Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 30, 2019

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

Ruth Anderson, electronic composerFrank Biondi, media executiveIrving Burgie, popular composerAndrew Clements, author of children's booksRev. George Clements, Chicago priestHarold Cruse, gay underground cartoonistTerry de Havilland, '70s British shoe designer to celebritiesGodfrey Gao, Taiwanese-Canadian model-actorBrad Gobright, California rock climberGoo Hara, South Korean pop starAdm. James L. Holloway 3rd, retired chief of US naval operationsMichael Howard, British military historianHeidi Hynes, Bronx community leaderClive James, Australian journalist who made it in BritainCarolyn Konheim, history teacher turned environmentalistWilliam E. Macauley, energy investor and philanthropistMarion McClinton, Tony-noininated stage directorJonathan Miller, British stage director, filmmaker, and comedianDr. Fitzhugh Mullan, health-care crusaderYasuhiro Nakasone, former Japanese prime ministerDion Neutra, architect son of 20th-century architect Richard NeutraEdna Smith Primus, first black woman to graduate from South Carolina School of LawGarth C. Reeves, former publisher of weekly 'Miami Times'Dr. John B. Robbins, coinventor of meningitis vaccineRaeanne Rubenstein, photographer of stars from both rock and country musicWilliam D. Ruckelshaus, left Nixon administration over 'Saturday Night Massacre'Robert F. X. Sillerman, entertainment businessmanJohn. Simon, theater and film criticSeymour Siwoff, sports statisticianAlfred E. Smith 4th, great-grandson and namesake of NY governorGoar Vartanyan with her late husband, Gevork, Russian spies

Art and Literature

Andrew Clements (70) author of children's books who used his experience during a brief career as a teacher in Illinois in writing two dozen books for young readers, most notably Frindle, which sold more than eight million copies. Frindle came about almost accidentally when Clements, already established as a writer of texts for children’s picture books, was talking to a group of first- and second-graders about where words come from. “People made up all these words,” he said. But when the children did not believe him, he pulled a pen from his pocket and said that if they started calling it a “frindle” and persuaded others to use the word, it might take hold. Frindle tells the story of Nicholas, a mischievous boy who bedevils his fifth-grade teacher by persuading all his classmates to refer to a pen as a frindle. Clements’ books have been praised for their portrayal of the dynamics between students and teachers. He died in West Baldwin, Maine on November 28, 2019.

Harold Cruse (75) gay underground cartoonist who used his own life as a source for “Wendel,” a comic strip that ran for several years in The Advocate, and Stuck Rubber Baby, a graphic novel set in the South in the ‘60s. Cruse was not as famous as underground comics stars like R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman, but his artistic influence was strong, especially among other gay cartoonists. In the early ‘80s he was the first editor of Gay Comix, a series of comic books that showcased his work and that of women like Roberta Gregory and Mary Wings. Cruse then developed “Wendel,” a strip about a man and his lover in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. He died of lymphoma in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on November 26, 2019.

Dion Neutra (93) son of 20th-century architect Richard Neutra and a practitioner in his own right who also waged a decades-long war to save his father’s iconic buildings from the ravages of time, remodeling, and demolition. As the scion of an architecture practice synonymous with International Style modernism, Neutra was a link to the generation of 20th-century architectural titans that included his father, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Louis Kahn, and Rudolph Schindler. Dion Neutra died in his sleep at his home on Neutra Place in Silver Lake, California, a neighborhood studded with Neutra architecture, on November. 24, 2019.

Raeanne Rubenstein (74) whose photographs captured the stars and the energy of two different worlds—the art-and-rock scene in New York beginning in the late ‘60s and, soon after that, the country music world of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and others. Rubenstein photographed Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Jimi Hendrix, and countless others who were part of the New York scene in the late ‘60s and early ’70s. Camping out at places like the Fillmore East, the storied rock venue on Second Avenue near East Sixth Street, she grabbed both backstage images and performance shots. Her work first appeared in publications like the East Village Other, an alternative newspaper, but before long it was turning up in Rolling Stone and mainstream magazines, including People and Life. Rubenstein died of cardiac arrest in Nashville, Tennessee on November 30, 2019.

Business and Science

Terry de Havilland (81) British footwear designer to the stars. In the ‘70s, De Havilland offered gravity-defying wedges with metallic accents, bondage boots, and winkle-pickers in his favorite psychedelic colors, inspired by his frequent trips on LSD. A noted party boy, his output included python boots for Rudolf Nureyev, black leather thigh-high boots with red satin lining for Jacqueline Onassis, spangled platforms for David Bowie, and for model Kate Moss, a pair of bright red snakeskin platforms decorated with a vulgarity written in Swarovski crystals. His shop, Cobblers to the World, with its mirrored walls and purple velvet benches, opened in 1972 and became party central. His designs ran from acid green to peach. His cowgirl boots featured glittering stilettos. His clientele included the Beatles and Elton John. De Havilland became known as “the rock ’n’ roll cobbler.” He died in London, England on November 27, 2019.

