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

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Brian Dennehy, film and stage actorBennie G. Adkins, Medal of Honor recipientBarney Ales, Motown executiveTakuo Aoyagi, Japanese engineer whose work led to pulse oximeterBarbara Allen Babcock, first female tenured faculty member at Stanford Law SchoolWilliam Bailey, still life painterDeirdre Bair, biographerNina Balducci, guiding spirit of Balducci's in New YorkTim Brooke-Taylor, standing left with fellow Goodies Bill Oddie, right, and Graeme GardenJaroslava Brychtova, glass sculptorAllen Daviau, Oscar-nominated cinematographerWillie Davis, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive linemanMaria de Sousa, Portuguese scientific researcherGene Deitch, Oscar-winning animatorJoseph Feingold, Holocaust survivorHoward Finkel, wrestling announcerRubem Fonseca, Brazilian crime writerJim Frey, Kansas City Royals managerDr. Jay M. Galst, ophthalmologist and numismatistJerzy Glowczewski, Polish fighter pilotGlenna Goodacre, sculptorHenry Grimes, rediscovered bassistMatt Holzman, radio producerJohn Houghton, Welsh climate scientistTarvaris Jackson, former NFL quarterbackPhilip Kahn, died 101 years after twin brotherLee Konitz, cool jazz saxophonistEva Konrad Hawkins, marine scientist who survived HolocaustAbba Kyari, chief of staff to Nigerian presidentGiuseppi Logan, jazz musicianIris Love, archaeologist and art historianRhody McCoy, NYC school administrator during '60s 'school wars'Moraes Moreira, Brazilian songwriterStanley Moser, ingenious encyclopedia salesmanStirling Moss, British auto racerPaul O'Neill, President George W. Bush's Treasury secretaryJohn Pfahl, landscape photographerAvraham Rabby, first blind US diplomatJoel M. Reed, director of horror moviesDoug Sanders, flamboyant golferArlene Saunders, operatic sopranoLuis Sepúlveda, Chilean authorHank Steinbrenner, older son of late Yankees ownerAnn Sullivan, Disney animatorJimmy Webb, manager of NYC's Trash & Vaudeville

Art and Literature

William Bailey (89) painter whose still lifes and female nudes made him one of the leading figures in the return of figurative art in the ‘80s. Beyond his painting, Bailey influenced generations of students in his many years as a teacher at the Yale School of Art. In some of his best-known work, he arranged simple objects—eggs, bowls, bottles, and vases he once called “my repertory company”—along a horizontal shelf, or on a plain table, covering them in a serene atmosphere heavy with mystery. His muted colors conjured up a still, timeless world, recognizable but uncanny, in part because he painted from imagination rather than life. Bailey died in Branford, Connecticut on April 13, 2020.

Deirdre Bair (84) unknown writer 50 years ago who scored a coup by getting reclusive author Samuel Beckett to agree to let her write his biography, then secured the same permission from another towering literary figure, Simone de Beauvoir. Years of interviews and other research followed before Samuel Beckett: A Biography appeared in 1978. The paperback release won a National Book Award in 1981. Bair’s biography of Simone de Beauvoir (author of The Second Sex, among other books) was also years in the making and written with its subject’s cooperation. It was published in 1990. Bair later wrote biographies of writer Anaïs Nin (1995), psychiatrist Carl Jung (2003), illustrator Saul Steinberg (2012), and Al Capone (2016), but her first two books remained her calling cards. She died of heart failure in New Haven, Connecticut on April 17, 2020.

Jaroslava Brychtova (95) Czech glass artist whose sculptures and other works, created together with her late husband, Stanislav Libensky, won international recognition. Brychtova and Libensky started to work together in the ‘50s and married in 1963. Libensky died in 2002 aged 80. Their works were exhibited around the world including at World Trade Fairs in Brussels in 1958, Montreal in ’67, and Osaka in ’70. Their monumental cast glass sculptures inspired generations of artists in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Their work is displayed in museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York in the US, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Brychtova died of heart failure in the town of Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic, on April 15, 2020.

