosenda Monteros, Mexican actress known for 'The Magnificent Seven' with Yul BrynnerSono Osato, Japanese-American ballet dancerRichard Overton, America's oldest WWII veteranAmos Oz, Israeli authorAldo Parisot, classical cellistBre Payton, TV journalist and commentatorLiza Redfield, first woman to be full-time conductor of Broadway orchestraLawrence G. Roberts, designer of Arpanet, precursor to InternetNancy Grace Roman, first female executive at NASACarlos Sánchez, Colombian actor who played Juan Valdez in coffee commercialsSigi Schmid, winningest Major League Soccer coachShehu Shagari, second president of NigeriaMorton Sobell, Cold War spy, with Julius and Ethel RosenbergElias M. Stein, Princeton mathematicianBobbi Swan, expert on military surveillance dronesRosalyn Terborg-Penn, historian who studied role of black women in US suffrage movementWilliam C. Thompson, Brooklyn legislator and judgeWarren Wells, former wide receiver with Oakland RaidersDame June Whitfield, British comedic actress

Art and Literature

Sister Wendy Beckett (88) South African-born art historian and critic who rose to prominence on British and American TV late in life. Beckett was a sister of the Catholic Church who became prominent in the ‘90s presenting BBC shows about art history. Her work included a series of well-received documentaries like Sister Wendy’s Odyssey and Sister Wendy’s Grand Tour that were later shown on PBS in the US. The BBC said it commissioned Beckett in 1991 to host a TV documentary on the National Gallery in London. She stood in front of the paintings dressed in a black nun’s habit and discussed the paintings without a script or teleprompter. The Carmelite Monastery of Quidenham, England said she died at the monastery on December 26, 2018.

Brian Garfield (79) Death Wish novelist whose murderous classic about a right-wing vigilante launched a film franchise starring Charles Bronson. Garfield wrote dozens of books, in a variety of genres, from thrillers to war stories, and his worldwide sales topped 20 million copies. Many of his works were adapted into feature films and TV movies, including Hopscotch, which he helped to produce and write; Wild Times; and the acclaimed The Stepfather, which starred Terry O’Quinn as a serial killer. Garfield’s awards included an Edgar in 1976 for Hopscotch for the year’s best crime novel. He was best known for Death Wish (1972), the story of a liberal New Yorker who becomes a right-wing vigilante after his family is viciously assaulted. Garfield died of Parkinson's disease in Pasadena, California on December 29, 2018.

Amos Oz (79) Israeli author, one of that country’s most widely acclaimed writers and a preeminent voice in its peace movement. Oz was known around the world for his dozens of novels, essays, and prose about life in Israel, including a well-received memoir, A Tale of Love & Darkness. He won some of the literary world’s most prestigious honors, including the Goethe Prize and the French Knight’s Cross of the Legion D’Honneur, received honorary doctorates, and was a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature. He died of cancer in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 28, 2018.

Business and Science

Faith Hope Consolo (73) as chairwoman of Douglas Elliman’s retail group, Consolo was one of New York's most prolific retail real estate brokers. A mainstay in the world of New York real estate, she was responsible for luring numerous luxury retailers to Manhattan. Among her clients were Cartier, Versace, Louis Vuitton, and Yves Saint Laurent. She also represented some of New York's best-known landlords, including Donald Trump and Larry Silverstein. The properties she handled included the Cartier mansion, on Fifth Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets, and the nearby Zara flagship store. Consolo died in New York City on December 23, 2018.

Roy J. Glauber (93) theoretical physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005 for using quantum theory to explain the field of optics and how light interacts with matter, laying the foundation for the field of quantum electrodynamics. Glauber’s seminal work addressed an area of research that had been largely ignored in quantum physics. For much of the first half of the 20th century, physicists had concentrated on trying to understand the nature of matter, neglecting the field of optics. That began to change with the development of the laser in 1960. Physicists wanted to understand how it worked vis-à-vis quantum mechanics, the mysterious rules that govern subatomic particles. Glauber was hospitalized in Newton, Massachusetts with breathing difficulty and died on December 26, 2018.