William E. Macauley (74) billionaire energy investor whose record $30 million gift to City University of New York has given thousands of select students the same opportunity he was accorded 50 years ago as a middle-class teenager from the Bronx—to graduate tuition-free from an elite college. Macaulay made his fortune in energy company buyouts, overseeing the transformation of the First Reserve Corp., which he acquired in 1983, into one of the field’s largest private-equity firms. He was chief executive until 2015, shared the title until ‘17, and had been executive chairman since then. Macauley and his wife also contributed to the American Museum of Natural History; the Rogosin Institute, a kidney treatment and research center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital & Weill Cornell Medical College; and the Macaulay Library at the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. Macaulay died of a heart attack in Cleveland, Ohio on November 26, 2019.

Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan (77) physician, administrator, and professor who spent a lifetime pushing back against what he saw as inequities in the health-care system that left minority groups and low-income people underserved. Mullan had an earlier encounter with cancer in the mid-‘70s, when he was 32. He turned that experience into a book, Vital Signs: A Young Doctor’s Struggle with Cancer, and in 1986 he was among the founders of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. But his main interest was in bringing social justice to the health-care system, which he saw as fundamentally flawed both in how it recruits, trains, and motivates doctors and in how it delivers care. Mullan died of lung cancer in Bethesda, Maryland on November 29, 2019.

Dr. John B. Robbins (86) pioneer in vaccinology and one of the inventors of the first effective defense against a form of meningitis that once killed more than 1,000 infants a day worldwide. By some estimates, Robbins’ vaccine against the illness, called Hib meningitis, has saved 7 million lives since it was licensed in 1989. In the pre-vaccine days, finding Hib bacteria under a microscope in a baby’s spinal fluid meant that, even with antibiotics, the child was at risk of permanent brain damage, deafness, or death. Before the vaccine, Hib meningitis killed about 400,000 children a year. Since then the disease has been largely relegated to the medical history books. Robbins died of prostate cancer in New York City on November 27, 2019.

Alfred E. Smith 4th (68) maintained the legacy of his great-grandfather, Al Smith (died 1944), the New York governor of the '20s known as “the Happy Warrior,” by good-naturedly ribbing presidential aspirants and other leaders as Master of Ceremonies (emcee) at an annual white-tie charity dinner. The younger Smith was chief executive of A. E. Smith Associates, a business consulting firm he founded in 2009, and a director of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation. Cardinal Francis Spellman established the foundation in 1946 to memorialize Alfred E. Smith, the four-term Democrat governor of New York and the first Catholic candidate nominated by a major party for president. Al Smith 4th was a vice chairman of the foundation and emcee of what became known as the Al Smith dinner, a New York political institution hosted by the archbishop of New York and highlighted every four years by a roast of the two major-party presidential candidates. In 1984 Walter F. Mondale skipped the dinner. In 1996 Smith was tasked with uninviting Bill Clinton for failing to support a partial ban on abortion. In 2004 the campaign was so polarized that neither President George W. Bush nor Sen. John Kerry was invited. Alfred Smith 4th died of a heart attack in New Canaan, Connecticut on November 27, 2019.


Carolyn Konheim (81) woman whose sons’ soot-specked white snowsuits converted her from a high school history teacher into a crusading New York environmentalist who targeted water and air pollutants, congested streets, and other scourges of modern urban life. Konheim and her husband, Brian Ketcham, were partners in Konheim & Ketcham, a consulting firm that prepared environmental impact statements and conducted pollution-abatement surveys for governments and private clients from 1981–2007. They also volunteered their expertise to civic groups concerned about the effects of development in their neighborhoods, operating through a nonprofit group, Community Consulting Services, from 1993–2012. Konheim died of Parkinson’s disease and dementia in Brooklyn, New York on November 25, 2019.


