Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 3, 2019

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

Morton Bahr, labor leaderKatreese Barnes, pianist on 'Saturday Night Live'Henri Belolo, cofounder of Village PeopleCliff Branch, Oakland Raiders wide receiverNick Buoniconti, Miami Dolphin linebackerHarvey Frommer, sports historianAnn Gish Phillips, bedding and textiles designerMario Gonzalez, 'father of Brazilian golf'Steven Gubser, Princeton physicistCorbin Gwaltney, founder of 'Chronicle of Education'Dr. John A. Hansen, made bone marrow transplants saferSaoirse Kennedy Hill, granddaughter of Robert F. KennedyPhil Hymes, TV lighting directorElaine Kendall, author and playwrightMartin Mayer, versatile free-lance writerMike Moulin, former LA police lieutenantD. A. Pennebaker, documentary filmmakerSherm Poppen, created first snowboard, the SnurferHal Prince, legendary Broadway producer and directorHarley Race, pro wrestlerRichard M. Rosenbaum, former NY state Republican chairmanSteve Sawyer, leader of GreenpeaceGregory ('Ras G') Shorter, recording producerDon Suggs, UCLA artist and teacherYasuhiro Takemoto, Japanese anime directorGrant Thompson, YouTube starDr. Carl A Weiss Jr., son of Dr. Carl A. Weiss Sr., alleged killer of Huey LongBob Wilber, traditional jazz clarinetist and saxophonist

Art and Literature

Elaine Kendall (91) author and playwright, a book critic for the Los Angeles Times from 1980–96, reviewing a variety of authors including A. M. Homes, Geoff Nicholson, Penelope Lively, Dominick Dunne, Rick Bass, and Stewart O’Nan. Kendall wrote widely as a free-lance journalist and was the author of four nonfiction books: The Upper Hand: The Truth About American Men, The Happy Mediocrity, “Peculiar Institutions”: An Informal History of the Seven Sisters Colleges, and Seeing Europe Again: Confessions of a First World Traveler. She also wrote four plays: Two Margarets, The Chameleon, The Trial of Mata Hari, and The Nominee and contributed lyrics to musicals, including American Cantata, The Would-Be Diva, Isadora!, and Cole & Will: Together Again! Kendall died in Montecito, California of complications from a series of falls, on August 3, 2019.

Don Suggs (74) painter who helped to shape the history of art through his commitment to craft and dedication to teaching. Known for his carefully composed investigations into the nature of art making—for example, analyzing every shade of paint used in Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon,” then rendering those shades in abstraction—Suggs was also dedicated to his students as a professor of painting and drawing at UCLA, where he taught for more than 30 years. He died after being struck by a vehicle near his Los Angeles, California studio on July 30, 2019.

Yasuhiro Takemoto (47) in the opening sequence of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, a hungover computer programmer sets off to her dreaded office job, only to encounter a five-story-tall dragon waiting outside her door. Before Miss Kobayashi can decide whether she’s in a dream, the dragon has transformed into a young woman in a maid’s costume. Fans of the anime director say the TV series was typical Takemoto: fantastical yet relatable, visually beautiful, and narratively strange. In 2018 a major anime website awarded it best TV comedy and best TV ending. News in February that the show would have a second season was widely celebrated. But before a release date emerged, Takemoto was killed, alongside more than 30 of his friends and colleagues, in one of the deadliest massacres in Japanese history. On July 18, 2019, an arsonist set fire to Kyoto Animation, the studio that helped to turn Takemoto into a household name in the world of anime. After weeks of confusion about whether Takemoto was among the victims, the Kyoto police confirmed his death on Aug. 2.

Business and Science

Morton Bahr (93) national labor leader who helped his fellow communication workers to survive threats to their jobs posed by digital technology and corporate revamping. Bahr, who began his career as a telegraph operator, was president of the Communications Workers of America from 1985–2005, running a union that today represents about 700,000 public and private sector employees in technology, media, airlines, and law enforcement. He presided during the breakup of American Telephone & Telegraph's Bell System as a telephone service monopoly, as mandated by a 1982 consent decree. Bell had employed a half million union workers. After the government filed suit for antitrust law violations, AT&T continued to provide long-distance service while giving up control of local telephone business to what became independent regional Bell operating companies. Bahr devised two strategies that enabled the union to successfully navigate the consolidation in the industry and the automation wrought by the introduction of cell phones and other digital devices. Those advances had sharply reduced the need for installers, repairmen, and other communication workers. He died of pancreatic cancer in Washington, DC on July 30, 2019.