Gene Deitch (95) American Oscar-winning illustrator, animator, film director, and producer. Deitch’s movie Munro won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1960. He was also nominated for the same award twice in 1964 for Here’s Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship. Deitch earlier had created the Tom Terrific series, while Sidney’s Family Tree, which he coproduced, was nominated for an Oscar in 1958. Deitch arrived in Prague in 1959 intending to stay for 10 days, but he fell in love with his future wife, Zdenka, and stayed in the Czechoslovakian capital. Working from behind the Iron Curtain, he directed 13 episodes of Tom & Jerry and some of the Popeye the Sailor series. He captured life in Communist Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic after the 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution in his memoirs For the Love of Prague. In 2004 he received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation. Deitch died unexpectedly in Prague on April 16, 2020.

Rubem Fonseca (94) writer whose crime stories were seen as metaphors for the corruption in Brazilian society. Over more than 50 years Fonseca wrote short stories, novels, and screenplays that shocked Brazilians. They also made him a best-selling author and sealed his reputation as one of the country’s literary giants. His first collection of short stories, Os Prisoneiros (The Prisoners), was published in 1963 and described as “brutalist.” But its major achievement was to shift the focus from the rural settings that Brazilian fiction tended to favor, to an urban area as the country was transforming from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. Fonseca was a former police official who used his real-life experience as fodder for his stories. His narrators tended to be police inspectors, criminal lawyers, or private detectives, and their depiction of crimes of passion were cruel. He died of a heart attack in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 15, 2020.

Glenna Goodacre (80) sculptor and painter who created the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, shown above. Goodacre was known mainly for her sculptures. Her work includes the Irish Memorial in Philadelphia and the Sacagawea Dollar Coin. She also made a larger-than-life statue of President Ronald Reagan, which was unveiled at the Reagan Presidential Library in California in 1998. Her daughter, Jill, is married to musician Harry Connick Jr. Goodacre died of natural causes in Santa Fe, New Mexico on April 13, 2020.

Iris Love (86) celebrity archaeologist, art historian, and champion dachshund breeder. Love made headlines when she was a graduate student at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University for outing as forgeries a prized group of Etruscan warriors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She made headlines again when, on a visit to the British Museum’s collection of antiquities, she identified a crumbling marble head stashed in its basement as being a remnant of Praxiteles’ lost statue of Aphrodite. Neither institution was pleased. Love died of the novel coronavirus in New York City on April 17, 2020.

John Pfahl (81) landscape photographer known for manipulating the natural world by inserting into it objects like rope, foil, lace, tape, and, once, a pie pan. Pfahl developed a reputation as a quirky landscape photographer over more than 40 years. Besides his manipulations, he found beauty in vistas like the belching smoke of a coke plant in Lackawanna, New York; the rotting fruit and vegetables of his compost pile; and a hill of road salt, as statements about the environmental impact of industrialization. Pfahl, who also had heart problems, mild dementia, and Parkinson’s disease, died of the coronavirus in Buffalo, New York on April 15, 2020.

Luis Sepúlveda (70) Chilean writer, author of the novel The Old Man Who Read Love Stories. Sepúlveda fled Chile in 1977 amid Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. After living in Germany in the ‘90s, he moved to Gijón in Spain. He also wrote The Story of a Seagull & the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly and was a political activist. He showed the first symptoms of infection at the end of February when he attended a literary festival in the north of Portugal. At the time he thought it was flu; it was later identified as one of the first cases of COVID-19. Sepúlveda was hospitalized on February 29 and died in Oviedo, Spain after a six-week battle with the new coronavirus, on April 16, 2020.