Judith Rich Harris (80) psychologist who was writing college textbooks on child development when she suddenly realized she didn’t believe what she was telling readers about why children turn out the way they do. Harris had her own theory: that children are influenced more by their genes and peers than by their parents. It was a revolutionary thought and ran counter to what most psychologists—and most parents—believed. Harris wrote it up for an academic journal and won a prestigious prize from the American Psychological Association. She was dismissed by some. She did not have a doctorate or a teaching position at a university, and she was belittled by some critics. But she turned her article into a book, The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do (1998). It grabbed the world’s attention, became a best-seller, and caused a sensation in the news media. Harris, who suffered from a chronic autoimmune disorder, died in Middletown, New Jersey on December 29, 2018.

Lawrence G. Roberts (81) computer scientist, a former manager at the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA, in the late '60s who designed much of the Arpanet—the Internet’s precursor—and oversaw its implementation in '69. Roberts was considered the decisive force behind packet switching, the technology that breaks data into discrete bundles that are then sent along various paths around a network and reassembled at their destination. He decided to use packet switching as the underlying technology of the Arpanet, and it remains central to the function of the Internet. It was also Roberts’ decision to build a network that distributed control across multiple computers. Distributed networking remains another foundation of today’s Internet. He died of a heart attack in Redwood City, California, five days after his 81st birthday, on December 26, 2018.

Nancy Grace Roman (93) first woman to hold an executive position at NASA. Roman helped with development of the Hubble Space Telescope and was the first chief of astronomy in the office of space science at NASA headquarters. She had direct oversight for the planning and development of astronomy-based programs, including the Cosmic Background Explorer and the Hubble Space Telescope. Roman retired from NASA in 1979. Throughout her career she advocated for women and young people to become involved in science. She died in Germantown, Maryland on December 25, 2018.

Carlos Sánchez (83) actor who for nearly 40 years played Juan Valdez, the embodiment of Colombian coffee and one of the most recognizable pitchmen in the world. Sánchez first donned Valdez’s signature wide-brimmed hat in 1969. He took over for José F. Duval, a Cuban actor who had played the character since it was created by the New York advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1959. Sánchez was Colombian and grew coffee as a youth before turning to painting and acting. As Valdez, an indefatigable farmer with a warm expression, a mustache, and a mule named Conchita, he became an avatar for the farmers who harvested Colombia’s coffee beans and a positive depiction of a country that was often equated with terrorism and drug trafficking. He retired in 2006. The new Juan Valdez is Carlos Castaneda, who grew up working on coffee plantations and owned one of his own. Sánchez died in Medellin, Colombia on December 29, 2018.

Elias M. Stein (87) Princeton University mathematician who pioneered work in a field that was originally devised to describe the vibrations of strings but proved to have a wide range of applications, including charting the fluctuations of stock markets and gravitational waves. Stein’s specialty was harmonic analysis, which breaks mathematical functions into a spectrum of simple components. It has been known for a long time that a musical note, for example, is a combination of pure harmonic tones. The basic techniques of harmonic analysis, devised centuries ago, were used to compute phenomena like the orbits of planets, the vibrating of strings, and the properties of radio signals. Stein showed how a similar approach could be applied to other problems and reveal hidden structures and patterns. He died of lymphoma in Somerville, New Jersey on December 23, 2018.

Bobbi Swan (88) whose secret lives explored the frontiers of drone technology and sexual identity. Born Robert Rowland Schwanhausser in Buffalo, New York, he was publicly recognized as an expert on military surveillance drones, which he helped to develop at San Diego’s Ryan Aeronautical and its successor, Teledyne Ryan. Much of the work was classified, involving covert missions to wartime Vietnam and the Middle East. Also secret: the engineer’s life as a cross-dresser and the growing conviction that his real self was female. In January 2003, after three years of hormone therapy and living as a woman, Robert Schwanhausser underwent surgery, emerging as Bobbi Swan; he was 72 at the time. Swan died in Clinton Township, Michigan on December 26, 2018.


Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (77) historian who helped to bring to light the long-suppressed role of black women in the women’s suffrage movement. A professor of history at Morgan State University in Baltimore for more than 30 years, Terborg-Penn was the author of seven books, most notably African-American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850–1920 (1998). It was one of the first book-length examinations of black women in the suffrage movement, and it challenged the existing narrative that was dominated by white activists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Terborg-Penn’s book was a counterweight to History of Women’s Suffrage, a six-volume work, begun in 1881 and edited by Anthony, Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. That opus more or less erased from the picture the many black women who Terborg-Penn said had attended suffrage meetings, organized suffrage clubs, and promoted the cause. She died in Columbia, Maryland on December 25, 2018.