Ann Gish Phillips (70) bedding and textiles designer whose luxury home goods company sold more than 1,500 products in stores around the world. Gish Phillips started her brand with a set of washable silk place mats and napkins before rapidly expanding into bedding and, later, furniture and home decoration, all under the brand name Ann Gish. Department stores and online retailers carry her wares, and her designs have been used in Broadway shows, including the most recent production of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, and in films and on TV shows. Her products were given their most prominent display in 2011, when Gish Phillips opened a 4,000-square-foot store in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. She died of lung cancer in North Salem, New York on August 2, 2019.

Steven Gubser (47) Princeton theoretical physicist who did groundbreaking work in trying to unite the two great fields of physics—quantum mechanics and general relativity—as part of a broad effort in the scientific community to devise “a theory of everything.” Gubser was one of the most accomplished physicists of his generation, making an impact early on. While still a teenager he became the first American to win an international physics competition for high school students. As a student at Princeton he won the highest American award for undergraduate research, and as a young scientist he was cited in Europe as one of the most outstanding theoretical physicists under age 35. Gubser’s specialty was string theory, which many physicists believe could solve a fundamental problem in physics. He was in Chamonix, France, climbing Comb Needle, a peak near Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps, when his rope broke and he fell 300 feet to his death, on August 3, 2019.

Dr. John A. Hansen (76) immunologist whose pioneering research made bone marrow transplants safer and vastly expanded the pool of potential donors to patients with leukemia and other blood disorders. As a clinical researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle from 1977 until he retired in 2018, Hansen had a profound impact on the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, and blood and immune system diseases. His team in Seattle developed sophisticated methods of determining which combination of chemicals in a patient’s immune system is required to keep his body from rejecting a marrow transplant from a donor—either a sibling or a complete stranger—whose tissue type does not precisely match. With Drs. Jeffrey McCullough in Minnesota and Herbert Perkins in San Francisco, Hansen also helped to establish a national registry that links patients awaiting transplants with potential donors of bone marrow, blood stem cells, and a newborn’s umbilical cord blood. Hansen died of pancreatic cancer on Mercer Island, Washington on July 31, 2019.

Sherm Poppen (89) helped to start the snowboarding industry in the ‘60s when he bolted together his older daughter’s skis to create a stand-up board that could surf the snowy sand dunes behind their lakeside cottage in Michigan. A practical consideration drove Poppen to invent his forerunner to the snowboard. It was Christmas Day 1965, and he was at home in Muskegon when his wife, Nancy, implored him to go outside and entertain their daughters, Wendy (10) and Laurie (5). Poppen first took out a sled, but its blades cut through the snow and got stuck in the sand beneath. Then he spotted Wendy’s child-size skis. Imagining the dunes as surfable waves, he created a surfable board by bracing the skis with wooden crossbars. His daughters caught on quickly, and soon so did their friends, who wanted to try it themselves. His wife named the board the Snurfer, a contraction of “snow” and “surfer.” Others later improved on the design, but the modern snowboard industry began with the Snurfer. Poppen died of a stroke in Griffin, Georgia on July 31, 2019.

Dr. Carl A. Weiss Jr. (84) was 3 months old when his father died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The cause, his mother later told him, was a fatal firearms accident on September 8, 1935. But when he was 10, Carl Jr. stumbled across a full-page painting by John McCrady in Life magazine, one in a series of dramatic scenes from 20th-century American history. In graphic detail, the painting depicted a wounded Huey P. Long, Louisiana's US senator and former governor, clutching his stomach with his bloodied left hand moments after his bodyguards had machine-gunned his purported assassin, a slight, bespectacled, white-coated 28-year-old man whose bullet-riddled body had slumped to the floor. Young Carl was stunned to discover that the man portrayed as the killer was identified as his father, Dr. Carl A. Weiss Sr. Carl Jr. later learned a great deal about the senator and his father: that Long—who had seized near-dictatorial power to become what President Franklin D. Roosevelt branded as the most dangerous man in America—lingered 31 hours before he died of a single bullet wound. Dr. Carl A. Weiss Jr. died of congestive heart failure in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on August 1, 2019. At his death, questions he had raised about his father’s notorious place in history remained unresolved.