Ann Sullivan (91) animator who worked on Disney classics like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Lilo & Stitch. Sullivan began bringing cartoons to life at Walt Disney’s animation studios in the ‘50s, working on films like Peter Pan (1953) before giving up her job to raise a family. She returned to animation in 1973, first working for Hanna-Barbera, and later rejoined Disney, working on films like Oliver & Company (1988), Pocahontas (1995), and Hercules (1997), besides films released by other studios, like Cool World (1992) and The Pagemaster (1994). She died of Covid-19, caused by the coronavirus, in Woodland Hills, California on April 13, 2020, three days after her 91st birthday.

Business and Science

Takuo Aoyagi (84) Japanese engineer whose pioneering work in the ‘70s led to the modern pulse oximeter, a lifesaving device that clips on a finger and shows the level of oxygen in the blood and has become a critical tool in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Historically, patients were measured by four vital signs: temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. Oxygen level has become the fifth vital sign. While many coronavirus patients do feel chest pain, fever, and other symptoms, some Covid patients seem not to have those other symptoms. As a result, when moderately or mildly ill patients test positive for the coronavirus, they may be sent home with a pulse oximeter so that they can track their oxygen level and return to the hospital if it drops. Aoyagi’s contribution to medical science was built on decades of innovation and invention. He died in Tokyo, Japan on April 18, 2020.

Nina Balducci (91) matriarch of the family-owned Balducci's, the first store in New York with a premium butcher, a fishmonger, a greengrocer, and an impressive array of imported cheeses and prepared food all under one roof that became a magnet for people who understood good food in the early '70s. Run by Nina and her husband, Andy (died 2018), Balducci's influenced other stalwarts of the era, like Dean & Deluca and Zabar’s. The shop was packed with goods—produce displays piled high, prosciutto hanging from above, and Italian specialties. In 1999 the Balduccis sold their store to Sutton Place Gourmet, a Maryland-based company, for $26.5 million. Nina Balducci died of lung cancer in East Williston, New York, on Long Island, on April 12, 2020.

Maria de Sousa (80) one of Portugal’s leading scientists. De Sousa first made her mark with research in immunology while working in Britain and the US. But after 20 years abroad, she returned home with two goals: developing a national program of science education and creating a better understanding of hemochromatosis, a hereditary disease especially prevalent in northern Portugal in which the body absorbs excessive amounts of iron. She died of the coronavirus in Lisbon, Portugal on April 14, 2020.

Dr. Jay M. Galst (69) when Jay Galst was a boy in Milwaukee, his father, who owned a grocery, would bring home coins from the day’s receipts, and young Jay would enjoy searching through them for wheat pennies, buffalo nickels, and other distinctive finds. That boy grew up to be an ophthalmologist, and in a happy merging of vocation and avocation, he developed a passion for numismatics that included a singular area of expertise. He may have known more than anyone about coins, tokens, medals, and similar artifacts that were in some way related to the eye. Galst knew so much, in fact, that in 2013 he and Peter van Alfen, chief curator of the American Numismatic Society, wrote a book about them. Ophthalmology, Optics & Vision in Numismatics was 574 pages and had some 1,700 entries. There were chapters on coins and such related to the blind, to the one-eyed, to guide dogs. Many of the coins and other artifacts described and documented were from Galst’s own eclectic collection. He died of the coronavirus in New York City on April 12, 2020.

John Houghton (88) climate scientist and influential figure on the United Nations panel that brought the threat of climate change to the world’s attention and won a Nobel Prize. A key participant in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Houghton was lead editor of the organization’s first three reports, issued in 1990, ’95, and 2001. With each report, the evidence underpinning global warming and the role humans play in causing it grew more inevitable and the calls for international action became more pressing. The group received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore, former US Vice President and climate campaigner. Houghton died of the coronavirus in Dolgellau, Wales on April 15, 2020.

Eva Konrad Hawkins (90) whether studying algae at the New York Aquarium or creating underwater exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, Konrad Hawkins found a refuge in New York as a marine scientist. A Jew who grew up in Hungary, she had lived through the Holocaust and the Hungarian uprising of 1956, then fled Communist oppression for the US, where she also conducted research and taught biology at the University of Pennsylvania, Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, and City College of New York in Harlem. Her brother was writer and sociologist Gyorgy Konrad, a prominent Hungarian dissident during Communist rule who died last September. Although the siblings survived the German occupation, relatives and classmates were murdered in concentration camps. Their house was looted and their synagogue ransacked. Konrad Hawkins died of Covid-19 in the Bronx, New York on April 18, 2020.