Morton Sobell (101) was convicted in the Cold War spy trial that delivered Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to their deaths in 1953 and divided the nation for decades. Serving 18 years in prison until 1969, Sobell asserted his innocence until 2008, when, in an interview with the New York Times, he admitted that he had indeed been a Soviet spy. He also implicated Julius Rosenberg in a conspiracy that supplied the Soviets with nonatomic military and industrial secrets stolen from the US governmen. Rosenberg, an engineer from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was tried along with his wife and Sobell in 1951 on the same charge: conspiracy to commit espionage. The government portrayed Rosenberg as the mastermind of an espionage ring that provided Soviet scientists not only with classified conventional weapons technology but also with the know-how to enable them, by 1949, to replicate the plutonium bomb developed by the US that destroyed Nagasaki in ‘45 and ended World War II. Ethel Rosenberg was portrayed as her husband’s accomplice in a plot that prosecutors all but blamed for emboldening China, with Soviet coaxing, to invade Korea in 1950. Sobell died in New York City on December 26, 2018.

News and Entertainment

Ringo Lam (63) Hong Kong film director best known for gritty crime thrillers like the 1987 classic City on Fire. After the unexpected success of his fourth feature film, the action-comedy Aces Go Places IV in 1986, Lam was offered a rare opportunity: a chance to write and shoot any film he wanted to make so long as the budget was under 4 million Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of about $1.1 million today. The result was the film City on Fire, starring Chow Yun-fat as an undercover police officer who penetrates a gang of thieves, becomes chummy with one of the robbers (played by Danny Lee), and gets caught up when a planned heist of a jewelry store goes wrong. The film, which plays heavily on the themes of brotherhood and honor among thieves, became an instant hit, earning Lam the title of best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 1988. He was found unresponsive in his bed in Hong Kong on December 29, 2018.

Honey Lantree (75) whose life changed after a chance encounter with a drum kit in 1963. Lantree was working in a hair salon in London owned by her friend Martin Murray, who moonlighted as a rhythm guitarist in an amateur rock ’n’ roll band called the Sheratons. Their drummer had recently quit, but his drum kit was still set up at the group’s rehearsal space, and Lantree, who was there for a guitar lesson, asked if she could try it. Her impromptu solo was the start of a whirlwind career as one of the few women to play drums in a '60s rock group. The Sheratons soon became the Honeycombs, with Lantree billed as Honey, and released “Have I the Right?,” a bouncy love song that reached No. 1 on the British pop charts and No. 5 in the US. Female drummers are rare in rock music and were even rarer in the ‘60s. That did not stop Lantree, who soon began performing with the band. The group broke up in 1967. Lantree died of breast cancer in Great Bardfield, Essex, England on December 23, 2018.

Christine McGuire (92) eldest of the singing McGuire Sisters, who struck gold on the pop charts in the ‘50s with “Sincerely,” “Sugartime,” and other close-harmony hits that won young American hearts. With their identical dresses and hairdos and innocent voices, the McGuire Sisters—Christine, Dorothy (died 2012), and Phyllis—were the musical embodiment of popular culture in their day, singing for audiences who watched Your Hit Parade on TV and listened to Perry Como, Patti Page, and the postwar strains of the big band era. After appearing on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1952, the McGuire Sisters soared to national fame. They were regulars on Godfrey's morning shows for six years and remained one of the nation’s most popular vocal groups into the ‘60s, singing on TV, in nightclubs, and on records that sold millions. Phyllis is the last surviving sister. Christine McGuire died in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 28, 2018.

Rosenda Monteros (83) Mexican actress remembered for her turn as one of the few women in John Sturges’ classic western The Magnificent Seven. A successful actress in Mexican theater, films, and TV for more than 50 years, Monteros played a small but important part in The Magnificent Seven, a 1960 remake of Akira Kurosawa’s ‘54 film Seven Samurai. In the Hollywood version, seven gunslingers are hired by local farmers to defend their Mexican village from bandits. The movie had an all-star cast, with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Horst Buchholz, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and James Coburn as the seven gunmen, and Eli Wallach as the leader of the bandits. The film featured a stirring and now instantly recognizable theme composed by Elmer Bernstein. Monteros’ character, Petra, goes into hiding with the other women in the village when the gunmen arrive, but she is soon discovered and pursues a romance with Buchholz’s character, Chico. She died in Mexico City, Mexico on December 29, 2018.

