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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, January 18, 2020

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Frieda Caplan, founder of Frieda Inc., supplier of exotic fruits and vegetablesDr. Stanley Dudrick, developed lifesaving treatmentDel Pitt Feldman, modeling a dress she crochetedRocky Johnson, right, with his son, actor Dwayne ('The Rock') JohnsonEgil Krogh, among leaders of Nixon's 'Plumbers'David Olney, folk singer and songwriterKatherine W. Phillips, professor of businessClaudio Roditi, Brazilian jazz trumpeterSir Roger Scruton, British conservative philosopherDr. Leonard Shengold, psychoanalystChristopher Tolkien, son of 'Lord of the Rings' author J.R.R. TolkienBarry Tuckwell, French horn soloist and symphony conductorJack Van Impe, televangelistRhona Wurtele, half of Canadian twin-sister skiing duo

Art and Literature

Christopher Tolkien (95) played a major role in protecting the legacy of his father’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien’s life work was closely identified with that of his father. He helped to edit and publish much of the science fiction and fantasy writer’s work after J.R.R. Tolkien died in 1973. Among the books the younger Tolkien worked on were The Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin, and other texts that flesh out the world his father created. He also drew the original maps that adorned the three Lord of the Rings books—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King—when they were published in the ‘50s. Christopher Tolkien died in Provence, France on January 16, 2020.

Business and Science

Frieda Caplan (96) they called her “Kiwi Queen,” “Mother Gooseberry,” “Mushroom Lady,” and “the Mick Jagger of the produce world.” Caplan was credited with introducing kiwis, mangoes, habanero and shishito peppers, passion fruit, bean and alfalfa sprouts, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, starfruit, blood oranges, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, and hundreds more fruits and vegetables into the supermarket mainstream. She was talkative and driven and loved to take risks, a gritty business owner deemed the first woman to own and run her own produce house, Frieda Inc., in Los Angeles's Wholesale Produce Market and the US. In heels and a skirt, she revolutionized the way the produce world did business, adding recipes and cooking instructions on packages of “exotic” produce. Caplan, who never learned to cook, died in Los Alamitos, California on January 18, 2020.

Dr. Stanley Dudrick (84) surgeon who, early in his career in the '60s, was dismayed when three patients who had undergone operations that were technically successful nonetheless died in the hospital. Dudrick eventually perfected a treatment that has been credited with saving the lives of millions of premature infants and adults with a wide range of ailments, including cancer; severe bowel, kidney, and liver diseases; and burns. The cause of the three deaths, he concluded, was severe malnutrition. The patients had been unable to eat or to absorb enough nutrients to sustain life. Malnutrition had often gone unrecognized as a direct or contributing cause of death because death certificates typically cited an underlying disease, like cancer or liver failure. Dudrick developed a treatment called total parenteral nutrition, or TPN, which bypasses the intestinal tract when a patient cannot receive food or fluids by mouth and instead injects nutrients—liquid carbohydrates, electrolytes, fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins—directly into the circulatory system through a vein. He died of kidney failure in Eaton, New Hampshire on January 18, 2020.

Del Pitt Feldman (90) whose crocheted designs used a home-grown technique that had been relegated to potholders and simple scarves and helped to redefine it as a respected medium for fashion and art. Feldman was best known for creating hand-crocheted garments; intentionally wide stitchwork resembling oversize fishnet became a trademark. The clothes were sold mostly at Studio Del, a boutique she opened in 1965 on East Seventh Street in Manhattan’s East Village. The garments—including open-weave vests, string bikinis, minidresses, and capes—captured the free-wheeling spirit of the neighborhood and the ‘60s counterculture. Her clientele included Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Grace Slick, and Andy Warhol. High-profile women like Cher and Lily Tomlin also wore her clothes. Feldman’s work, which also included hand-crocheted items for the home, tended to be in free-form patterns instead of more traditional straight lines; that style resonated in the hippie era. She died in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on January 14, 2020.

Dr. Leonard Shengold (94) psychoanalyst who in two books described the impact of long-term abuse and neglect of children as “soul murder.” Over 60 years of psychoanalytic practice, Shengold observed the damage childhood abuse had wreaked on numerous adult patients. He described “soul murder” as a crime committed by psychotic or psychopathic parents and other adults through sexual abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical or mental torture. He equated that mistreatment with the “deliberate attempt to eradicate or compromise the separate identity of another person.” Shengold died of leukemia in Stone Ridge, New York on January 16, 2020.


Katherine W. Phillips (47) growing up in a black neighborhood of Chicago, Katherine Williams was chosen in third grade to attend a nearly all-white magnet school. The experience inspired a lifelong quest to delve into the specifics of how and why racially and ethnically diverse groups function differently from homogeneous ones. As a professor, most recently at Columbia Business School, Katherine Phillips analyzed the ways that organizations, especially in their workplaces, can maximize the benefits of hiring employees with different backgrounds. She died of breast cancer on January 15, 2020.