Stanley Moser (88) had a knack for selling Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias and other affordable reference books to the American middle class. One of Moser's earliest great ideas was to price the first volume of a set at 9 cents. Supermarket shoppers snapped them up, then were hooked on buying the rest. Moser spent 30 years in the encyclopedia business, starting out in accounting, rising to become an executive and owner, and exiting just before the Internet effectively marked an end to the era of the printed encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls was a mass-market product, an affordable alternative to the World Book or Encyclopaedia Britannica. In a world without Google or Wikipedia, ownership of those comprehensive stores of facts and information was a point of pride for many middle-class American families. Funk & Wagnalls volumes were typically sold in supermarkets as part of a “book-a-week” program. Moser died of the coronavirus in Fort Lee, New Jersey on April 14, 2020.

Jimmy Webb (62) leather-vested East Village fixture, longtime manager of Trash & Vaudeville, the rock ’n’ roll clothiers that once ruled St. Marks Place. With a rocker’s bleached-out shag, arms lined with tattoos and jangly silver bracelets, and skintight jeans slashed by rips and rivets, Webb was a proudly resolute bearer of the punk-glam torch, even as the decades moved inexorably along. Stomping through the East Village like a visitor from another time and place, he barely missed a day as manager of Trash & Vaudeville, where he worked from 2000 until a few years ago, when the store, which opened in 1975, moved around the corner. He died of cancer in New York City on April 14, 2020.


Rhody McCoy (97) black educator whose transfer of white teachers from his Brooklyn school district in 1968 touched off a citywide strike that closed schools for weeks and exposed a seismic rift among American liberals over race, education, and trade unionism. What became known as the 1968 school wars in New York was the culmination of efforts by reformers to grant local communities greater control over curricula and hiring, in response to parents’ complaints that their children were failing academically. McCoy was committed both to black nationalism and to the decentralization of school governance, which political and academic progressives were preaching as one way to improve education and restore confidence in the school system. He died in Palm Desert, California on April 18, 2020.


Barbara Allen Babcock (81) when President Jimmy Carter appointed Babcock to head the Justice Department’s civil division in the late ‘70s, he tasked her with increasing the number of women and members of minorities on the federal bench. Among those she lobbied for was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then a law professor, to fill a vacancy on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Babcock lobbied successfully for many other women and members of minorities, and by the end of his term Carter had appointed more such judges than all previous presidents combined. Babcock was a trailblazer for women in the legal profession and the first female tenured faculty member at Stanford Law School. Besides advocating for women, she fought for poor defendants to have legal representation. She died of breast cancer in Stanford, California on April 18, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Barney Ales (85) one of Berry Gordy’s most indispensable executives throughout the ‘60s, when Motown became a ubiquitous force in American pop culture and a prime symbol of black enterprise at the height of the civil rights movement. Officially, Ales was in charge of sales and promotion. But as a high-ranking white executive at a black-owned label, he was also instrumental in promoting Motown’s music to the white-dominated industry—most importantly the programmers who decided what songs were played on Top 40 radio stations. Crossing over to the pop mainstream was crucial to Gordy’s vision for Motown. The label’s sound was rooted in rhythm and blues, yet its artists were carefully styled to appeal to white audiences, down to the sequined gowns, etiquette lessons, and Las Vegas nightclub engagements for acts like the Supremes. Ales died in Malibu, California on April 17, 2020.

