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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 31, 2019

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Valerie Harper, actress who played Rhoda on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'Mary Lyerly Alexander, cousin of jazz saxophonist John ColtranePedro Bell, artist of psychedelic album coversTim Bell, British public relations man who helped PM Margaret Thatcher to win electionPal Benko, chess grandmasterFranco Columbu, bodybuilder friend of Arnold SchwarzeneggerJessi Combs, jet-car speed racerRichard Conrad, 'bel canto' tenorFrances Crowe, peace activistTerrance Dicks, longtime script editor for 'Doctor Who'Sally Floyd, UC Berkeley computer scientistDonnie Fritts, songwriter and actorDr. Dawda Jawara, Gambian veterinarian turned politicianElaine La Roche, Wall Street powerhouseJim Langer, Miami Dolphins' centerJames R. Leavelle, Dallas detectiveNicolás Leoz, Paraguayan soccer executiveMarita Lorenz, German woman who had affair with Fidel CastroRobert Mugabe, former prime minister of ZimbabweVince Naimoli, original owner of Tampa Bay RaysFerdinand Piëch, Volkswagen patriarchHans Rausing, Swedish multibillionaireSogyal Rinpoche, Buddhist teacherBarbara Probst Solomon, memoirist and essayistIsabel Toledo, fashion designer who dressed Michelle ObamaImmanuel Wallerstein, Columbia University sociologistMartin Weitzman, Harvard economistNie Yuanxi, follower of Mao Zedong

Art and Literature

Pedro Bell (69) artist whose psychedelic album covers for Detroit cosmic funk band Funkadelic defined the group’s aesthetic. Starting with the band’s 1973 album Cosmic Slop and continuing for the next 10 years, Bell’s dense LP covers were intrinsic to Funkadelic’s landmark concept albums. Musing on identity, commerce, Afro-futurism, and sex, Bell mixed comic panels, photo collages, scribbled editorial asides, many aroused phalluses, music criticism, half-invented linguistic flourishes, and politically driven invective to create his striking artwork. He captured the band’s wild energy by selling not just music but ideas. Bell died on August 27, 2019.

Barbara Probst Solomon (90) American memoirist and essayist known for documenting life in Spain during and after the regime of Gen. Francisco Franco. Esteemed by critics for her observations on 20th-century culture and politics, Solomon was renowned in particular for her 1972 memoir, Arriving Where We Started, which chronicled her youthful involvement with the anti-Franco resistance movement, including her naïvely brazen rescue of two resistance members from a Spanish labor camp at the behest of a friend's brother, young Norman Mailer. Solomon was later a novelist and a translator from Spanish. She died of renal disease in New York City on August 25, 2019.

Business and Science

Tim Bell (77) public relations expert credited with helping former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to win office in 1979. Bell was involved in the Conservative Party’s election campaigns in 1979, ’83, and ’87. He was responsible for a famous campaign slogan, “Labour isn’t working,” in 1978 that attacked the Labour Party’s employment record. The Bell Pottinger public relations company went into administration in 2017 after having been found by an industry watchdog to have run a “racially divisive” campaign in South Africa. Bell died in London, England on August 25, 2019.

Sally Floyd (69) computer scientist whose work in the early ‘90s on controlling congestion on the Internet continues to play a vital role in its stability. Floyd was best known as one of the inventors of Random Early Detection, or RED, an algorithm widely used on the Internet. It was an enhancement of work done in the ‘80s by Van Jacobson, a computer scientist whose scheme for signaling computers to slow down is often credited with saving the Internet from collapse in the ’80s and ’90s. Floyd and Jacobson developed RED together. Floyd died of metastatic gall bladder cancer in Berkeley, California on August 25, 2019.

Elaine La Roche (70) one of the most powerful women on Wall Street when women there were scarce—notably helping to orchestrate the first partnership between an American investment bank, Morgan Stanley, and the government of China. In the ‘90s, when women faced daunting odds in landing high-level positions in the securities industry, La Roche rose from administrative associate to managing director at Morgan Stanley, earning a reputation as a reliable problem solver. In her 22 years with the firm, she was an integral participant in the creation of the China International Capital Corp., a landmark joint venture in 1995 between Morgan Stanley and the government-run China Construction Bank. She died of pancreatic cancer in Sharon, Connecticut on August 25, 2019.

