Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 18, 2019

Hold pointer over photo for person's name. Click on photo to go to brief obit.
Click on name to return to picture.

Tim Conway on 'The Carol Burnett Show' with Vicki Lawrence and BurnettDoris Day, singer and film actressDr. Leonard Bailey, pioneering transplant surgeonUnita Blackwell, first black woman mayor in MississippiBob Hawke, Australian prime ministerGeorge L. Kelling, criminologist who advanced 'broken windows' theoryAlice M. Rivlin, US government economistCardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, Christian patriarch of Lebanon

Business and Science

Dr. Leonard Bailey (76) surgeon who opened new doors in medicine when he transplanted a baboon heart into an infant girl but then endured withering criticism for harvesting an organ from an animal to help save the life of a human. Bailey’s decision to transplant the baboon’s walnut-size heart into a 12-day-old infant known only as “Baby Fae” drew international attention and—to some in the medical community—offered a future where there would always be an unlimited supply of animal organs to help save the lives of human patients. But the moral and ethical questions of using animals as a virtual supermarket for hearts, livers, and kidneys were so weighty that cross-species transplants failed to become the norm. Although the child died 21 days later, the surgery was seen as a pioneering step in medicine and infant-to-infant heart transplants became an accepted procedure. For Bailey, the 1984 surgery established him an a leading authority on heart transplants, a small-town doctor suddenly known internationally as a skilled and daring surgeon. He died of cancer in Loma Linda, California on May 12, 2019.


George L. Kelling (83) criminologist whose “broken windows” theory revolutionized urban policing and helped to make sprawling cities like Los Angeles safer but stoked criticism that it also invited police abuse. A former social worker, Kelling's famous 1982 Atlantic magazine article “Broken Windows: The Police & Neighborhood Safety,” cowritten with James Q. Wilson, had wide-ranging influence. Kelling was celebrated for having helped to tame urban crime and blight. William S. Bratton, former LAPD chief and two-time New York police commissioner, used his concepts when he tried to restore order in LA, a city left battered by rioting, the Rodney King beating, and the racial tensions whipped up by the O. J. Simpson murder trial. But the broken windows theory—that disorderly conditions in neighborhoods signaled that no one cared and led to more serious crimes—put the poor, the homeless, and the downtrodden at risk of being abused by police. Kelling died of cancer in Hanover, New Hampshire on May 15, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Tim Conway (85) second banana to comedienne Carol Burnett who won four Emmy Awards on her TV variety show, starred aboard McHale’s Navy, and later voiced the role of Barnacle Boy for Spongebob Squarepants. A native of Ohio, Conway credited his Midwestern roots for putting him on the right path to laughs, with his deadpan expression and innocent, simple-minded demeanor. Those qualities probably contributed to Conway’s wide popularity on The Carol Burnett Show, which he joined in 1975 after years as a frequent guest. The show aired on CBS from 1967–78 and had a short summer stint on ABC in ‘79. The ensemble cast surrounding the red-headed star included Harvey Korman (died 2008), Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner. While America was laughing at Conway, so were his costars: Burnett and Korman were often caught by the camera trying not to crack up during his performances. The short, nondescript Conway and the tall, imposing Korman were a physical mismatch made in comedy heaven. Conway died in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2019.

Doris Day (97) blonde actress and singer whose comedic roles opposite the likes of Rock Hudson and Cary Grant made her one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the ‘50s and ’60s and a symbol of wholesome American womanhood. In more recent years, Day had been an animal rights advocate. With her lilting voice, fresh-faced beauty, and glowing smile, Day was a top box-office draw and recording artist known for comedies such as Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink, and songs like “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much. Over time she became more than a name above the title, standing for the era’s ideal of innocence and G-rated love. The running joke, attributed to both Groucho Marx and actor-composer Oscar Levant, was that they had known Day “before she was a virgin.” Day herself was no Doris Day, by choice and by hard luck. Her 1976 tell-all book, Doris Day: Her Own Story, chronicled her money troubles and three failed marriages. She died of pneumonia in Carmel Valley, California on May 13, 2019.

Politics and Military

Unita Blackwell (86) outspoken civil rights activist born to sharecroppers in the segregated South who rose to become the first black woman to win a mayor's race in Mississippi. From 1976–2001 Blackwell was mayor of Mayersville, a town of about 500. She developed a utility district to provide water and sewage services. Under her leadership, the town also paved streets and worked to improve housing. She died in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on May 13, 2019.

Bob Hawke (89) Australia’s longest-serving Labor Party prime minister whose charisma and powers of persuasion earned him near-folk hero status among many Australians. The former union leader dedicated much of his political career to trade union issues and was widely regarded as a man of his people. Hawke had a down-to-earth attitude, a passion for sports, and legendary status among beer lovers—for once drinking himself into the record books. He won four terms as prime minister, serving from 1983–91 before being ousted by his own center-left party when the economy soured. Only two other prime ministers served Australia longer, and both were members of the conservative Liberal Party. Hawke died in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2019.

Alice M. Rivlin (88) economist who had a guiding hand in national economic affairs for decades, playing a foundational role with the Congressional Budget Office and serving as budget director, a cabinet-level post, under President Bill Clinton. Rivlin bounced back and forth between the Washington think tank the Brookings Institution and top government posts, among them vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Board under Alan Greenspan. She volunteered to help nurse the near-bankrupt District of Columbia government back to health in the ‘90s by running its Financial Management Assistance Authority. In that post she was said to wield more power than the mayor and the City Council combined. But it was her tenure as founding director of the Congressional Budget Office that established her as one of Washington’s most influential economists. She was widely credited with shaping the CBO into an authoritative and nonpartisan fiscal analyst, the first to provide Congress with reliable and impartial data on the fiscal consequences of a broad range of proposed legislation. She died in Washington, DC on May 14, 2019.

Society and Religion

Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir (98) former patriarch of Lebanon’s Maronite Christian church, spiritual leader of Lebanon’s largest Christian community through some of the worst days of the country’s 1975–90 civil war. Sfeir was an outspoken and feisty personality who also played a key role in shaping the country’s postwar politics. Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East, a third of its 4 million people, with Maronite Catholics being the largest sect. Lebanon is the only Arab country with a Christian head of state. Sfeir was one of the most prominent and high-ranking Christian leaders in the mostly Muslim Middle East. He was remembered mostly for spearheading an opposition movement calling for the withdrawal of thousands of Syrian forces from Lebanon in the ‘90s and for brokering a historic reconciliation in the Chouf mountains between Lebanon’s Maronites and members of the Druze sect in August 2001. He died in a Beirut, Lebanon hospital two weeks after he was admitted suffering from a chest infection, on May 12, 2019.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top