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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 2, 2020

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Tony Allen, Nigerian drummerBen Benson, restaurateur, owner of NYC's Ben Benson's Steak HouseEavan Boland, Irish feminist poetDavid Carter, author of book on 1969 Stonewall Inn uprisingGermano Celant, Italian art historian and criticJi Chaozhu, Chinese interpreterOscar Chávez, Mexican protest singerLouis Delsarte, artist who depicted black historyHeyward Dotson, Columbia University basketball guardLenora Fay Garfinkel, architect who specialized in Jewish ritual buildingsBernard Gersten, NYC theater executiveDenis Goldberg, South African antiapartheid activistWilliam Haddad, civic evangelistLynn Harrell, classical cellistS. Roger Horchow, mail-order pioneer turned Broadway producerR. D. Hubbard, businessman turned horse racerPeter Hunt, stage, film, and TV directorRishi Kapoor, Bollywood actorIrrfan Khan, Bollywood-Hollywood character actorNick Kotz, Pulitzer-winning journalistGen. Frederick Kroesen, US military commanderJohn Lafia, movie writer-director who cowrote 'Child's Play'Sam Lloyd, TV and movie actorGil Loescher, activist for refugees' rightsMartin Lovett, cellist, last surviving member of Amadeus string quartetGen. Munir Mohamad Mangal, Afghan police commanderDr. Paul Marks, transformed Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterRobert May, Australian scientist who studied several fieldsRalph W. McGehee, disillusioned CIA veteranMarcel Ospel, first CEO of Swiss bank UBSJohn E. ('Jack') Randall, US ichthyologistFlorian Schneider, cofounder of KraftwerkGil Schwartz, CBS executive with writing career on the sideMatty Simmons, cofounder of 'National Lampoon' and producer of its moviesMaj Sjöwall, Swedish novelistNancy Stark Smith, dancer and founding member of Contact ImprovisationBobby Lee Verdugo, Mexican-American protest leader

Art and Literature

Eavan Boland (75) Irish poet who began publishing her poetry in the mid-‘60s in Ireland and soon became one of the most prominent women on the male-dominated literary landscape of that country. Boland acknowledged that her emergence and that of other women on the Irish literary landscape was unsettling in a land where “poet” generally meant William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney, and other men. Boland's numerous volumes of poetry earned her many accolades, including a lifetime achievement award in 2017 at the Irish Book Awards. Her poems had a personal side, and a feminine side, that work by male poets often did not. She died of a stroke in Dublin, Ireland on April 27, 2020.

David Carter (67) writer whose careful research into the Stonewall Inn uprising of 1969, a pivotal event in gay rights history, culminated in an authoritative book on the subject and helped to win the area in Greenwich Village where the episode occurred a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Carter’s best-known book, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, was published in 2004 when a younger generation might not have fully appreciated how oppressive life was for gay men and women in the New York of the ‘60s. Tensions boiled over at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when the police staged one of their periodic raids and the patrons and people on the street resisted. Days of disturbances and demonstrations followed, and the event came to be recognized as a crucial moment in an evolving movement. Carter died of a heart attack in New York City on May 1, 2020.

Germano Celant (79) curator, critic, and art historian who brought postwar Italian art to international prominence. In 1967, as a 27-year-old curator in Genoa, Celant mounted an exhibition of five young Italian artists who made assemblages of humble materials, which he grouped under the term “Arte Povera” (“poor art”). Those artists bridled against the conventions of the Italian academies (and American Pop art) and made a virtue of simple everyday objects: melted wax, rusting iron, fallen leaves, ground coffee, even horses munching hay. The young Italians embraced a new art that paid new attention to the human body and the environment. Celant helped to promote them with exhibitions, magazine articles, and a 1969 book, Arte Povera, which collected and analyzed the art of Boetti, Kounellis, Giuseppe Penone, Giovanni Anselmo, and others who achieved international acclaim. Celant died of the new coronavirus in Milan, Italy on April 29, 2020.