Ferdinand Piëch (82) German auto industry power broker, longtime patriarch of Volkswagen AG and key engineer of its takeover of Porsche. A grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who founded the company that bears his name and designed the first version of VW’s signature Beetle—Piëch was an auto industry mainstay for more than 40 years. He was credited with turning around Volkswagen in the ‘90s, leading it back to profit during a nine-year stint as chief executive. He then became the company’s supervisory board chief—a post in which he wielded unusual influence. Piëch crowned his career with his starring role in a long-drawn-out drama in which luxury automaker Porsche first tried to take over Volkswagen, then had the tables turned on it by the mass-market giant. But Piëch stepped down as board chairman after losing a power struggle with then-CEO Martin Winterkorn in 2015, a few months before a scandal over diesel emissions-rigging shook the company and prompted Winterkorn’s resignation. Piëch died “suddenly and unexpectedly” in Rosenheim, Bavaria on August 25, 2019.

Hans Rausing (93) former chief executive and chairman of Tetra Pak, the Swedish packaging company that filled supermarket aisles worldwide with paperboard containers of milk, juice, and other products. Rausing, whose father, Ruben, founded Tetra Pak, led the company with his brother Gad (died 2000) for more than 30 years as its workforce grew from a handful of people in Sweden to some 36,000. One of the wealthiest people in Britain, Rausing moved there in 1982 to avoid Sweden’s higher tax rates. In 1994, when he was worth about £9.6 billion ($15 billion), he was ranked higher on the Times of London’s list of the richest people than Queen Elizabeth. Rausing and his family are now estimated by Forbes to be worth about $12 billion. Rausing, who rarely gave interviews, had a reputation in England for being frugal. In 2001 he told the Daily Mirror that despite being a billionaire, he did not understand money and had no idea how much he had. He died in East Sussex, England on August 30, 2019.

Isabel Toledo (59) Cuban-American designer revered by other designers for her ability to combine precisely geometric construction with extreme grace—but was known to most of the public as designer of the dress Michelle Obama wore in the 2009 inaugural parade. Uninterested in the limelight or in logos, Toledo was a rarity in the modern fashion world. Devoted to fashion as a craft and an expression of self and embedded in the Downtown New York art scene, she was a throwback to a time before the designer became the creative director. She worked in a loft in Midtown Manhattan with her husband, artist Ruben Toledo, her partner since high school, dipping into the worlds of art, dance, and theater for the sheer joy of aesthetic collaboration. Toledo had been compared to designers Charles James and Geoffrey Beene because of her obsession with construction. She died of breast cancer in New York City on August 26, 2019.


Immanuel Wallerstein (88) sociologist who shook up the field with his ideas about Western domination of the modern world and the very nature of sociological inquiry. Wallerstein had written several books on Africa, where he had traveled extensively, when he published The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture & the Origins of the European World-Economy in the 16th Century, the first of four landmark volumes, in 1974. That work took a broader sociological approach than was common at the time, one that instead of looking at a country or society or ethnic group favored a global view that encompassed history and economic evolution. Wallerstein died of an infection in Branford, Connecticut on August 31, 2019.

Martin Weitzman (77) Harvard economist who argued that governments would see climate change as a more urgent matter to address if they took more seriously the small but real risks of the most catastrophic outcomes. Most economists have relied on a cost-benefit analysis when considering how ambitiously governments might try to reduce heat-trapping carbon emissions, either by imposing caps on how much can be emitted or by taxing the polluters. But Weitzman demonstrated that such prevailing cost-benefit analyses understated the small but nevertheless credible risks that worst-case environmental damage posed to the world and its economy, from its agricultural production to its delivery of goods and services. If governments took those catastrophic scenarios into account more seriously, he said, they would be more vigorous in their efforts to slow or even reverse global warming. Apparently despondent because he failed to win the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics, Weitzman committed suicide by hanging in Newton, Massachusetts on August 27, 2019.