Sir Roger Scruton (75) one of Britain’s most prominent conservative philosophers. A graduate of Cambridge University, Scruton embraced conservative ideas after visiting Paris amid the May 1968 student uprising. A lecturer for many years at the University of London’s Birkbeck College, he carved out a role as a public intellectual—a relatively rare thing in Britain—with more than 50 books on morality, politics, culture, and aesthetics, including The Meaning of Conservatism, The Aesthetics of Architecture, and England: An Elegy. Scruton valued tradition, high culture, and the British countryside; he disliked socialism, liberalism, most modern architecture, and much of popular culture. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2016, he died of lung cancer in Brinkworth, Wiltshire, England on January 12, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Rocky Johnson (75) World Wide Entertainment Hall of Fame wrestler who became better known as the father of actor Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson. The elder Johnson and Tony Atlas became the first black world tag team champions in WWE history when they defeated The Wild Samoans on December 10, 1983. Johnson later helped to train his son, who adopted the Rocky moniker from his father. Johnson came to his son’s aid after a match at WrestleMania in 1997. The Rock inducted his father into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. Rocky Johnson died in Lutz, Florida on January 15, 2020.

David Olney (71) folk singer who wrote songs recorded by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. Olney was part of the music scene in Nashville, Tennessee for decades and had recorded more than 20 albums. He incorporated a variety of styles in his music, including honky tonk and rock. His songs explored offbeat topics such as a Nashville train disaster and late New York Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto. He was on stage in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida when he was stricken and died of a heart attack while performing, on January 18, 2020.

Claudio Roditi (73) Brazilian-born jazz trumpeter celebrated for his technique, warm sound, and lyrical playing. Roditi was a force on the New York jazz scene almost from the moment he arrived in 1976. He worked with top musicians like pianist McCoy Tyner, flutist Herbie Mann, and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, one of his earliest influences. He was for many years a featured member of Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra, a big band comprising musicians from the US, the Caribbean, and Brazil and continued to perform with what was billed as the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band after Gillespie’s death in 1993. Roditi also led his own bands and recorded more than 20 albums as a leader, most recently for the Resonance label. His playing was a fusion of Brazilian music and jazz, combining the lilt of samba with the drive of the post-bop trumpet tradition. He died of prostate cancer in South Orange, New Jersey on January 17, 2020.

Barry Tuckwell (88) considered by many the finest horn player of his generation, who displayed his skill in concerts all over the world and on dozens of recordings. Australian by birth, Tuckwell was a master of the French horn, one of the more difficult instruments in the orchestra to play well, especially as a soloist. He took up the instrument as a teenager and became principal horn of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1955. In 1968 he embarked on a solo career, a rare step for a horn player. He quickly developed a reputation for both a rich tone and a dexterity with difficult passages. He also conducted, leading the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra of Australia in the early ‘80s before spending 17 seasons leading the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. Tuckwell died of heart disease in Melbourne, Australia on January 17, 2020.

Politics and Military

Egil Krogh (80) as part of President Richard M. Nixon’s staff, Krogh was one of the leaders of the secret “Plumbers” unit that broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, a prelude to the Watergate burglary that brought down the Nixon presidency. In November 1973, Krogh pleaded guilty to “conspiracy against rights of citizens” for his role in the September '71 break-in at the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding in Beverly Hills, California. The Plumbers, a group of White House operatives, were tasked with plugging leaks of confidential material, which had bedeviled the Nixon administration. Ellsberg, a military analyst, had been responsible for the biggest leak of all: passing the Pentagon Papers, the top-secret government history of the Vietnam War, to the New York Times earlier that year. The Plumbers were hoping to get information about Ellsberg’s mental state that would discredit him, but they found nothing of importance related to him. Krogh served 14 weeks in prison. He died of heart failure in Washington, DC on January 18, 2020.

Society and Religion

Jack Van Impe (88) televangelist who reached a wide audience interpreting current events through apocalyptic passages of the Bible and prophesying the end of the world. Van Impe often pronounced the imminent return of Jesus Christ and mingled discussion of Bible passages with the news of the day on his weekly TV program, Jack Van Impe Presents. The program aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, through cable and satellite, for more than 20 years and was said to have reached about 25,000 cities. Van Impe had been hospitalized after a fall this month when he died in Royal Oak, Michigan on January 18, 2020.


Rhona Wurtele Gillis (97) and her twin sister, Rhoda Wurtele Eaves, who survives her, were pioneers of women’s skiing in Canada. They began skiing at age 5 in the hilly Westmount community outside Montreal. A few years later they were ski-jumping, and in 1948 they were the only women named to Canada’s Alpine skiing team at the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The sisters, who called themselves the “Flying Twins,” did not win an Olympic medal, but they often finished first or second in Canadian and American ski championship events in the ‘40s and early ’50s. They also taught thousands of Canadians to ski in 50 years as instructors. As youngsters, the Wurtele twins took up many sports, including swimming and tennis, before concentrating on skiing. In 2015 they were jointly inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary, Alberta. Rhona died in suburban Montreal four days short of their 98th birthday, on January 17, 2020.

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