Louis Delsarte (75) artist who celebrated black history and culture through dreamlike paintings, drawings, prints, and, above all, large-scale public murals. Delsarte created monumental murals throughout New York. Among his best-known pieces is a 20-foot-long mosaic, “Transitions,” installed in 2001 inside the Church Avenue subway station in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Made of bright shards of glass, “Transitions” depicts sidewalk strollers, churchgoers, and costumed men and women celebrating the West Indian American Day Parade in uplifting scenes of black life rendered in stunning color. Delsarte died of a heart condition in Atlanta, Georgia on May 2, 2020.

Lenora Fay Garfinkel (90) American architect specializing in the design and construction of Jewish ritual buildings. Lenora Fay Josephy, as she was then, was among the first women to enroll in Cooper Union’s architecture program in the class of 1950. She maintained an architecture office in Monsey, New York for more than 50 years. The business was ranked in the top 8 per cent of New York licensed contractors. Lenora Garfinkel designed the Atrium, an UltraOrthodox events space in Monsey, and the Viznitz Synagogue. She became an authority on the religious regulations and design specifications for Jewish ritual institutions, including mikvahs and synagogues. She was married to Sam Garfinkel, a pharmacist, in 1958. The couple had five children, 20 grandchildren, and more than 50 great-grandchildren. Two of their sons are also architects. Garfinkel died in Hackensack, New Jersey from the coronavirus. A son and a grandson died of the same disease within a week of her death on April 29, 2020.

Maj Sjöwall (84) Swedish novelist who collaborated with her companion on a series of police thrillers that heralded the crime-fiction genre of Nordic Noir (including the wildly successful books of Stieg Larsson). With their first novel, Roseanna (1965), about the strangling death of a young tourist, Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, her writing and domestic partner, introduced Martin Beck, a homicide detective in Stockholm. The couple wrote nine more Beck books, including The Laughing Policeman, which won the Edgar Award in 1971 for best mystery novel and was made into a film in ‘73 starring Walter Matthau, with its setting moved from Stockholm to San Francisco. Several Swedish movies and a TV series, Beck, have been made based on the novels. Wahlöö died shortly before their 10th Beck mystery, The Terrorists, was published in 1975, and Sjöwall never revisited the detective. She died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Landskrona, Sweden on April 29, 2020.


Business and Science

Ben Benson (89) restaurateur who got his start helping his former college buddy more or less invent the singles bar when they ran the original TGI Fridays in the ‘60s. To a generation of New Yorkers, Benson’s voice from a radio jingle is as familiar as his newspaper ads for his eponymous steak house. The most famous came in the wake of the 1985 murder of Paul Castellano, then boss of the Gambino crime family. Castellano and an aide were shot on the sidewalk heading into Sparks Steak House on Manhattan’s East Side. The ad featured a photograph of the crime scene and the tagline, “Eat at Ben Benson’s. It won’t kill you.” Benson died of organ failure in New York City on April 29, 2020.

R. D. Hubbard (84) once owned part of Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos Race Course. Hubbard made his money in the glass business. He started as a salesman and nine years later was president of Safelite Auto Glass. In 1969 he became interested in quarter horses and later branched out to thoroughbreds. R. D. Hubbard became a household name in 1990 when he orchestrated a hostile takeover of Hollywood Park from Marje Everett. Hubbard, who owned 9.9 per cent of the stock, staged a proxy fight that eventually gave him control of the track in February 1991. One of his first acts was to overturn the long-standing rule that coats and ties had to be worn in the Turf Club. In 1995 he thought he had a deal with Al Davis to turn Hollywood Park’s cavernous parking lot into a stadium that would be the home of the Los Angeles Raiders, only to have his handshake agreement fall through after everyone had gathered for a news conference to announce the deal. In 1999 Hollywood Park was sold to Churchill Downs Inc. Hubbard died in Palm Desert, California on April 29, 2020.

Dr. Paul Marks (93) transformed Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center into one of the world’s leading institutions for research and treatment of cancer. Sloan Kettering today is very different from the institution Marks joined in 1980 as president and chief executive. It was still reeling from a scientific scandal in the ‘70s involving falsified data. It was also behind the times, focused more on surgical interventions than on the developing frontiers of biological science. Coming to the job when the field of molecular biology was exploding, Marks applied the benefits of that emerging field, which traces the interactions of cells and biological processes at the molecular level, to cancer and encouraged the institution to pursue alterations in DNA that cause tumors. He died in New York City from a combination of pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer that was untreatable because of the fibrosis, on April 28, 2020.