James R. Leavelle (99) big man in the white Stetson who epitomized the horrors of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in one of the most famous photographs of all time—the killing of suspect Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. Leavelle, a veteran Dallas homicide detective who had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, was handcuffed to Oswald and was leading him through a police station basement on Nov. 24, 1963, when Ruby, a nightclub owner, stepped out of the crowd and pumped a fatal bullet into the prisoner. The shooting, with Oswald’s pained grimace and Detective Leavelle’s stricken glower, was chillingly captured by Robert H. Jackson of the Dallas Times Herald in an iconic photograph that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964. Leavelle died in Denver, Colorado six days after his 99th birthday, on August 29, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Mary Lyerly Alexander (92) jazz giant John Coltrane’s cousin, who inspired the composition “Cousin Mary” from his landmark album Giant Steps. Alexander spent much of her life working to preserve Coltrane’s legacy and supporting jazz and the arts. The house in Philadelphia where Coltrane (died 1967) lived with her from 1952–58 is now a national historic landmark. In the liner notes for Giant Steps, the saxophonist described his cousin as “a very earthy, folksy, swinging person.” The piece and others from the 1960 album, like “Naima” and the title track, have become practice templates for jazz saxophonists. Alexander died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 31, 2019.

Richard Conrad (84) tenor plucked from obscurity by acclaimed soprano Joan Sutherland to take part in a landmark 1963 recording, who later overcame a throat injury suffered in an assault and found a successful third act producing lesser-known operas. In 1961 Conrad, then a member of Boston Camerata, an early-music ensemble, gave a splendid performance of a florid aria from Monteverdi’s Orfeo in a concert at the Museum of Fine Arts that attracted the attention of Sutherland, who was singing in Boston at the time. Sutherland and conductor Richard Bonynge, her husband and frequent collaborator, asked Conrad to sing on The Age of Bel Canto, a two-LP album of arias and ensembles, with Bonynge conducting. The recording was intended to provide larger historic context to the era of bel canto, then mostly associated with Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini, by including works by Baroque composers. Conrad died of heart disease in Eliot, Maine on August 26, 2019.

Terrance Dicks (84) author of children’s books and a longtime script editor for the popular British TV series Doctor Who. Dicks was script editor for the show from 1968–74 and later adapted many Doctor Who episodes into books for young people. The show’s website said Dicks was responsible for shaping key aspects of the show. He died in London, England on August 29, 2019.

Donnie Fritts (76) Muscle Shoals songwriter, artist, and actor, a frequent collaborator with Kris Kristofferson who wrote the song “We Had It All,” recorded by numerous artists including Waylon Jennings and Ray Charles. Fritts was a well-known session player from Florence, Alabama, playing drums and keyboard. He cowrote songs like Dusty Springfield’s “Breakfast in Bed,” and “Choo Choo Train” by the Box Tops. He then joined Kristofferson’s band as a keyboard player for decades, which led him to be cast along with Kristofferson in films like Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and A Star Is Born. Fritts died in Birmingham, Alabama on August 27, 2019.

Valerie Harper (80) actress who scored guffaws, stole hearts, and busted TV taboos as brash, self-deprecating Rhoda Morgenstern on back-to-back hit sitcoms in the ‘70s. Harper was a breakout star on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, then the lead of her own series, Rhoda. She won three consecutive Emmys (1971–73) as supporting actress on MTM and another for outstanding lead actress for Rhoda, which ran from 1974–78. Beyond awards, she was immortalized—and typecast—for playing one of TV’s most beloved characters, a best friend the equal of Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance on I Love Lucy) and Ed Norton (Art Carney on The Honeymooners) in TV’s sidekick pantheon. Harper had been battling cancer for years; she died on August 30, 2019.

Politics and Military

Alfred Haynes (87) pilot who led a United Airlines crew through an extraordinary display of improvised emergency flying that guided a crippled jet to a crash landing in Sioux City, Iowa in 1989, saving more than 180 of the 296 people on board. Haynes was captain of United Flight 232 on July 19 when, a little more than an hour into its flight to Chicago from Denver, one of its three engines—the one mounted in the tail—exploded. Haynes was piloting a DC-10, which would normally have been able to fly with only its two wing-mounted engines running. But debris from the explosion had severed the hydraulic lines that enabled the crew to steer the aircraft and control its speed. The plane was in danger of turning upside down, but Haynes and his crewmen found they could level the aircraft by decreasing power to the left engine. For the next 44 minutes the men nursed the plane toward the nearest airport, in Sioux City, unable to turn the plane to the right, steering it by varying the speeds of the two functioning engines and fighting an up-and-down motion described in news accounts as “porpoising.” As the plane tried to touch down, the right wing clipped the ground and the aircraft broke apart amid smoke and flame. Haynes died in Tacoma, Washington on August 25, 2019.

