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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 17, 2019

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Peter Fonda, actor son of Hollywood legend Henry FondaDanny Cohen, computer scientistBill Konyk, Ukrainian restaurateur in VancouverPaule Marshall, one of few major black women fiction writersMike McGee, college football player, coach, and athletic directorChristina, Princess of the Netherlands

Art and Literature

Paule Marshall (90) storyteller who in fiction such as Daughters and Brown Girl, Brownstones drew upon classic and vernacular literature and her mother’s kitchen conversations to narrate the divides between blacks and whites, men and women, and modern and traditional cultures. First published in the ‘50s, Marshall was for years virtually the only major black woman fiction writer in the US, a bridge between Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison (died a week earlier), Alice Walker, and others who emerged in the ‘60s and ’70s. She had been suffering from dementia in recent years and died in Richmond, Virginia on August 12, 2019.

Business and Science

Danny Cohen (81) computer scientist whose work in the ‘60s and ’70s on computer graphics and networks led to innovations in flight simulation, Internet telephony, cloud computing, and one of the first online dates—with him. Cohen, an Israeli immigrant who started out as a mathematician, was credited with designing the first real-time computerized flight simulation system, providing the experience of piloting a plane without having to leave the ground. When he took on the project, he told Wired magazine in 2012, the challenge was not just to master flying as a skill—he later became an accomplished pilot—but also to represent it graphically on a computer. His work in computer-network-based telephony began in the mid-‘70s, when he was on the faculty at the University of Southern California. Cohen died of Parkinson’s disease in Palo Alto, California on August 12, 2019.

Bill Konyk (88) brought Ukrainian food to Vancouver and successfully fought to maintain his company’s name, Hunky Bill’s, despite objections that it was an ethnic slur. Konyk was a sales manager for a Vancouver radio station in 1967 when he bet a friend $10 that he could get a booth at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver to sell Ukrainian food, which his family had trouble finding in the area. He succeeded, and his company has been a mainstay at the fair ever since, selling pirogies (sometimes spelled perogies), kielbasa, and cabbage rolls. Konyk eventually opened numerous restaurants and retail outlets in the Lower Mainland under the Hunky Bill’s name. He also bought the Dover Arms pub in the West End neighborhood of Vancouver. Hunky Bill was Konyk’s self-adopted nickname and the trademark for his pirogi, restaurant, and retail businesses. He died of cancer in Ladner, British Columbia, on August 13, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Peter Fonda (79) actor and son of a Hollywood legend who became a movie star in his own right after both writing and starring in the counterculture classic Easy Rider (1969). Born into Hollywood royalty as Henry Fonda’s (died 1982) only son, Peter Fonda carved his own path with his nonconformist tendencies and earned an Oscar nomination for cowriting the psychedelic road trip movie. He never won that golden statuette but was later Oscar-nominated for his leading performance as a Vietnam veteran and widowed beekeeper in Ulee’s Gold (1997). The younger brother of actress Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda died of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California on August 16, 2019.

Politics and Military

Christina, Princess of the Netherlands (72) Dutch princess, youngest sister of former Queen Beatrix. Christina was the youngest of four daughters of the late Queen Juliana and her German-born husband Prince Bernhard. Publicity-shy Christina and her former husband Jorge Guillermo, son of a Cuban doctor, had three children, Bernardo, Nicolás, and Juliana. The couple divorced in 1996. Their 1975 wedding removed Christina from the line of succession to the Dutch throne and allowed her to live outside the royal court. She lived in countries including Italy, the US, and Canada. She died of bone cancer at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands, on August 16, 2019.


Mike McGee (80) former USC and South Carolina athletic director (AD), a former Outland Trophy winner at Duke who hired Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier to lead Gamecocks football. McGee was the Gamecocks’ AD from 1993–2005 and was responsible for hiring several high-profile coaches at the Southeastern Conference school, including Holtz after the '98 season and Spurrier after Holtz’s retirement in 2004. He also hired current AD Ray Tanner. McGee was AD at USC from 1984 until midway through the ’92–93 season. The Trojans played in four Rose Bowls during his tenure. Before going to Los Angeles, McGee was AD at Cincinnati from 1980–84. He was head football coach at his alma mater, Duke, for eight years. His other head coaching job was at East Carolina. He was an assistant at Duke, Wisconsin, and Minnesota and an All-American offensive lineman with the Blue Devils, earning the Outland Trophy in 1959. He spent three seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Cardinals before a neck injury ended his pro career. McGee died in Montrose, Colorado on August 16, 2019.

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