Corbin Gwaltney (97) whose groundbreaking newspaper the Chronicle of Higher Education covered the US's ivory towers and even turned a profit. His company also publishes the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Based in Washington, DC, the Chronicle of Higher Education, which began in 1966 with a few thousand subscribers, today has a paid print circulation of about 44,000 and estimates that it draws 2 million online visitors a month. In the early ‘90s it was a trailblazer in publishing online and in erecting a paywall to protect its content. The Chronicle’s roots go back to 1957, when Gwaltney, then editor of the Johns Hopkins University alumni magazine, met in New York with fellow editors from 10 other campus publications. Their goal was to collaborate on a journal that would serve as a supplement to individual college alumni publications but explore higher education more broadly. Gwaltney died in Potomac, Maryland on July 29, 2019.

Grant Thompson (38) creator of the YouTube channel “King of Random,” whose experiments and hands-on science tips drew 11 million subscribers. Thompson’s instructional videos have been watched more than a billion times. They range from filling a balloon with liquid nitrogen to making a laser-assisted blowgun. Some were practical, like how to get better cell phone reception, while others were whimsical, like building a raft from rice cakes. His most popular video was about how to make gummy candies in the shape of Legos. Thompson made headlines in 2018 after complaints about explosions in his suburban Salt Lake City backyard brought criminal charges. He agreed to make safety-themed videos as part of a plea deal. His many followers called him a creative force whose unconventional approach sparked their interest in science. Thompson was killed in a paragliding crash. Hiis body was found in Washington County, Utah on July 29, 2019.


Mike Moulin (70) former Los Angeles police lieutenant who came under fire for failing to quell the first outbreak of rioting after the Rodney King beating verdict. Moulin was in charge of officers at an intersection in south LA when rioting began on April 29, 1992 after the acquittal of four officers in the King beating. When the angry crowd grew and the violence spiraled out of control, Moulin ordered his outnumbered officers to retreat. Then-Chief Daryl F. Gates said the absence of police officers on the streets emboldened rioters and led the violence to spread. Days of unrest resulted in more than 50 deaths, more than 2,000 injuries, and roughly a billion dollars in property damage. Facing criticism for his department’s slow response as the rioting began, Gates singled out Moulin and said the lieutenant should have returned his officers to the intersection of Florence and Normandie avenues. Moulin insisted he made the right call and kept his officers from having to use deadly force. He sued Gates to clear his name and alleged the LAPD did little to prepare for possible rioting. Mike Moulin died in Santa Monica, California on July 30, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Katreese Barnes (56) multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, and music producer who accompanied some of the biggest stars of the ‘90s and 2000s and won two Emmys as musical director for Saturday Night Live—including one for a song (with an unprintable title) that became one of the earliest viral sensations on YouTube. Barnes never recorded an album under her own name, but she was known to musicians around New York as a remarkably versatile studio musician. She played piano, electric keyboards, and alto saxophone. She produced albums and wrote songs. From the early ‘90s on, she recorded and toured with Roberta Flack, Sting, Chaka Khan, and other household names. But her work for TV probably reached the widest audience. Starting in 2001, she was for about 10 years the pianist on Saturday Night Live, eventually becoming the show’s musical director. Barnes died in New York City of breast cancer, which she had fought for the past 20 years, on August 3, 2019.

Henri Belolo (82) cofounded the Village People and cowrote their classic hits “YMCA,” ?Macho Man,” and “In the Navy.” Belolo was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1936. With Jacques Morali and lead singer Victor Willis, he founded the six-member Village People. The group’s self-titled debut album was released in 1977. In 1978 the group released two albums, Macho Man and Cruisin’—which featured the international hit “YMCA,” cowritten by Belolo. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard chart. In 1979 the Village People released the album Go West, which included “In the Navy,” another song cowritten by Belolo that peaked at No. 3 on the chart. Belolo died on August 3, 2019.

Phil Hymes (96) veteran lighting director who became a major backstage figure with Saturday Night Live for his strong opinions about stagecraft he liked and comedy he disliked. Hymes joined Saturday Night Live in 1976, in its second season, bringing with him decades of experience at NBC, much of it spent in live programming beginning in the early ‘50s. He remained with the show until early 2018, after nearly 42 years of putting up lights and designing the look they gave to sketches, monologues, and musical numbers. Several months later, at 95, he accepted an Emmy Award, his first since 1965, for outstanding lighting design and direction for a variety series. He died of bladder cancer in New York City on July 29, 2019.