Tim Brooke-Taylor (79) British performer, a member of the comedy trio The Goodies. Brooke-Taylor was part of Cambridge University’s Footlights Revue, the breeding ground of several generations of British comic talent. He broke into radio and TV comedy in the ‘60s alongside future Monty Python members John Cleese and Graham Chapman. Brooke-Taylor formed The Goodies with Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. The trio specialized in slightly surreal sketches incorporating visual inventiveness, slapstick, and songs. Their song “Funky Gibbon” even became a United Kingdom top 10 chart hit in 1975. Their TV show, which ran throughout the ‘70s, was a hit in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand and developed a cult following in many other countries. The Goodies formed part of a golden era of British TV comedy in the ‘60s and ‘70s that included Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Not the Nine O’Clock News. For more than 40 years Brooke-Taylor was also a panelist on BBC radio’s much loved comic quiz show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. He died of the new coronavirus on April 12, 2020.

Allen Daviau (77) cinematographer who shot three of Steven Spielberg’s films including E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial, A five-time Oscar nominee, Daviau was also behind the camera on Empire of the Sun, Bugsy, The Color Purple, Avalon, and Defending Your Life. A surgical procedure in 2012 left him confined to a wheelchair. He died of complications from COVID-19 in Woodland Hills, California on April 14, 2020.

Brian Dennehy (81) actor who started in films as a macho heavy and later in his career won plaudits for his stage work in plays by William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill, and Arthur Miller. Known for his broad frame, booming voice, and ability to play good guys and bad guys with equal aplomb, Dennehy won two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Laurence Olivier Award and was nominated for six Emmys. Among his 40-odd films, he played a sheriff who jailed Rambo in First Blood, a serial killer in To Catch a Killer, and a corrupt sheriff gunned down by Kevin Kline in Silverado. He also had some benign roles: the bartender who consoles Dudley Moore in 10 and the level-headed leader of aliens in Cocoon and its sequel. Dennehy died of natural causes in New Haven, Connnecticut on April 15, 2020.

Howard Finkel (69) longtime World Wrestling Entertainment ring announcer. Finkel made his ring announcing debut in 1977 at Madison Square Garden for WWE’s predecessor, the World Wide Wrestling Federation. In 1980 he was the first hire for Titan Sports, which eventually became World Wrestling Entertainment. For more than 20 years “The Fink” was a mainstay in the ring, with his distinctive voice and signature phrase, “and NNNEEEWWW world champion!” He died of a stroke on April 16, 2020.

Henty Grimes (84) American jazz double bassist, violinist, and poet. After more than 10 years of activity and performance, notably as a leading bassist in free jazz, Grimes completely disappeared from the music scene by 1970. He was often presumed to have died, but he was rediscovered in 2002 and returned to performing. Grimes eventually became a linchpin of free-improvising groups. He died of the coronavirus in New York City on April 15, 2020.

Matt Holzman (56) producer behind several popular programs on Los Angeles's radio station KCRW. Holzman got his start as a board operator before making a shift to audio storytelling. One of his first stories was an autobiographical retelling of his struggles with kidney disease, which left him on dialysis for three days a week in a five-year wait for a donor kidney. He was the first producer of The Business, a weekly program and now podcast about the entertainment industry. Holzman was also behind KCRW’s underwriting department, the film club Matt’s Movies, the programs and podcasts Press Play (about Los Angeles news and culture), and The Document, which combined his love for documentaries with his passion for the audio format. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last fall and died on April 12, 2020.

Lee Konitz (92) saxophonist, one of the earliest and most admired exponents of the style known as cool jazz. Konitz first attracted attention as much for the way he didn’t play as for the way he did. Like most of his jazz contemporaries, he adopted the expanded harmonic vocabulary of his fellow alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, the leading figure in modern jazz. But his approach departed from Parker’s in significant ways, and he quickly emerged as a role model for musicians seeking an alternative to Parker’s influence. Where modern jazz in the Parker mold, better known as bebop, tended to be passionate, Konitz’s improvisations were measured and understated, more thoughtful than heated. He died of the coronavirus in New York City on April 15, 2020.