Edna Smith Primus (75) had graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law—the first black woman to do so, in 1972—when barely one year later she was assigned a case that could have jeopardized her career. Primus had been working at the time for the South Carolina Council on Human Rights as a volunteer lawyer when it sent her to Aiken, SC, where an obstetrician had refused to deliver babies to women on welfare with two or more children unless they agreed to be sterilized. The doctor’s refusal came amid a national public outcry over reports in the early ‘70s that poor women, most of them black, were being involuntarily sterilized in the South. Primus was sent to Aiken to talk to mothers involved in the controversy there, some of whom had consented to sterilization. She told one woman who had undergone the procedure that the American Civil Liberties Union, for which Primus also volunteered, would represent her free of charge if she filed a lawsuit against the doctor. Instead, the doctor accused Primus of violating professional ethics by soliciting potential clients for personal financial gain, although she was not being compensated. The ACLU took Primus’s case all the way to the US Supreme Court and won. She died in Columbia, South Carolina on November 29, 2019.

News and Entertainment

Ruth Anderson (91) electronic composer who created a relatively small but foresighted body of work, including pieces that used bits of recorded speech turned into music. Anderson, who made her living chiefly as a flutist in her 20s and as a free-lance orchestrator in her 30s, was best known for having founded, in 1968, an electronic music studio at Hunter College in New York, where she taught composition and theory from 1966–89. She had been introduced to the possibilities of electronic sound while studying in the ‘60s at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, where she was encouraged by Vladimir Ussachevsky, the center’s leader. Anderson died of lung cancer in the Bronx, New York on November 29, 2019.

Frank Biondi (74) helped to shape the modern-day media industry while managing companies such as Viacom, Universal Studios, and HBO. A highly regarded businessman, Biondi helped to build HBO and Viacom into formidable entertainment companies and oversaw some of the most popular media brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures, during the ‘80s and ‘90s. He also was chairman and chief executive of Universal Studios in the late ‘90s. Biondi was a razor-sharp and low-key business executive who could negotiate a complex merger but was also known for his unflappable and straightforward demeanor, which was often in sharp contrast to the sometimes contentious personalities he worked for. He died of bladder cancer in Los Angeles, California on November 25, 2019.

Irving Burgie (95) composer who helped to popularize Caribbean music and cowrote the Harry Belafonte hit “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” Written in 1952, the song has appeared in everything from the film and Broadway musical Beetlejuice to an E-Trade commercial. “Day-O” was also the wake-up call for the astronauts on two Space Shuttle missions in the ‘90s. Burgie’s songs have sold over 100 million records throughout the world. Many were recorded by Belafonte, including eight of the 11 songs on his 1956 album, Calypso, the first album to sell over 1 million copies in the US. Burgie also wrote songs for the Kingston Trio (“The Seine,” “El Matador,” and “The Wanderer”) and for other groups. His “Jamaica Farewell” has been recorded by Belafonte, Jimmy Buffett, Carly Simon, and others. He died in Brooklyn, New York on November 29, 2019.

Godfrey Gao (35):Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor. Gao was filming a sports reality show in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo when he died. He was filming Chase Me, a Chinese variety series, when he reportedly fell while running. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Gao initially rose to fame by becoming the first Asian male model for the luxury brand Louis Vuitton. He acted in numerous TV dramas and movies, including a role in the Hollywood film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. He died after suffering an apparent heart attack while on set in China on November 27, 2019.

Goo Hara (28) K-pop star and TV celebrity. Hara made her debut in 2008 as a member of the girl group Kara, which had big followings in South Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries. She later worked as a solo artist and appeared on many TV shows. In May, Hara was reportedly found unconscious at her home and was hospitalized. She was embroiled in 2018 in public disputes with an ex-boyfriend who claimed to be assaulted by her. Hara accused the man of having threatened to circulate a sex video of her. The case made her the subject of tabloid fodder and malicious online messages. In October, another K-pop star and actress, Sulli, was found dead at her home near Seoul. The 25-year-old was known for her feminist voice and outspokenness that was rare among female entertainers in deeply conservative South Korea. Hara was found dead at her home in Seoul, South Korea, on November 24, 2019.

Clive James (80) Australian journalist, joker, and intellectual who had a long career as a writer and broadcaster in the United Kingdom. At Cambridge University James was president in 1966–67 of the Footlights, the university club that spawned stars, including Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, and Sacha Baron Cohen. James eventually wrote poetry, contributed to the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books, wrote books, reviewed TV for the Daily Telegraph, and hosted Saturday Night Clive, The Clive James Show, and other TV programs. He had been diagnosed with leukemia and emphysema, and he suffered kidney failure in 2010. He died in Cambridge, England, north of London, on November 24, 2019.

Marion McClinton (65) stage director, a favorite of playwright August Wilson who took two of Wilson's plays to Broadway, earning a 2001 Tony Award nomination for best direction for the first, King Hedley II. McClinton, who was also an actor and playwright, did some of his most acclaimed directing off-Broadway and in regional theaters, especially in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, his home base. On Broadway, McClinton also directed Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in 2003 and Regina Taylor’s Drowning Crow in ’04. His other New York productions included Jar the Floor, Cheryl L. West’s comic drama, a hit at Second Stage Theater in 1999. McClinton died of kidney failure in St. Paul, Minnesota on November 28, 2019.

