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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 16, 2019

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Zeke Bratkowski, Green Bay Packers starCarol Brightman, writer and biographerVera Clemente, widow of baseball player Roberto ClementeHarrison Dillard, US Olympic runnerJeanne Guillemin, medical anthropologist and scientific sleuthAlan Hagman, photojournalistJerry Hirshberg, Nissan designerRonald Lafferty, Mormon fundamentalist on death rowRick Ludwin, NBC executive who believed in 'Seinfeld'Branko Lustig, Oscar-winning Croatian film producer of 'Schindler's List'Irv Noren, Yankees bridge between DiMaggio and MantleTerry O'Neill, British photographerRaymond Poulidor, French cyclistMary Previte, survived WWII imprisonmentGary Regan, bartender and authorCharles Rogers, Detroit Lions receiverTom Spurgeon, chronicler of comic book industryJosephus Thimister, Dutch fashion designerBernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser PermanenteJorge Vergara, owner of Mexican soccer club Chivas of Guadalajara

Art and Literature

Carol Brightman (80) wrote a book on novelist and critic Mary McCarthy, then wrote another on what might be considered McCarthy’s polar opposite, the Grateful Dead. Early in her varied career, Brightman was known for her involvement in the issues of the ‘60s. Among other things, she founded Viet Report, a newsletter about the Vietnam War, in 1965. She traveled to both North Vietnam and Cuba during that period, one of the few Americans to do so. But she was perhaps best known for three books. In 1992 she published Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy & Her World, a biography of the sometimes controversial author of The Group (1963) and other novels. In 1995 Brightman edited Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt & Mary McCarthy, 1949–1975. Her next book, published in 1998, was Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead’s American Adventure. The book brought a nonfan’s perspective to the Grateful Dead phenomenon. Brightman died of advanced dementia in Damariscotta, Maine on November 11, 2019.

Terry O'Neill (81) British photographer whose images captured London’s Swinging ’60s and who created iconic portraits of Elton John, Brigitte Bardot, and Winston Churchill. O’Neill photographed the hottest stars of the mid- and late ’60s: Bardot, Raquel Welch, Michael Caine, Steve McQueen, Diana Ross, and Audrey Hepburn, plus many other big names over the course of a career that spanned decades, including model Kate Moss, Queen Elizabeth II, singers David Bowie and Amy Winehouse, and former first lady Laura Bush. O’Neill died in London, England after a long battle with cancer on November 16, 2019.

Tom Spurgeon (50) reporter and editor who gained prominence in the world of comic books and graphic novels, covering it in books, blogs, and a magazine. With Jordan Raphael, Spurgeon wrote the biography Stan Lee & the Rise & Fall of the American Comic Book (2003). In 2004, Spurgeon and Raphael started The Comics Reporter, a blog and news website that included Spurgeon’s in-depth interviews of comic creators. The site won the Eisner Award, the most prestigious in the comics business, in 2010, ’12, and ‘13 for best comics-related periodical/journalism. Spurgeon died in Columbus, Ohio on November 13, 2019.

Business and Science

Jeanne Guillemin (76) medical anthropologist and scientific sleuth who helped to expose a secret biological warfare lab in the Soviet Union as the source of a lethal anthrax outbreak. Guillemin was an advocate for curbing the use of biological and chemical weapons. In the ‘80s she and her husband, Matthew Meselson, a world-renowned molecular biologist at Harvard, undertook investigations into biological warfare and how government programs were misusing biomedical science. One of their most important investigations took place in 1992 in Russia, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. Along with a team of American and Russian scientists, they examined 66 of perhaps 100 anthrax deaths that occurred in 1979 in the Ural city of Sverdlovsk, now Yekaterinburg. The Soviet government claimed that the deaths were caused by the consumption of anthrax-tainted meat. American intelligence officials were skeptical, suspecting the anthrax was the result of Soviet experiments with biological weapons in violation of a 1972 international treaty. Guillemin's research, combined with meteorological data, pinpointed the lab as the source of the anthrax release. The pathogen contaminated humans, sheep, and cows in its path and remains the largest documented outbreak of human inhalation anthrax in the world. Guillemin died of cancer in Cambridge, Massachusetts on November 15, 2019.