Sono Osato (99) Japanese-American dancer who toured the world with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, performed with the Ballet Theater (now American Ballet Theater) in New York, then gained acclaim on Broadway in the World War II-era musicals One Touch of Venus and On the Town. In the ‘30s Osato was a groundbreaking presence in Col. Wassily deBasil’s Ballets Russes, the world’s most widely known ballet company. She was the company’s youngest dancer when she joined at 14 and was its first performer of Japanese descent. She was found dead at her home in New York City on December 26, 2018.

Aldo Parisot (100) classical cellist who toured the world as a soloist and settled into a career as an eminent teacher that included a 60-year tenure at the Yale School of Music. During the busiest stage of his solo career, Parisot performed with the major orchestras of Berlin, London, Paris, and Munich, and with conductors including Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Monteux, and Leonard Bernstein, winning plaudits for his sound, technique, and temperament. For a 1955 New York Philharmonic appearance under conductor Walter Hendl, Parisot gave the premiere of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Cello Concerto No. 2, one of many works he commissioned during his career to expand the cello repertory. But by his 30s he had started teaching. He held positions at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, Mannes College of Music, and elsewhere before joining the faculty at Yale in 1958. He had retired from Yale only last June. Parisot died in Guilford, Connecticut on December 29, 2018.

Bre Payton (26) writer for the conservative news site The Federalist and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets. In recent appearances on Fox News, Payton had condemned what she called “fake news” media coverage of President Donald Trump and “sexist and bigoted” coverage of first lady Melania Trump. Payton earned a journalism degree in 2015 from Patrick Henry College in Virginia and joined The Federalist that April. She later appeared as a guest commentator on the Fox News Channel and One America News Network. A friend found Payton unconscious on December 27, and doctors determined she had H1N1 flu—also known as swine flu—and meningitis. She died in San Diego, California on December 28, 2018.

Liza Redfield (94) broke a barrier on July 4, 1960, when she raised a baton at the Majestic Theater to start a performance of The Music Man, becoming the first woman to be full-time conductor of a Broadway pit orchestra. Other women had been assistant conductors and might have filled in on Broadway podiums, but Redfield was widely reported to be the first hired full-time when she took over The Music Man, the crowd-pleasing musical with a score by Meredith Willson, which had been running since 1957. Redfield later was musical director for three other Broadway shows, but all were flops, and she never quite settled into the top tier of the conducting world, which was dominated by men back then and remains so today. She died in New York City on December 23, 2018.

Dame June Whitfield (93) British actress and comedic star whose long career included memorable roles on the TV series Absolutely Fabulous and Terry & June. Whitfield enjoyed a career spanning decades, appearing on some of Britain’s most popular TV shows and earning generations of fans drawn by her wide range and impeccable timing. She was prominent in the Carry On film series and on the sitcom Terry & June with Terry Scott in the ’80s before playing a vital role on Absolutely Fabulous. Her time on “Ab Fab” playing the slightly odd mother of Jennifer Saunders’ boozy character Edina introduced Whitfield to fans who hadn’t been born when she started on radio decades earlier. She received dozens of honors, including being made a “Dame,” the female equivalent of a knighthood, in 2017. She died in London, England on December 28, 2018.

Politics and Military

Frank Blaichman (96) as a teenager during World War II, Blaichman fled into the forests of eastern Poland to avoid a roundup of fellow Jews by occupying Germans and soon became a leader of a band of partisans trying to disrupt the Nazis from inside the country. Blaichman, who settled in the US after the war, was active in promoting the legacy of the partisans, hoping to counter the misperception that all Jews went passively to their fate and that none fought back against the Nazis. He told his story in a 2009 book, Rather Die Fighting: A Memoir of World War II, and in an oral history recorded for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and in several documentaries. He was among the organizers of an effort to create a memorial to Jewish partisans and soldiers. Blaichman died in New York City on December 27, 2018.

John C. Culver (86) became an influential liberal while representing Iowa in Congress during the Vietnam War era after his time as a star football player at Harvard. Culver served five terms in the US House after winning election in 1964. He moved to the Senate in 1974 after winning a race for an open seat, serving one six-year term before losing reelection in 1980 to Sen. Chuck Grassley. Culver was a close friend of the late Ted Kennedy, his classmate and teammate at Harvard in the ‘50s when Culver won accolades as a burly fullback on the football team. He was drafted to play in the NFL but instead served three years in the Marine Corps and returned to Harvard to earn a law degree. He died in Washington, DC on December 26, 2018.