Jonathan Miller (85) British stage director, filmmaker, and comedian who cocreated the groundbreaking comedy revue Beyond the Fringe. One of the country’s most important and wide-ranging arts figures, Miller had a decades-long career that encompassed theater, TV, and opera. Some of Britain’s largest and most respected arts institutions, including the National Theatre, the British Film Institute, and the Royal Opera, paid tribute to his long career. Born in London in 1934, he studied medicine and qualified as a doctor before turning to the arts, spurred by the success of Beyond the Fringe, a satirical revue he created in 1960 with fellow Cambridge University students Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, and Alan Bennett. The show went from London’s West End to Broadway and helped to launch a wave of irreverent, satirical comedy that included Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It diverted Miller from a planned career in neurology into the arts. He died of Alzheimer's disease in London, England on November 27, 2019.

Garth C. Reeves (100) publisher emeritus of the Miami Times, the city’s most influential black newspaper, which he used to advance the cause of civil rights. Reeves, whose Bahamian immigrant father founded the Miami Times, a weekly, in 1923, relished his roles as newspaperman, business owner, and activist. In columns (some written by Reeves) and editorials, the Times wrote about racial issues and championed—and challenged—local politicians over their promises to black voters. Reeves's efforts helped to desegregate Miami’s public golf courses and beaches. He died of pneumonia in Aventura, Florida on November 25, 2019.

Robert F. X. Sillerman (71) New York entertainment businessman who consolidated a series of companies and helped to form the modern concert industry. As founder of SFX Entertainment, Sillerman carved his way into the music industry by purchasing and consolidating multiple promoters in the ‘90s, including Bill Graham Presents based in San Francisco, Cellar Door Concerts from Florida, and Houston’s Pace Concerts. He merged the individual entities into SFX Entertainment and later sold the business for $3 billion to Clear Channel Communications in 2000. That eventually became the empire that is now Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010. Sillerman died of a respiratory illness on November 24, 2019.

John Simon (94) theater and film critic known for his cutting reviews and belittling assessments of performers’ physical appearances. Simon was chief theater critic at New York magazine for nearly 40 years before being dismissed in 2005. He then worked at Bloomberg for five years before being fired in 2010. In his later years he worked for several newspapers outside the city. It was a rite-of-passage in the theater community to find your work butchered by Simon. He once compared Liza Minnelli’s face to a beagle’s and Kathleen Turner to “a braying mantis.” Actress Sylvia Miles dumped a plate of pasta on his head when she encountered him in a restaurant in 1973—revenge for comments he had made about her body. Simon died in Valhalla, New York on November 24, 2019.

Politics and Military

Adm. James L. Holloway 3rd (97) combat veteran of three wars who was chief of naval operations in the ‘70s and later headed an investigation that strongly criticized the military’s planning of the failed 1980 mission to free hostages held at the American Embassy in Iran. Holloway was the Navy’s senior uniformed officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1974–78, serving under three presidents. He was an early proponent of nuclear-propelled ships, having studied under Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, father of the nuclear-powered Navy. Holloway served aboard destroyers in the North Atlantic and Pacific in World War II and flew fighter jets in the Korean War. He commanded the US’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Enterprise, in the Vietnam War. He died in Alexandria, Virginia on November 26, 2019.

Michael Howard (97) British military historian and decorated combat veteran who helped to redefine the chronicling of conflict among states and pioneered a so-called “English school” of strategic studies. Howard grew up in a world of privilege in the ‘20s and ‘30s, a member of the upper middle class. His upper-crust credentials and connections guaranteed him a place in the officer class of World War II, at first as a second lieutenant. In 1944 he was awarded the Military Cross—Britain’s third-highest decoration for gallantry (at that time reserved for officers)—after leading a bayonet charge against a German machine gun nest. Among historians, Howard was credited with changing the profile of military history from an account of specific battles or campaigns to a broader assessment of the context of those conflicts. His most significant works included a study, published in 1961, of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 that sought to illuminate the societal roots of the opposing armies. Howard died in Swindon, in southwest England, a day after his 97th birthday, on November 30, 2019.