Jerry Hirshberg (80) founding director of Nissan Design International in La Jolla, California and an innovator. Hirshberg was a musician, painter, and writer who in 1980 opened Nissan’s first design center outside Japan. He put his stamp on a fleet of cars, from the 1971 Buick “Boattail” Riviera to the ‘99 revival of Nissan’s sporty Z car. But he also designed golf clubs, laptop computers, children’s furniture, and a yacht. Equipped with the standard wood shop, metal shop, and modeling spaces, NDI was reminiscent of an Ivy League campus and a Buddhist temple. Outside was a lawn the size of a football field—the better to view automobiles from every angle—and a Japanese rock garden. At one point, the La Jolla facility was responsible for three-quarters of all Nissans on the road. Hirshberg died of glioblastoma, a brain cancer that had been diagnosed a year earlier, on November 10, 2019.

Gary Regan (68) British-born bartender, saloonkeeper, columnist, author, and mentor. in his The Joy of Mixology (first published in 2003), Regan catalogued cocktails and discussed the pros and cons of his occupation without romanticizing or disregarding overindulgence by bartenders or their customers. He also wrote “The Cocktalian,” a column for the San Francisco Chronicle; hosted a syndicated radio program with F. Paul Pacult, an expert on liquid spirits, called The Happy Hour; and created a Worldwide Bartender Database. He also expanded into the liquor business by developing Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6. Regan died of pneumonia in Newburgh, New York on November 15, 2019.

Josephus Thimister (57) Dutch fashion designer who had run the house of Balenciaga for five years, started his own couture and ready-to-wear collections, and been crowned by Vogue as one of the new century’s “fashion stars.” But at his death, aside from a small group of fashion insiders with long memories, most people did not know his name. Thimister was a casualty of fashion’s transition from creative hothouse of individuality to global industry. He was among the last in a line of designers who came of age in the late ‘80s and ’90s still believing in purity of concept and allegiance to the creative muse above all else, only to discover that in the 21st century, marketing and constant streams of stuff were the new benchmarks of success, that the catch-phrase wasn’t “vision” but rather a “vision statement.” Thimister committed suicide in Paris, France on November 13, 2019.

Bernard J. Tyson (60) chairman and chief executive of health care provider Kaiser Permanente. Tyson was the first black to head Kaiser as CEO when he took that position in 2013 after filling several roles over 30 years at the company. Tyson, who worked at Kaiser for more than 30 years in roles including hospital administrator and chief operating officer, had been on Time magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people and one of the “Health Care 50.” Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente grew under Tyson’s leadership from 9.1 million members and 174,000 employees to 12.3 million members and 218,000 employees. Its network of 17,000 physicians grew to 23,000, and annual revenue increased from $53 billion to more than $82.8 billion. Tyson died in his sleep in Oakland, California on November 10, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Alan Hagman (55) veteran Los Angeles Times photographer who captured southern California images with his camera and as an editor told stories from Seattle to Singapore with powerful pictures. Hagman died in Long Beach, California, reportedly of a heart attack, on November 11, 2019.

Rick Ludwin (71) on Seinfeld, a running gag depicted NBC executives’ bewilderment about a “show about nothing.” In real life, there were plenty of doubts early on about the Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David creation, but one NBC executive saw the potential. Ludwin joined NBC in 1980 and spent 32 years at the peacock network, ultimately achieving the rank of executive vice president of late night and specials programming. Over the years he worked with nearly every host of The Tonight Show. He also helped to produce comedy specials starring entertainment titan Bob Hope. Ludwin was the man who commissioned, and championed, an offbeat, 23-minute pilot called “The Seinfeld Chronicles” in 1989. NBC entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff famously fretted that the show came across as “too New York” and “too Jewish” for mainstream audiences. The show bombed when it was screened for a test audience, adding to the concerns of NBC brass. But Ludwin, who had never overseen a comedy before, refused to give up. He lobbied for the show and used money from the specials budget to pay for four additional episodes so audiences could get a better sense of the show’s distinctive sense of humor. It ran for nine years (1989–98). Ludwin died in Los Angeles, California on November 10, 2019.