Dr. Dawda Jawara (95) veterinarian-turned-politician who led Gambia to independence from the British, then presided over the country as it became one of Africa’s longest-running democracies. Jawara was long hailed for promoting tolerance, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when sub-Saharan Africa was dominated by authoritarianism and military regimes. He was president of his small West African nation until 1994, when, in a bloodless coup, it fell into the hands of Yahya Jammeh, a young officer who embarked on a brutal 22-year rule. Some of Jawara’s success came from the contacts he made before he became a politician, when he traveled the countryside vaccinating cattle in his 30s. He died in Fajara, a coastal suburb of Banjul, the capital of Gambia, on August 27, 2019.

Marita Lorenz (80) daughter of an American actress (June Paget) with whom she was interned as a child in a concentration camp and a father who commanded a U-boat fleet. Lorenz became pregnant from an affair with Fidel Castro but balked at poisoning him in an American-linked plot by Cuban counterrevolutionaries. Lorenz led a life so implausible that separating reality from what may be fantasy, or at any rate unprovable, is all but impossible. Her romance with Castro and another with Venezuelan generalissimo Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who fathered her daughter, both appear to have been confirmed. But whether she and Castro produced a son named Andre, who grew up to be a pediatrician in Cuba, is arguable. Lorenz died of cardiac failure in Oberhausen, Germany on August 31, 2019.

Robert Mugabe (95) former Zimbabwean leader, an ex-guerrilla chief who took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980 and presided over a country whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil and allegations of human rights violations. Mugabe enjoyed strong support among the population and even the West soon after taking over as prime minister and Zimbabwe’s first postcolonial leader. But he was reviled in later years as the economy collapsed and human rights violations increased. His often violent takeover of farms from whites who owned huge tracts of land made him a hated figure in the West and a hero in Africa. His popularity began to rise again after his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, failed to deliver on promises of economic recovery and appeared to take an even harsher and more repressive stance against critics. Forced to resign amid pressure from the military, his party, and the public in November 2017, Mugabe was defiant throughout his long life. He died in Singapore on August 30, 2019.

Nie Yuanzi (98) Chinese woman who rose to political prominence during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in the '60s. But when Mao’s successors turned on his Cultural Revolution, which had brought 10 years of upheaval, persecution, and purges, they also turned on Nie. She was imprisoned and made a political pariah, accused of persecuting innocent officials, scholars, and students. She died of respiratory failure in China on August 28, 2019.

Society and Religion

Frances Crowe (100) woman who for 75 years, since the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan to end World War II, dedicated herself to trying to make the world a more peaceful place. For decades Crowe was a fixture in the peace movement and in multiple causes for social justice that swirled around Northampton, Massachusetts, the college town where she raised her family. She was a pacifist for almost all her life. Her professional activism began in 1968, when she started counseling young men facing the draft during the Vietnam War about becoming conscientious objectors; 50 years later she was arrested for protesting the expansion of a natural gas pipeline through a state forest in western Massachusetts. She was 98 and in a wheelchair. Crowe died in Northampton, Massachusetts on August 27, 2019.

Sogyal Rinpoche (72) Tibetan Buddhist teacher and best-selling author who abruptly retired after several of his students accused him of multiple acts of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. In June 2019 Rinpoche's reputation as a popular teacher of Buddhism and longtime friend of the Dalai Lama’s unraveled when eight students wrote a damning, heart-rending letter that outlined allegations of years of abuse by Rinpoche against them. He received a diagnosis of colon cancer in September 2017 but died of a pulmonary embolism in Thailand on August 28, 2019.


Pal Benko (91) chess grandmaster, among the world’s best players for 20 years who gave up his place in the 1969–72 world championship cycle to Bobby Fischer (died 2008), paving the way for Fischer to become world champion. Benko was among the final eight participants in the tournaments to determine a challenger for the world championship in 1959 and ’62. Both times he failed to advance, finishing well behind his competitors. In 1970 Benko again qualified for the world championship cycle. Already 42 and past his peak as a competitive chess player, he ceded his place to Fischer, 15 years his junior. Benko died in Budapest, Hungary on August 26, 2019.