Richard Overton (112) America’s oldest World War II veteran, also believed to be the oldest living man in the US. Overton was in his 30s when he volunteered for the Army and was at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese attack in 1941. He once said that one secret to his long life was smoking cigars and drinking whiskey, which he often was found doing on the porch of his Austin home. His recent birthdays drew national attention, and strangers would stop by his house to meet him. Even well into his 100s, he would drive widows in his neighborhood to church. Overton died of pneumonia in Austin, Texas on December 27, 2018.

Shehu Shagari (93) Nigeria’s second president, whose civilian tenure was sandwiched between two military rulers in an era rocked by coups. It was less than 20 years since the West African nation had earned its independence from British rule, and it struggled to forge national unity within the colonial borders that tied some 250 ethnic groups together. After military ruler Olusegun Obasanjo lifted the ban on political activity in Africa's most populous nation in 1978, Shagari beat regional political veterans in a hotly contested election in ‘79. The election came after 13 years of military rule by four different men. As president, Shagari had an ambivalent relationship with the military, which at first favored his ascension to power but then held him in solitary confinement for three years after toppling his government. He died in Abuja, Nigeria on December 28, 2018.

William C. Thompson (94) former Brooklyn legislator and judge who was in the vanguard of black Democrats who staked their claim to elective office beginning in the mid-‘60s. In 1964 Thompson became the first black New York state senator elected from Brooklyn, a borough where, as recently as 1960, the fanciest restaurant, Gage & Tollner, did not seat black people. He was on the City Council from 1969–73, elected to the State Supreme Court in ’74, and named assistant administrative judge of the Supreme Court in Brooklyn and Staten Island in ’78. In 1980 he was the first black associate justice appointed to the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department in Brooklyn. Thompson retired from the bench in 2001 and returned to his law practice. He was a founder, with Robert F. Kennedy, of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., of which he was also director, and New York City regional director of the NAACP. He died of colon cancer in Brooklyn Heights, New York on December 24, 2018.

Society and Religion

Georges Loinger (108) physical education teacher in France who saved hundreds of Jewish children from deportation to concentration camps by helping to smuggle them into Switzerland. In the years after the German invasion of France in 1940, Oeuvre Secours aux Enfants, a relief organization known as OSE, orchestrated many efforts with the French Resistance to rescue the sons and daughters of European Jews who had been killed or sent to death camps. Some children were placed with French Catholics or sent to the US. Others lived in safe houses around France, where Loinger, who was Jewish himself, ran sports competitions to maintain the children’s physical and mental well-being. He died after a recent fall in Paris, France on December 28, 2018.


Sigi Schmid (65) winningest coach in Major League Soccer history. Schmid had an MLS-record 266 regular-season and postseason victories in 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Columbus Crew, and Sounders. He led teams to two MLS titles, the first with the Galaxy in 2002 and the second with the Crew in ‘08 and was a two-time MLS Coach of the Year. He stepped down as coach of the Galaxy in September with six games left in the regular season. He coached UCLA for 19 seasons before moving on to MLS, leading the Bruins to three NCAA titles. Schmid was hospitalized three weeks ago as he awaited a heart transplant, and died in Los Angeles, California on December 25, 2018.

Warren Wells (76) former wide receiver who became one of the most feared threats of the Oakland Raiders of the late ‘60s but whose career ended after he served a season-long prison sentence. Wells joined the Raiders in 1967 during the waning years of the American Football League when the team was a perennial playoff contender. Under coach John Rauch and later John Madden and with Daryle Lamonica and occasionally George Blanda at quarterback, the team was known for its long-bomb offense. Wells, who stood 6-feet-1 and weighed a little under 200 pounds, was a cornerstone of that offense, with slick moves and breakaway speed. He was charged in a sexual assault case, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, and was placed on probation in 1969. After the 1970 season, he got into a fracas at a bar in Beaumont, Texas that violated his probation. He missed the 1971 season while serving a prison term for the probation violation, and although he tried to return in ‘72, he was no longer in playing shape. He died of a heart attack in Beaumont, Texas on December 27, 2018.

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