Yasuhiro Nakasone (101) former Japanese prime minister, a giant of his country’s post-World War II politics who pushed for a more assertive Japan while strengthening military ties with the US. As a WWII navy officer, Nakasone witnessed the depths of his country’s defeat and devastation; 40 years later he presided over Japan in the ‘80s at the pinnacle of its economic success. In recent years he lobbied for revision of the war-renouncing US-drafted constitution, a longtime cause that no postwar leader has achieved to date. Nakasone began his political career as a fiery nationalist denouncing the US occupation that lasted from 1945–52, but by the ‘80s he was a stalwart ally of America known for his warm relations with President Ronald Reagan. Nakasone boosted defense spending but drew criticism for his unabashed appeals to patriotism. He died in Tokyo, Japan on November 29, 2019.

William D. Ruckelshaus (87) quit his job in the Justice Department rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s order to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. Ruckelshaus was the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The lifelong Republican also was acting director of the FBI. But his moment of fame came in 1973, when he was a deputy attorney general and joined his boss, Elliot Richardson, in resigning rather than carrying out Nixon’s order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. The firing became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” In his later years, Ruckelshaus was a high-profile champion of cleaning up Puget Sound in Washington state, where he lived. He died in Seattle, Washington on November 27, 2019.

Goar Vartanyan (93) Soviet spy who formed an espionage partnership with her husband and helped to protect Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt during their historic meeting in Tehran in 1943. Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, confirmed her death in a statement to the news media, praising Vartanyan and her husband, Gevork Vartanyan, who died in 2012. The couple were highly decorated Soviet agents who worked on numerous secret missions for 30 years in Europe, Asia, and the US. Goar Vartanyan, whose code name was Anita, was still involved in active intelligence work when she died, the SVR said. She had a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who regarded her as someone who had served the Soviet intelligence service from which he later sprang, and they visited each other periodically. Vartanyan never revealed what they discussed and always remained mum about what exactly she did. She died in Moscow, Russia on November 25, 2019.

Society and Religion

Rev. George Clements (87) Chicago priest whose civil rights and social justice activism led to a TV movie about his career. In 1945 Clements became the first black to graduate from the Chicago archdiocese’s Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He was ordained in 1957. The pastor led the “One Church-One Child” program, created to help Catholic churches find adoptive parents for orphaned black children. In 1980 Clements became the first Catholic priest to adopt a child and later adopted three more. He also started a program for those addicted to drugs and one for incarcerated people and their families. He died in Indiana after a stroke and a heart attack, on November 25, 2019.

Heidi Hynes (51) Kansas City woman who, after attending Jesuit-run Fordham University in the Bronx, New York in the ‘80s, stayed in the borough and devoted her life to improving the lives of her mostly nonwhite and poor neighbors. From 1997 through mid-2018, Hynes was executive director of the Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center in the Crotona section of the South Bronx, which runs after-school classes, a self-defense program, a fresh produce cooperative called La Canasta (the Basket), and community gardens. Hynes died of rectal cancer in the Bronx, New York on November 29, 2019.


Brad Gobright (31) California rock climber who reportedly reached the top of a challenging rock face in northern Mexico on November 27, 2019 and was rappelling down with a companion when he fell to his death. Climber Aidan Jacobson of Phoenix, Arizona told Outside magazine that he was with Gobright and said they had just ascended the Sendero Luminoso route in the El Potrero Chico area near the northern city of Monterrey. Jacobson also fell, but a shorter distance, after something went wrong in the “simul-rappelling” descent, the magazine said. The technique involves two climbers balancing each other’s weight off an anchor point. In online forums, many climbers described the technique as difficult and potentially dangerous. Civil defense officials in Nuevo Leon state said Gobright fell about 300 meters (328 yards) to his death. The magazine account described the fall as 600 feet (about 200 meters). Jacobson suffered minor injuries. Gobright’s body was recovered November 28.

Seymour Siwoff (99) statistics expert who turned the Elias Sports Bureau into the place to go for exact information on teams and athletes for more than 50 years. Elias was started in 1913 by brothers Al Munro Elias and Walter Bruce Elias and became the official statistician of baseball’s National League in 1919. Siwoff started as an accountant in 1938 and bought the company in ‘52 from the brothers’ widows. The company eventually consolidated its baseball work around 1980 when it replaced the Sports Information Center as the American League’s official statistician, and from 1981–2006 it compiled statistics that were used to determine baseball’s free-agent compensation levels. Even before the start of the computer age, Siwoff pioneered details of split statistics, such as batting right- and left-handed, in day games and night games, at home and on the road, and with runners in scoring position. It was a forerunner to the 21st century transformation of baseball in an analytic era when computer programs help teams to determine which players to start, when to replace them, and where to position them on the field. Besides Major League Baseball, Elias provides statistical support to the NFL, NBA, WNBA, Major League Soccer, and many broadcast networks. Siwoff died in New York City on November 29, 2019.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top