Martin Mayer (91) author, journalist, and critic who wrote more than 40 books and hundreds of articles for laymen that demystified lawyers, banking, thorny school problems, and classical music. Mayer called himself an old-time free-lancer, batting out 1,000 words a night before dawn. But for 50 years he took readers on behind-the-scenes tours of Wall Street, Madison Avenue, the practice of law, the delights of a Spanish guitar, and a racially divisive New York teachers' strike. Along the way he churned out three novels; wrote columns for Esquire magazine; was a music critic for a British journal; and wrote for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and a dozen other periodicals. He wrote reports for the Ford, Carnegie, and Kettering Foundations, was chairman of a local school board in New York, and served on White House panels in the Kennedy and Reagan administrations. Mayer died of respiratory complications of Parkinson’s disease on Shelter Island, New York on August 1, 2019.

D. A. Pennebaker (94) groundbreaking documentary filmmaker best known for capturing pivotal moments in the history of rock music and politics, including Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England and Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign. Pennebaker was part of a close-knit group of pioneering filmmakers in the ‘60s who helped to bring cinéma vérité to the US. The key development in that invention was the advent of synchronous-sound cameras, which allowed the filmmakers to move more freely with and among their subjects and to do away with the postproduction voice-over model of narrative. Pennebaker died in Sag Harbor, New York on August 1, 2019.

Hal Prince (91) Broadway director and producer who pushed the boundaries of musical theater with such groundbreaking shows as The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Company, and Sweeney Todd and won a staggering 21 Tony Awards. Prince was known for his cinematic director’s touch and was unpredictable and uncompromising in his choice of stage material. He often picked challenging, offbeat subjects to musicalize, such as a murderous, knife-wielding barber who baked his victims in pies or the 19th-century opening of Japan to the West. Along the way he helped to create some of Broadway’s most enduring musical hits, first as a producer of such shows as The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Fiddler on the Roof. He later became a director, overseeing such landmark musicals as Cabaret, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Evita, and The Phantom of the Opera. Prince was in transit from Europe to New York when he died in Reykjavik, Iceland on July 31, 2019.

Harley Race (76):widely regarded as one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time. Race was an eight-time National Wrestling Alliance world heavyweight champion between 1973–84. He was also billed as the “King of Wrestling” in the World Wrestling Federation from 1986–89. After winning a match, Race would make his opponent bow and kneel before him. After his in-ring career ended, he became a manager of wrestlers such as Vader in World Championship Wrestling. Race died of lung cancer on August 1, 2019.

Gregory ('Ras G') Shorter (39) there was no mistaking producer, vocalist, and rhythm king Ras G whenever his work required that he interact with mortals. Whether walking down Colorado Boulevard in East Pasadena toward his day job at Poobah Records or ascending the stairs of the Low End Theory in Lincoln Heights during one of his many appearances at that influential beat club, his style suggested a time-traveler, one who seemed barely at home on earth. Besides masterminding dozens of recordings and mix shows, Shorter also cofounded producer Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder Records imprint. He dubbed himself “Captain of the Afrikan Space Program.” His mission: making albums such as Ghetto Sci-Fi (2008), Brotha from Anotha Planet (2009), Back on the Planet (2013), and Stargate Music (2018). In December 2018, Shorter revealed that he’d been struggling with health issues including diabetes and pneumonia. He died in Los Angeles, California on July 29, 2019.

Bob Wilber (91) US clarinetist and saxophonist who fell in love with swing and early jazz just as those styles were going out of fashion, then became an important proponent of their legacy. Wilber began his professional career while still a teenager as leader of the Wildcats, one of the first bands devoted to reviving the jazz of the ‘20s and ’30s. His love for the old guard soon endeared him to pioneering New Orleans musician Sidney Bechet (died 1959), who became his mentor and biggest influence. Wilber died in Chipping Campden, England on August 3, 2019.

Politics and Military

Saoirse Kennedy Hill (22) granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while running for US president. Hill was the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s fifth child, Courtney, and Paul Michael Hill, one of four people falsely convicted in the 1974 Irish Republican Army bombings of two pubs. A family statement said that Hill was passionate about human rights and women’s empowerment and worked with indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico. She attended Boston College, where she was a member of the class of 2020. Hill had written frankly and publicly about her struggles with mental health and a suicide attempt while in high school. She was found dead at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts after police responded to a call about a possible drug overdose, on August 1, 2019.

Richard M. Rosenbaum (88) Republican state chairman of New York who helped to deliver to Nelson A. Rockefeller the job he said he never wanted, the vice presidency of the US. Rosenbaum presided over the Republican Party in New York in the ‘70s as most of the so-called Rockefeller liberals—including Rockefeller himself—were retiring or losing reelection to Democrats or conservative challengers in statewide races. Nearing the end of his fourth term as New York's governor, Rockefeller resigned in December 1973 and bequeathed the position to his lieutenant governor, Malcolm Wilson. Rosenbaum was instrumental in getting the state’s convention delegates to back the nominations of Gerald R. Ford in 1976 and Ronald Reagan in ’80. He died in Rochester, New York of complications from a fall, on July 28, 2019.