Branko Lustig (87) Oscar-winning Croatian film producer and Holocaust survivor. Lustig was best known for winning Oscars for Best Picture for Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1994) and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000). He was also an assistant director on Volker Schlondorff’s Oscar-winning The Tin Drum (1979) and was a local production supervisor on Alan J. Pakula’s Sophie’s Choice (1982), another Oscar winner. Lustig was born in the eastern Croatian town of Osijek, part of Yugoslavia at the time. In World War II he was imprisoned at Auschwitz and later in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Most members of Lustig’s family were slain during the wartime rule of the Croatian pro-Nazi puppet Ustasha regime. He died of heart failure in Zagreb, capital of his native Croatia, on November 14, 2019.

Society and Religion

Ronald Lafferty (78) Mormon fundamentalist on death row for what he claimed were the divinely inspired murders of his sister-in-law and baby niece in 1984. The case against Lafferty, who was convicted of two counts of murder, became widely known after it was featured in the 2003 book Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. The book, which detailed Lafferty’s brutal crime, messianic delusions, and decades of appeals, was criticized as antireligious by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No execution date had been set, but Richard Piatt, a spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's office, said Lafferty's execution would most likely have occurred in 2020. Lafferty had chosen to die by firing squad, but he died of natural causes at the Utah State Prison in Draper, roughly 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, on November 11, 2019.

Mary Previte (87) child of missionaries who became a teacher, an administrator of a center for troubled youths, and a New Jersey legislator. But perhaps her most transformative experience was of imprisonment and liberation during World War II. Previte spent more than three years of her childhood in a Japanese concentration camp in occupied China, until a team of six American paratroopers and their Chinese translator rescued her at the end of the war. She never forgot them and resolved to find them and thank them face to face. For two years, starting in 1997, she crisscrossed the US in her search for her saviors. Of the seven, two had died. Previte found four. It took her 18 more years to find the last one, Wang Cheng-Han, the Chinese interpreter, who by then was 91 and the only one still living. In 2016 she flew to China to reunite with him. Previte died from injuries she sustained after being struck by a car on November 11 while on a morning walk in her hometown, Haddonfield, New Jersey. She died five days later in Camden, New Jersey on November 16, 2019.


Zeke Bratkowski (88) quarterback who backed up Bart Starr during the Green Bay Packers’ ‘60s dynasty. The Packers Hall of Famer was a quarterback in Green Bay from 1963–68 and again in ’71. One of Bratkowski’s most notable performances in relief of an injured Starr came in 1965, a 13-10 overtime playoff win over the Baltimore Colts that sent the Packers to the title game against Cleveland. They beat the Browns for what was the first of three straight championship seasons, and Bratkowski played briefly in both Super Bowl wins in the two years that followed. His death comes six months after Starr died at age 85. Under coach Vince Lombardi, Starr led Green Bay to six division titles, five NFL championships, and wins in the first two Super Bowls. Bratkowski died of a heart attack in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida on November 11, 2019.

Vera Clemente (78) widow of Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente and a goodwill ambassador for Major League Baseball. Vera and Roberto Clemente got married in November 1964, according to the Roberto Clemente Foundation. Roberto Clemente was a 15-time All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Vera Clemente was chairwoman of the foundation, which works “to promote positive change and community engagement through the example and inspiration of Roberto.” She died in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 16, 2019.