Robert May (84) Australian-born scientist whose mathematical insights blazed new paths in fields as diverse as ecology, epidemiology, and the structure of financial systems. The breadth of May’s work across three continents and at institutions like Princeton and Oxford Universities and Imperial College London dazzled scientists in the varied fields that his intellect touched. He showed an uncanny knack for identifying key problems in the fields of study he focused on and for developing simple mathematical models that could deepen understanding of them. He died of Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia in Oxford, England on April 28, 2020.

Marcel Ospel (70) built the Swiss bank UBS into a global banking power but then saw it come close to unraveling during the financial crisis of 2008. Ospel rose from modest origins to become the leading figure in Swiss banking in the early years of the 21st century—and, for a time, one of the top financial executives of his generation. His crowning achievement was engineering the merger in 1998 of Swiss Bank Corp., which he headed, with Union Bank of Switzerland, creating the wealth management giant UBS. As UBS’s first chief executive, Ospel tried to parlay the bank’s status as the largest player in the secretive Swiss banking world into a position as a leading global wealth manager and investment bank. As part of that effort, he acquired the big American brokerage firm PaineWebber in 2000. Ospel died of cancer in Wollerau, Switzerland, near Zürich, on April 26, 2020.

John E. ('Jack') Randall (95) ichthyologist (scientist who deals with fishes) who swam the waters of the world to add new creatures to science’s tally of ocean life. Beginning his scientific career in the ‘50s as the young field of scuba diving was opening the ocean depths to exploration, Randall named 30 new genera and 834 new species of fish. His precision in recognizing tiny differences among specimens and his encyclopedic knowledge of the field meant that his species identifications were unusually durable; 97 per cent of them are still regarded as valid, in contrast to the 50–60 per cent recorded by other giants in the field. He was the author of 942 papers—more publications than any other ichthyologist (of any subdiscipline) in history. Randall died of lung cancer in Kaneohe, Hawaii on April 26, 2020.


News and Entertainment

Tony Allen (79) drummed his way out of Lagos, Nigeria with Fela Kuti to become an architect of the Afrobeat sound. Allen’s work on percussion starting in the mid-‘60s set in motion a rhythm that upended a city, then a continent, and, finally, the world. United as postcolonial strife was consuming their country, Kuti and Allen drew on Nigeria's pop music of the time, called high life, in their early work. But, as retold in the hit Broadway musical Fela!, during a visit to Los Angeles in 1969, Kuti, Allen, and the rest of the band converged with area Black Panthers. The band returned to Lagos and energized the country with drum riots. Although connected to Kuti’s projects, most notably Africa 70, Allen’s percussion work continued to evolve after he left Kuti’s circle in the early ‘80s. Teaming with the New York/Paris imprint Celluloid, he beefed up his bottom-end tones, pushing up the levels on the recording mikes to make sounds informed by the hip-hop-fueled ‘80s. Allen died in Paris, France on April 30, 2020.

Else Blangsted (99) fled Nazi Germany as a teenager believing she had given birth to a stillborn child, then built a career as a leading music editor on Hollywood films. For more than 30 years Blangsted played a major part in shaping how movie music was heard through her work on features like The Color Purple, Tootsie, and On Golden Pond. She broke down film scripts to show composers precisely where to place parts of their scores, in dialogue or action, and for exactly how long. She was the composers’ representative throughout the recording sessions. In 1984 Blangsted learned that her daughter had survived, and the two were reunited. Blangsted died in Los Angeles, California on May 1, 2020.

Oscar Chávez (85) one of Mexico’s best-known protest singers. Chávez was best known for folk-style songs lampooning Mexico’s corrupt political elite. One such song was “La Casita” (“The Little House”), which described an imaginary politician’s mansion. Chávez had sung ballads since the ‘60s and played in public as recently as 2019. Mexico has reported 19,224 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,859 deaths. Chávez had a chronic lung condition. He tested positive for the coronavirus and died of COVID-19-related pneumonia on April 30, 2020.

