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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 23, 2019

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Michael J. Pollard, character actorGuido Badano, officer on 'Andrea Doria'Jake Burton Carpenter, made a sport of snowboardingStephen Cleobury, music director at King’s College, Cambridge, EnglandNick Clifford, last living worker at Mount RushmoreFred Cox, Minnesota Vikings place kickerBarbara Hillary, first black woman to reach North and South PolesRaymond Kappe, southern California architectDrothy Seymour Mills, uncredited cowriter of baseball historyWalter J. Minton, publisher of 'Lolita'Wat Misaka, first Japanese player in early basketball leagueHarry Morton, restaurant mogulEthel Paley, NYC social workerMarilyn Saviola, advocate for disabledDorothy Seiberling, former art editor at 'Life'Rabbi Henry Sobel, human rights activistGahan Wilson, bizarre cartoonist of 'New Yorker,' 'Playboy'Marilyn Yalom, feminist author and historian

Art and Literature

Dorothy Seymour Mills (91) collaborated for more than 30 years on a landmark three-volume history of baseball with her first husband, Harold Seymour—although he refused to credit her. The Seymours’ work, which traced organized baseball from its roots until 1930 in the first two books, then detoured to amateur baseball in the third, has long been considered the first significant scholarly account of baseball’s past. Mills played numerous roles in the creation of Baseball: The Early Years (1960), Baseball: The Golden Age (1971), and Baseball: The People’s Game (1990). She was their primary researcher, scouring libraries and archives throughout the country. She organized the project, edited the books before they were submitted for publication, typed the manuscripts, and prepared the indexes. And she wrote a large part of the final book. Yet each volume bore only Seymour’s name. In each book Mills was simply one of many people thanked in the acknowledgments. It took nearly 20 years after Seymour’s death in 1992 for Mills to get her due. She died of complications from an ulcer in Tucson, Arizona on November 17, 2019.

Dorothy Seiberling (97) magazine editor who championed modern artists. As Life magazine’s art editor, Seiberling helped to shape public opinion about the 20th century’s foremost avant-gardist artists, encouraging open-minded consideration of their importance. Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keeffe were already renowned by the time Seiberling produced feature articles on them, but their legacies were in question. Some art critics had written off Pollock’s Abstract Expressionist work, particularly his celebrated “drip paintings,” as chaotic and unintentional, and O’Keeffe’s as explicitly feminine. Seiberling died in Wilmington, Delaware on November 23, 2019.

Gahan Wilson (89) cartoonist whose outlandish, often ghoulish cartoons added a humorous touch to Playboy, The New Yorker, National Lampoon, and other publications in the era when magazines propelled the cultural conversation. Wilson was known for visual surprises and black humor: a steward tells a couple on a cruise ship, “I’ve passed your complaints along to the captain.” while in the background the captain, a violent-looking pirate, approaches. Shown above, two fishermen on a hired boat ask the captain, a disguised fish, “How did you come to name your boat the Revenge, Captain?” Wilson died of dementia in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 21, 2019.

Marilyn Yalom (87) feminist author and cultural historian whose subjects included the history of women as partners in marriage and the history of the female breast. Yalom was a professor of French language and literature in the mid-‘70s, as the women’s movement was gaining steam, when she switched to feminist scholarship at what is now Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. While she had already written several academic works, she did not start writing her more notable books until her late 50s. One of the first was Maternity, Mortality & the Literature of Madness (1985), which suggests a link between madness and motherhood in some female writers, including Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. Yalom’s best-known works include Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women’s Memory (1993), A History of the Breast (1997), A History of the Wife (2001), Birth of the Chess Queen: A History (2004), and How the French Invented Love (2012). She died of multiple myeloma in Palo Alto, California on November 20, 2019.


Business and Science

Walter J. Minton (96) publishing scion and risk taker with a self-described “nasty streak” who as head of G. P. Putnam’s Sons released works by Norman Mailer and Terry Southern among others and signed up Vladimir Nabokov’s scandalous Lolita. The son of longtime Putnam president Melville Minton, Walter Minton was in his early 30s when he inherited the position in 1955 after his father’s death and remained until he was forced out in ‘78 by corporate parent MCA. Minton presided over an era of profit and growth, including the acquisition of the Berkley Publishing Corp., although his abrupt style didn’t gain him affection. He died in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on November 19, 2019.