Giuseppi Logan (84) jazz musician from Philadelphia who taught himself to play piano and drums before switching to reeds at age 12. At 15 Giuseppi began playing with saxophonist Earl Bostic and later studied at the New England Conservatory. In 1964 Logan relocated to New York and became active on the free jazz scene. He played alto and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, piano, and oboe. He collaborated with Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, and Bill Dixon before forming his own quartet made up of pianist Don Pullen, bassist Eddie Gómez, and percussionist Milford Graves. After Pullen's departure, pianist Dave Burrell joined the group. Logan was a member of Byard Lancaster's band and toured with and appeared on records by Patty Waters. He vanished from the music scene in the early ‘70s, and for over 30 years his whereabouts were unknown. He died of the coronavirus in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York on April 17, 2020

Moraes Moreira (72) Brazilian songwriter who fused the regional traditions of his home state, Bahia, with an array of styles in a career that stretched from the late ‘60s through the 2010s. Moreira was the main composer in Os Novos Baianos (the New Bahians), whose early-‘70s albums were both hits and cultural milestones in Brazil. Most of their songs had music by Moreira and lyrics by Luiz Galvão. In 2007 Rolling Stone Brasil named Os Novos Baianos’s 1972 album, Acabou Chorare (The Crying Is Over)—which mixed, among other things, bossa nova, samba, rock, and the vintage Brazilian style called choro—the most important album in the history of Brazilian music. Moreira moved on to a solo career that encompassed dozens of albums over 40 years. He died of a heart attack in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 13, 2020.

Joel M. Reed (86) loved gore and sex, and his fans loved him for it. Reed was director of one of the most notorious exploitation films, Blood-Sucking Freaks (1976), which became a cult hit. The movie tells the story of Master Sardu, who runs a theater in which the performers are subjected to seemingly realistic scenes of torture. But the actors are actually kidnapping victims, and their torments are real. The film, which has been referred to as a horror comedy, shows nudity, sexual mutilation, and more: A skull is crushed in a vise, there are amputations, and brains are sucked through a straw. Reed died of the novel coronavirus in Queens, New York on April 14, 2020.

Arlene Saunders (89) soprano, a fixture of opera companies in New York and Hamburg, Germany. Saunders never lacked praise for her musicianship, but she rose to fame as a performer with dramatic authority. Her career was sparked by two debuts in 1961, both as Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan and with New York City Opera. Saunders later starred in more classics with the company, including Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, Bizet’s Carmen, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She continued to perform internationally in the ‘60s, singing Pamina in The Magic Flute at the Glyndebourne Festival in Britain and becoming a regular at the Hamburg State Opera—where she performed in the premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Help, Help, the Globolinks! in 1968. She died in the Bronx, New York of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, on April 17, 2020.

Politics and Military

Bennie G. Adkins (86) received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War. Adkins served more than 20 years in the US Army, with 13 of those years spent as a Green Beret. He was deployed to Vietnam three times and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014 for heroism in a 1966 battle. He carried wounded soldiers to safety—sometimes drawing fire on himself to allow the wounded to be rescued—and fought off waves of attacking forces. After retirement in 1978 at the rank of command sergeant major, Adkins graduated from Troy University and founded an accounting firm in Alabama. He died from complications of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, in Opelika, Alabama on April 17, 2020.

Jerzy Glowczewski (97) Polish pilot who flew 100 missions against the Nazi war machine for the No. 308 “City of Krakow” Polish fighter squadron. Their uncommon valor during World War II made the Polish pilots fighting for the Allies an example of determination in the face of adversity. Glowczewski was widely believed to have been the last surviving member of the brotherhood of exiles who fought with the Royal Air Force. On New Year’s Day 1945, he helped to turn back the final major offensive on the Western front by the German Luftwaffe, shooting down a FockeWulf 190 over Belgium from his Spitfire fighter plane. Glowczewski died of Covid-19 in New York City on April 13, 2020.