Harrison Dillard (96) former Buffalo Soldier and only Olympic runner to win gold medals in both the sprints and high hurdles. The 1955 Sullivan Award winner was the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete. Dillard was the oldest living US Olympic champion. He was a sharpshooter in the last racially segregated unit in the US Army in World War II, serving as a Buffalo Soldier in the 92nd Infantry Division. He returned to Europe a few years later for the Olympics. In the 1948 London Games, Dillard won the 100 meters in 10.3 seconds and earned another gold medal on the US 400 relay team. At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, he won his specialty, the 110 high hurdles, in 13.91, and again ran on the winning relay team. Overall, he won more than 400 races—82 in a row at one point. He won 11 indoor and outdoor national championships, including the indoor 60-yard hurdles a record eight consecutive years. He won that event at the Millrose Games nine years in a row and held world hurdles records at 60 yards indoors and 110 yards and 220 yards outdoors. Dillard died of stomach cancer in Cleveland, Ohio on November 15, 2019.

Irv Noren (94) the New York Yankees had a problem in the spring of 1952. Joe DiMaggio had retired, and Mickey Mantle, proclaimed as a future Hall of Fame center fielder, was sidelined after undergoing knee surgery. The Yankees acquired Noren, the Washington Senators’ center fielder who had driven in 184 runs in his first two seasons, in a multiplayer deal in early May. Noren held down center field until Mantle returned later that month, then played at all three outfield spots and occasionally at first base for the rest of his career. He played for the Yankee teams that won World Series championships in 1952–53 and ‘56 and that captured the ‘55 AL pennant, losing to the Dodgers in their only World Series championship season in Brooklyn. Noren was best remembered for his All-Star season in 1954, when he led the Yankees in hitting with a .319 average. He died in Carlsbad, California on November 15, 2019.

Raymond Poulidor (83) “eternal runner-up” whose repeated failure to win the Tour de France helped him to conquer French hearts and become the country’s all-time favorite cyclist. Decades after his career ended, Poulidor was still adored in a nation where sports fans love to pull for “magnificent losers.” The fact that he never wore the yellow jersey—and never quite got the better of his rivals Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx—became his trademark. Outside cycling’s circles, his status as a nearly man eclipsed the achievements of Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, the two French members of the elite club of five-time Tour winners. Poulidor died in his hometown of Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, in central France, on November 13, 2019.

Charles Rogers (38) former Michigan State football star and Detroit Lions receiver. At Michigan State, Rogers was an All-American wide receiver who had 135 receptions for 2,821 yards in two seasons. He was college football’s top receiver in 2002 and the second overall pick in the ‘03 NFL draft. Rogers scored twice in his NFL debut but suffered a broken collarbone that ended his rookie season and suffered the same injury a year later. He failed a drug test in 2005 and was cut entering the next season. He had 36 career receptions for 440 yards receiving and four touchdowns in 15 NFL games. He was Michigan State’s all-time leader in touchdown catches with 27 and ranked third in school history in receiving yards and eighth in catches, all in just two seasons. He had a school-record 12 career 100-yard receiving games and was the only Spartans receiver with multiple 200-yard receiving games (school-record 270 vs. Fresno State in 2001 and 206 vs. Wisconsin in ‘01). Rogers suffered from cancer but died of liver failure in Fort Myers, Florida on November 11, 2019.

Jorge Vergara (64) owner of Mexican soccer club Chivas of Guadalajara and former owner of failed MLS club Chivas USA. A flamboyant self-made billionaire who loved motorcycles and soccer, Vergara took over a failing franchise in 2002 and guided it to the championship of Mexico’s Apertura season in ‘06, along the way making Chivas, alongside Mexico City’s Club America, one of the country’s most popular teams. But Vergara’s impatience also led him to change coaches 28 times in 17 years, and that, combined with a volatile personality and love of the spotlight, earned comparisons to US owners such as Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner. Vergara saw Chivas as a national treasure and managed it that way. He died of a heart attack in New York City on November 15, 2019.

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