Harry Morton (38) restaurant mogul, son of the Hard Rock Cafe chain cofounder and grandson of the Morton’s The Steakhouse founder. Harry Morton was also an owner of the Viper Room nightclub in West Hollywood and had been romantically linked to several celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan and Demi Moore. His father, Peter, cofounded the Hard Rock Cafe chain, and his grandfather, Arnie, founded Morton’s The Steakhouse. Harry Morton was vice president of development for the Hard Rock chain after working summers at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Pink Taco, a restaurant business that he founded and previously owned, confirmed his death in a statement. He died in Beverly Hills, California on November 23, 2019.


Education

Raymond Kappe (92) architect who with colleagues founded a progressive architecture school, the New School, soon to become the influential Southern California Institute of Architecture, or SCI-Arc, opened in 1972 with 75 students at its original Santa Monica campus. Kappe was also a prolific architect in his own right. He worked on more than 200 architectural projects, many of them embodying the California ideal of seamless indoor/outdoor living. Decades ahead of his time, his graceful modern houses advanced the benefits of green building and, in some cases, revitalized communities. He died of pneumonia on November 21, 2019.


News and Entertainment

Stephen Cleobury (70) for 37 years was music director at King’s College, Cambridge, England—which among other things meant he led one of the most beloved holiday musical events on the planet, the Christmas Eve performance by the college’s celebrated choir. Cleobury, who stepped down from his post just this past September, was a well-regarded organist when he was named to the King’s College position in 1982. Besides leading the Choir of King’s College, he oversaw assorted other choral groups and from 1995–2007 was chief conductor of the BBC Singers, the noted chamber choir. But he was most often in the news in connection with the Christmas Eve performance, part of A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols, a service in the King’s College Chapel broadcast on hundreds of radio stations around the world. Cleobury recorded numerous albums with the choir and toured with it regularly, maintaining and enhancing its standing as one of the great guardians of a choral tradition stretching back centuries. He died of cancer in York, England on November 22, 2019.

Michael J. Pollard (80) actor who rose to fame in the 1967 hit film Bonnie & Clyde as C. W. Moss, the dim-witted gas station attendant who became a criminal accomplice and had a long career as a Hollywood character actor. Pollard had been a familiar face on TV since the late ‘50s. He most often played likable but socially inept characters and usually ranked fairly far down on the cast list. On two separate shows he played the cousin of a beloved supporting character—Jerome Krebs, cousin to Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and Virgil, cousin to Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), on The Andy Griffith Show. He also had a memorable role in the first season of the TV series Star Trek in 1966, playing a creepy, mischievous teenage cult leader on a planet of children. But his performance in Bonnie & Clyde, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor, raised his profile—and changed the way Hollywood saw him. Pollard died of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, California on November 20, 2019.


Society and Religion

Guido Badano (92) officer aboard the Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria. Badano, then 29, was asleep in his bunk when two short blasts from the ship’s whistle, signaling an impending turn to the left, jolted him awake. It was shortly after 11 o’clock on the night of July 25, 1956. Seconds later he heard the sound of fracturing metal. He grabbed a flashlight and his life jacket and raced to the bridge. The Andrea Doria, en route from Genoa to New York with 1,134 passengers and 572 crew members, had collided with the smaller European-bound Swedish liner Stockholm in dense fog some 45 miles south of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. The Stockholm’s bow ripped an enormous hole in the Doria’s starboard side, causing her to list severely; 11 hours later, with all the Andrea Doria’s surviving passengers having been rescued by ships responding to an SOS, Badano watched it disappear into the Atlantic. But 43 passengers died—in the wreckage of their cabins, or perhaps when they were swept into the sea at the moment of impact—and three others died shortly after the collision. So ended what was arguably the most dramatic peacetime episode at sea since the Titanic sank in 1912. Badano died in Alassio, a seaside resort town in the north of Italy on November 19, 2019.

Nick Clifford (98) last living worker who helped to construct Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota's Black Hills. At 17 Nick Clifford was the youngest worker hired to work at Mount Rushmore. He operated a winch that carried workers up and down the mountain where the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were carved, and he drilled holes for dynamite. Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln, decided in 1938 to field a baseball team and hired Clifford, who already was a veteran pitcher and right fielder. Clifford worked on Mount Rushmore from 1938–40, earning 55 cents an hour. Between 1927–41, nearly 400 men and a few women worked on the memorial, which is now visited by nearly 3 million people annually. In 2004 Clifford and his wife wrote his story in a book, Mount Rushmore Q&A. Clifford signed copies at the memorial’s gift shop. He died in Rapid City, South Dakota on November 23, 2019.