Philip Kahn (100) believed that history repeats itself, a truism that has hit home. Kahn's twin brother, Samuel, died as an infant during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–19; now, 101 years later, Philip Kahn, a decorated World War II veteran, has died of the coronavirus. The chances of siblings dying a century apart in global pandemics seem beyond remote, but the Kahns are not the only ones. Selma Ryan (96), who died of the virus in San Antonio on April 14, lost her older sister, Esther, to the Spanish Flu 102 years earlier, according to News4SA, a local TV station. The sisters never knew each other. Philip Kahn did not know his brother either. The twins, whose father ran a bakery on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, were born in 1919 while the Spanish flu was still raging. They were just a few weeks old when Samuel died. After the war Philip Kahn worked as an electrical foreman and helped to build the World Trade Center. He died in Westbury, Long Island, New York on April 17, 2020.

Abba Kyari (67) chief of staff of Nigeria’s president and one of the most powerful men in the country. Kyari amassed more power than any previous chief of staff in Nigeria. Anyone who wanted to see President Muhammadu Buhari, including ministers and Nigeria’s influential state governors, had to go through him. Kyari also helped to negotiate government deals and, according to a letter leaked to a Nigerian newspaper, gave orders to security chiefs without Buhari’s knowledge. About a week before he tested positive for the coronavirus, Kyari was in Germany meeting with energy officials at Siemens on a deal to restore Nigeria’s electricity grid. Kyari died of Covid-19 in Lagos, Nigeria on April 17, 2020.

Paul O'Neill (84) former Treasury secretary who broke with George W. Bush over tax policy, then produced a book critical of the administration. A former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, O’Neill was Treasury secretary from 2001 to late ’02. He was forced to resign after he objected to a second round of tax cuts because of their impact on deficits. His blunt speaking style more than once got him in trouble as Treasury secretary. He sent the dollar into a tailspin briefly in his early days at Treasury when his comments about foreign exchange rates surprised markets. In the spring of 2001, O’Neill jolted markets again when during Wall Street’s worst week in 11 years, he blandly declared, “Markets go up and markets go down.” He died of lung cancer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 18, 2020.

Avraham Rabby (77) spoke four languages, studied at Oxford, and went to the University of Chicago on a Fulbright scholarship. Born in Israel, Rabby became an American citizen in 1980. He was intelligent, outgoing, optimistic, and capable. He seemed an ideal candidate to be a Foreign Service officer for the US State Department when he applied in 1985. He passed the written exam on his first try. But to department officials, Rabby had a disability that disqualified him. He was blind, having lost his sight when he was 8 because of detached retinas. The State Department had a longstanding rule excluding the blind from employment in the Foreign Service. Rabby hired a lawyer and waged a years-long campaign to overturn the policy. In 1989 he finally succeeded, becoming the first blind person to be hired by the diplomatic corps and paving the way for other blind officers. He died of cancer in Ramat Gan, Israel, near Tel Aviv, on April 17, 2020.

Society and Religion

Joseph Feingold (97) Holocaust survivor who found unexpected fame late in life as costar of Joe’s Violin, an Oscar-nominated short documentary. In 2014 Feingold was listening to classical music on the radio when he heard about a program that gives used musical instruments to New York schoolchildren. He took the bus from his home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Lincoln Center and donated a cherished violin he no longer played because his fingers had grown stiff. Mention of his donation was made over the radio. The violin—and Feingold—had quite a story, as Kahane Cooperman, a filmmaker who was listening, soon discovered. Cooperman recounted Feingold’s saga in her 2017 documentary and told the story of the violin’s recipient, Brianna Perez, a 12-year-old Dominican girl from the Bronx, and the friendship that formed between the two. Feingold died of Covid-19 in New York City on April 15, 2020.


Willie Davis (85) Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who helped the Green Bay Packers to win each of the first two Super Bowls. A 15th-round draft pick from Grambling, Davis began his NFL career by playing both offense and defense for the Cleveland Browns in 1958–59. He had his greatest success after getting traded to the Packers and remained with them until finishing his NFL career in 1969 as a five-time All-Pro. Although tackles and sacks weren’t measured at the time Davis played, his 22 career fumble recoveries showcased his dominance and big-play ability. He was voted to the NFL’s all-decade team for the ‘60s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981. Davis had been hospitalized for about a month with kidney failure. He died in Santa Monica, California on April 15, 2020.