Franco Columbu (78) Italian bodybuilder, boxer, and actor, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s closest friends. Schwarzenegger, a bodybuilder before he turned to acting and politics, often referred to Columbu as the strongest man he ever knew. The two men built an enduring friendship after meeting in Germany in 1965. After starting his career as a boxer, Columbu progressed into Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and later bodybuilding, winning the title of Mr. Olympia in 1976 and ’81. Besides his athletic career, he acted on TV shows and in movies. He appeared in three of Schwarzenegger’s films: The Terminator, The Running Man, and Conan the Barbarian. Schwarzenegger chose his longtime friend to be his best man when he married Maria Shriver in 1986. Columbu died while vacationing in Olbia, Sardinia after he became ill while swimming in the sea, on August 30, 2019.

Jessi Combs (39) jet-car speed racer. Jet cars are race cars propelled by jet engines. Combs was attempting to break the Women’s Land Speed Record of 512 miles per hour set in 1976 by Kitty O’Neil. She currently held the record as the fastest woman on four wheels—O’Neil drove a three-wheeled vehicle—for a 398-mph performance in 2013 and had driven even faster in follow-up runs, but mechanical problems prevented those from making the record books. Combs was also an accomplished artist and craftswoman. She studied automotive design and fabrication and appeared as a host on Spike TV’s Extreme 4X4 before a freak accident with a piece of heavy machinery that broke her spine. After months of rehabilitation, she recovered and appeared on and guest-hosted several TV shows, including Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, while honing her skills as a professional driver for movies and commercials. She was killed in a crash while racing in a dry lake bed in Oregon’s Alvord Desert, a remote and sparsely populated region in southeastern Oregon, about 400 miles southeast of Portland, on August 27, 2019.

Jim Langer (71) Pro Football Hall of Fame center who was literally in the middle of the Miami Dolphins’ 1972 perfect season. Langer was a first-year starter and played every offensive down for the NFL’s only unbeaten, untied team that went 17-0. In 1973 he helped the Dolphins to repeat as Super Bowl champions and began a stretch of six consecutive Pro Bowl seasons for Miami while playing in 128 games in a row. A Minnesota native, Langer played linebacker at South Dakota State and went undrafted. He signed with Cleveland as a rookie in 1970 but was cut, joined the Dolphins, and made the team as a center in coach Don Shula’s first season with Miami. Langer was voted the Dolphins’ most valuable player in 1975 and played in the NFL until ‘81, spending his final two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He died of a sudden heart-related problem in Coon Rapids, Minnesota on August 29, 2019.

Nicolás Leon (90) longtime South American soccer executive and official of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) who had been under house arrest in Paraguay for the last four years, fighting extradition to the US. Leoz was indicted in 2015 in the US Justice Department’s investigation of bribery and financial corruption linked to broadcasting and sponsorship rights for soccer competitions, including the Copa Libertadores. He had been president of the South American soccer body CONMEBOL a Paraguay-based organization, from 1986–2013. One of his achievements as CONMEBOL president was to gain diplomatic immunity for its headquarters in Asunción, Paraguay as protection from prosecution. Leoz resigned from CONMEBO and his FIFA executive committee seat in 2013 before the FIFA ethics committee could punish him after longstanding allegations that he took kickbacks from World Cup revenues. He received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Swiss-based marketing agency International Sport & Leisure (ISL), which was selling World Cup TV rights. ISL’s collapse into bankruptcy in 2001 provoked a financial crisis for FIFA and led to a criminal trial in Switzerland. Leoz died of cardiac arrest linked to age-related ailments on August 28, 2019.

Vince Naimoli (81) original owner of the Tampa Bay Rays who ended the region’s long pursuit to land a major league team. The Tampa businessman was part of unsuccessful bids to purchase and relocate the Seattle Mariners and the San Francisco Giants, but in 1995 he finally got an American League expansion franchise that began play as the Devil Rays in ’98. Naimoli sold the club to a group led by current Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg in 2004 and relinquished control after the ‘05 season. In 2008 the perennial last-place team adopted new colors and shortened their nickname to Rays before making an improbable run to the World Series. The club never won more than 70 games during Naimoli’s time as managing general partner. He died in Lutz, Florida nearly five years after being diagnosed with an uncommon brain disorder, on August 25, 2019.

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