Barbara Hillary (88) was in her 70s when she became the first black woman to officially make it to the North and South Poles. Hillary reached the North Pole in 2007 at age 75 and the South Pole in ‘11 at age 79. She had retired from a nursing career and survived separate occurrences of breast and lung cancer when she started traveling in the Arctic. She took on the challenge of making it to the Poles after learning no black woman was on record as having done so. Afterward she became a public speaker. Hillary died in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York on November 23, 2019.

Ethel Paley (99) social worker who for 35 years was at the forefront of helping nursing home patients and their families to navigate the health care system, redress hidden abuses in treatment, and lobby for systemic solutions. From the organization’s inception at the height of the scandals over nursing home care in New York in 1976 until it went broke in 2011 after the recession, Paley dedicated her career to Friends & Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged, a nonprofit organization of which she was founding executive director. Even after she stepped down from that post in 1979, she continued to serve the agency and her elderly peers for decades, well into her own advanced age, as president, board member, paid staff member, and volunteer. She died in New York City on November 18, 2019.

Marilyn Saviola (74) after childhood polio left her a quadriplegic, Saviola spent much of her adult life advocating for people with disabilities, pushing for the removal of both the physical barriers and the attitudes that hinder people like her from fully participating in society. She joined the battle for the rights of people with disabilities back when it was still relatively new, while in college in the late ‘60s. She was executive director of the advocacy group Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York from 1983–99, then spent the next 20 years with Independence Care System, running its advocacy and women’s health program. Those roles put her in the midst of the push for obvious accommodations like curb cuts in sidewalks and less obvious ones like financing for personal aides for people who need help dressing, bathing, and getting in and out of wheelchairs. In the summer of 2019 she was honored at the opening of a newly renovated radiology unit at NYC Health & Hospitals/Gotham Health in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. She died in Brooklyn, New York on November 23, 2019.

Rabbi Henry Sobel (75) leading human rights activist during Brazil’s military dictatorship. Sobel was born in Lisbon to a family of Polish immigrants and became a rabbi in New York. He arrived in Brazil in the ‘70s and stayed for 30 years. His biggest challenge to Brazil’s dictatorship came in 1975 after the killing of journalist Vladimir Herzog in prison. Authorities falsely claimed Herzog had committed suicide. Sobel decided to bury Herzog in the middle of a Jewish cemetery instead in one of the corners, as often happens to faithful who take their own lives. Sobel died of lung cancer in Miami, Florida on November 22, 2019.


Sports

Jake Burton Carpenter (65) Carpenter was not the inventor of the snowboard. But 12 years after Sherman Poppen tied together a pair of skis with a rope to create what was then called a “Snurfer,” the 23-year-old entrepreneur, then known only as Jake Burton, quit his job in Manhattan, moved back to Vermont, and went about dreaming of how far a snowboard might take him. For years Burton’s snowboards were largely snubbed at resorts—their dimensions too untested, their riders too unrefined, their dangers all too real—and many wouldn’t allow them to share the slopes with the cultured ski elite in Colorado or California or, heaven forbid, the Swiss Alps. But those riders were a force of nature, and for all their risk-taking, rule-breaking, sidewinding trips down the mountain, they spent money, too. Throughout the last 10 years, snowboarders have accounted for more than 25 per cent of visitors to mountain resorts in the US. They have bankrolled a business worth more than $1 billion annually—a big chunk of which is spent on Burton gear. Carpenter died of complications stemming from a relapse of testicular cancer on November 20, 2019.

Fred Cox (80) former Minnesota Vikings kicker, one of the last of the straight-on place kickers and a standout on several conference championship teams. Cox, who also cocreated the Nerf football, scored a Minnesota-record 1,365 points in his 15 seasons, often kicking in nasty conditions because the Vikings played outdoors during his career from 1963–77. When he retired, he was second in NFL history in scoring behind George Blanda—who also played quarterback—and had made 282 field goals. Cox was one of 11 Vikings to play in all four of the team’s Super Bowls, all defeats. He kicked in 18 postseason games; during his playing days he also got a chiropractor’s license. An All-Pro in 1969, Cox twice led the league in scoring while using a square-toed shoe to do his kicking. On a team with several Hall of Famers, including Fran Tarkenton, Carl Eller, Alan Page, and Paul Krause, Cox also was a standout. He died in Monticello, Minnesota on November 20, 2019.

Wat Misaka (95) first player of Japanese descent to play in the league that was the predecessor to the NBA. Mikasa was point guard on the Utah team that won the NCAA Tournament in 1944 and the NIT in ’47. He played three games for the New York Knicks during the 1947–48 season in the Basketball Association of America. A 2008 documentary called Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story told the story of what Misaka went through as a trailblazing athlete. He died in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 20, 2019.


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