Society and Religion

Steve Sawyer (63) leader of the international environmental group Greenpeace and one of the first activists on the global stage to sound the alarm over the rising threat of climate change. Over nearly 30 years, starting in the late ‘70s, American-born Sawyer rose from being a low-paid canvasser for Greenpeace, going door to door to solicit donations and memberships, to running the organization, whose global headquarters is in Amsterdam. He came of age with the group, embodying its radical spirit in his early activist days, then helping to lead it to the forefront of the global environmental movement. Perhaps his most dramatic Greenpeace expedition was in 1985, when he was on board the group’s flagship vessel, the 130-foot trawler Rainbow Warrior, on a campaign to stop France from testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. The ship had sailed to New Zealand to lead the protest and was docked in Auckland when two explosions ripped through its hull and sank it, killing the ship’s photographer. French intelligence agents had planted the bombs. At the time, Sawyer, senior policy person on board, was in port celebrating his 29th birthday. The bombing backfired on France. An international outcry galvanized the antinuclear movement, brought donations to Greenpeace, and helped to end nuclear testing in the Pacific. Sawyer died of pneumonia stemming from lung cancer, diagnosed in April, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on July 31, 2019.


Cliff Branch (71) one of the Oakland Raiders’ career-leading wide receivers who won three Super Bowls in 14 seasons with the franchise. One of the game’s top deep threats from 1972–85 in Oakland and Los Angeles, Branch was an All-Pro three straight seasons (1974–76) and made four Pro Bowls. He scored 67 touchdowns through the air, leading the NFL in TD receptions in 1974 with 13 and in ‘76 with 12. He also had a league-high 1,092 yards receiving in 1974. He was a force in the postseason with 1,289 yards receiving. The Raiders won Super Bowls after the 1976, ’80, and ‘83 seasons—the last one in LA, where the franchise moved in ‘82 after court fights before returning to the Bay Area in ’95. In 1983 Branch tied the NFL record with a 99-yard touchdown catch in a regular-season game. He stands third among Raiders pass-catchers in yards receiving with 8,685, trailing Tim Brown and Fred Biletnikoff—both Hall of Famers. Branch was a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and ‘10. He was found dead in a hotel room in Bullhead City, Arizona on August 3, 2019.

Nick Buoniconti (78) Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebacker, an undersized overachiever who helped to lead the Miami Dolphins to the NFL’s only perfect season and became a leader in the effort to cure paralysis. Buoniconti was bypassed in the NFL draft but later had a 15-year pro career. He was captain of the Dolphins’ back-to-back Super Bowl champions, including the 1972 team that finished 17-0. After retirement Buoniconti and his son, Marc, worked to raise more than a half-billion dollars for paralysis research. Marc Buoniconti was paralyzed from the shoulders down after making a tackle for The Citadel in 1985. Nick Buoniconti worked as an attorney, a broadcaster, as president of US Tobacco, and as an agent to athletes. For 23 seasons he was cohost of the weekly sports show Inside the NFL. He was chosen for the all-time AFL team in 1970 and for the NFL Pro Bowl in ‘72–73. Buoniconti struggled in recent years with symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head. He had recently battled pneumonia. He died in Bridgehampton, New York on July 30, 2019.

Harvey Frommer (83) author who wrote mostly about sports, sometimes collaborating with his subjects on their autobiographies. Frommer wrote about the 1927 Yankees, the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and others. He collaborated on books with Nolan Ryan, Red Holzman, and Tony Dorsett. Frommer died of lung cancer in Lyme, New Hampshire on August 1, 2019.

Mario Gonzalez (96) Brazilian golf champion. Gonzalez won the Brazil Open eight times and was in contention for the British Open championship in 1948 while an amateur. In 1941, at 19, he had taken on Bobby Jones—winner of golf’s original Grand Slam (the US and British opens and two amateur tournaments) in 1930 and cofounder of Augusta National, home of the Masters, in ‘34—and played him to a draw in an exhibition match. Gonzalez also bested Billy Casper, winner of the 1959 US Open, in a head-to-head, made-for-TV event in '61. But he passed up chances to thrive on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and European tours. Instead he concentrated on the Brazilian championships and was content to remain head pro at the Gávea Golf and Country Club in Rio, where he taught from 1949–84. Gonzalez died of cancer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 29, 2019.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top