Jim Frey (88) baseball executive who managed the Kansas City Royals to the 1980 American League pennant and the Chicago Cubs within one win of the ‘84 World Series. As an outfielder, Frey spent 14 seasons in the minor league organizations of the Boston and Milwaukee Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals without reaching the majors. He scouted and managed in the minor leagues for Baltimore and coached for the Orioles from 1970–79. Frey replaced Whitey Herzog as the Royals’ manager after the 1979 season. They won the AL West with a 97-65 record in 1980, finishing 14 games ahead of Oakland. That Royals team swept the New York Yankees 3-0 in the AL Championship Series for their first pennant. Kansas City lost the World Series to Philadelphia in six games. They were 20-30 when the 1981 season was interrupted by a players’ strike and 10-10 when Frey was fired with the Royals in first place of the second-half divisions standings. He died in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on April 12, 2020.

Tarvaris Jackson (36) former NFL quarterback. Jackson was a second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, starting 12 games in ’07 and going 8-4. He started 14 games for Seattle in 2011, leading the team to seven wins. He was part of the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl championship team in 2014. The former Alabama State quarterback went 17-17 as an NFL starter. He passed for 7,263 yards with 39 touchdowns and 35 interceptions. Jackson was hired as quarterbacks coach for Tennessee State last season after a 10-year NFL career. At Tennessee State, he helped senior quarterback Cameron Rosendahl to a season in which he passed for 3,023 yards, the second-most in program history. Jackson was killed in a one-car crash outside Montgomery, Alabama. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro he was driving went off the road, struck a tree, and overturned. The wreck occurred on Pike Road, about seven miles south of Montgomery, his hometown, on April 12, 2020.

Stirling Moss (90) daring, speed-loving Englishman regarded as the greatest Formula One driver never to win the world championship. A national treasure affectionately known as “Mr. Motor Racing,” Moss had a taste for adventure that saw him push cars to their limits across many racing categories and competitions. He was fearless, fiercely competitive, and often reckless. That attitude took a toll on his slight body. His career ended early, at age 31, after a horrific crash left him in a coma for a month in April 1962. By the time he retired, Moss had won 16 of the 66 F1 races he entered and established a reputation as a technically excellent and versatile driver. Arguably his greatest achievement was victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia—a 1,000-mile road race through Italy—by nearly half an hour over Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine great who was Moss’s idol, teammate, and rival. Moss died in London, England on April 12, 2020.

Doug Sanders (86) golfer who brought a flamboyance to golf fashion ahead of his time, a colorful character known as much for the 20 times he won on the Professional Golfers Association Tour as the majors that got away. Sanders was still an amateur when he won his first PGA Tour event in 1956 at the Canadian Open in a playoff against Dow Finsterwald, and his best year was in ‘61 when he won five times and finished third on the PGA Tour money list. But he was best known for four runner-up finishes in the majors, the most memorable at St. Andrews in the 1970 British Open. He needed only par on the final hole of the Old Course to beat Jack Nicklaus, and Sanders was three feet away. He jabbed at the putt and missed it, and Nicklaus beat him the next day in a playoff. Sanders died in Houston Texas on April 12, 2020.

Hank Steinbrenner (63) older son of George Steinbrenner (died 2010) and one of four siblings who own the controlling shares of the New York Yankees. A chain smoker and miniature drag racer, Hank hoped to succeed his father as the team’s controlling owner. Between the 2007–08 seasons, he became the public voice of the Yankees’ ownership. But brother Hal, 11 years younger, was put in charge in November 2008. While Hank was in his 13th season as a general partner and 11th as cochair, he did not appear to have much involvement in the team’s operations in recent years. He died in Clearwater, Florida on April 14, 2020.

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