Bernard Gersten (97) executive who helped to turn two of New York's nonprofit theater companies into powerhouse presenters of award-winning plays and musicals. Gersten was Joseph Papp’s top deputy at the New York Shakespeare Festival for 18 years in the ‘60s and ’70s, a time when the two worked together to build the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for free summer productions of Shakespeare and to turn the old Astor Library on Lafayette Street in the East Village into the Public Theater, the original home of such notable plays as Jason Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winner, That Championship Season, besides the landmark musicals Hair and A Chorus Line. For 28 years beginning in 1985, Gersten was executive producer, with responsibility for management, marketing, and budgeting, of Lincoln Center Theater. He died of pancreatic cancer in New York City on April 27, 2020.

Lynn Harrell (76) leading American cellist whose playing, begun when he was 8 years old, combined robust sound, musicianship, and feeling for nuances. In his 20s critics were already describing Harrell as a “gentle giant” of the cello. At 6 feet 4 inches tall and built like a linebacker, with long arms and enormous hands, he seemed to envelop the cello when he played it, producing penetrating sound easily; yet he was also a sensitive interpreter and a subtle colorist. He made frequent appearances on Live from Lincoln Center TV broadcasts, and he shared two Grammy Awards in the ‘80s with violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy for recordings of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Trios and Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A Minor. Harrell died suddenly of suspected cardiac arrest in Santa Monica, California on April 27, 2020.

S. Roger Horchow (91) founder of the Horchow Collection, a mail-order business aimed at the middle and upper-middle classes that sold jewelry, housewares, furniture, clothes, and more. Horchow sold the business to Neiman Marcus in 1988 for $117 million. By then he had already done a little investing in Broadway shows—said that the $15,000 he put into Les Miserables, which opened in 1987, earned him a 600-per cent profit. But his long-standing dream was reviving Girl Crazy, a 1930 show with music by George Gershwin, whom Horchow had met as a child, and lyrics by his brother, Ira Gershwin. That idea became Crazy for You, with songs by the Gershwins (some from Girl Crazy, some from other sources) and lots of input from Horchow, who brought to the business of constructing a musical the gut instincts he had used to select items for his catalogues. Opening in 1992, it ran for four years. Horchow died of cancer in Dallas, Texas on May 2, 2020.

Peter Hunt (81) theater, film, and TV director who won a Tony Award for the original run of the musical 1776. Hunt rose to prominence in 1969 when he directed the inaugural Broadway production of 1776, with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, book by Peter Stone, and a cast that included William Daniels and Betty Buckley. The show, which logged more than 1,200 performances in its three-year run, won three Tony Awards, including best musical, best performance by a featured actor (Ron Holgate), and best director (Hunt). Hunt later directed Columbia Pictures’ film adaptation of 1776, which was released in 1972 and starred many of the same actors as the Broadway run. Later a TV director, Hunt died in Los Angeles, California from complications of Parkinson’s disease on April 26, 2020.

Rishi Kapoor (67) top Indian actor, a scion of Bollywood’s most famous Kapoor family. His father Raj Kapoor and grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor were doyens of Bollywood, the vast Hindi-language film industry based in the western coastal city of Mumbai. Rishi acted in more than 90 films. His son Ranbir Kapoor is a current top Bollywood actor. Rishi Kapoor had a huge fan following across generations. His popular hits included Laila Majnu, a story of legendary Indian lovers. In 1999 he directed Let’s Go Back. He switched to supporting roles in the 2000s, and his popular movies included Namastey London and Love Aaj Kal (Love Today & Tomorrow). He acted until recently, and his last movie, The Body, was released in 2019. He returned to India last September after undergoing treatment for leukemia in the US for almost a year. He was hospitalized twice in February and died in Mumbai, India on April 30, 2020.

Irrfan Khan (54) veteran character actor in Bollywood movies and one of India’s best-known exports to Hollywood. Khan played the police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire and park executive Masrani in Jurassic World. He also appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man and the adventure fantasy Life of Pi. Khan made his screen debut in the Oscar-nominated 1988 drama Salaam Bombay!, a tale of Mumbai’s street children. In 2018 he was diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer and underwent months of treatment in the United Kingdom. He died in Mumbai, India after being hospitalized with a colon infection, on April 29, 2020.

Nick Kotz (87) Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who exposed health hazards in US slaughterhouses, hunger in America, and the politics behind the Pentagon’s B-1 bomber. Kotz was a Washington correspondent for the Des Moines Register and its sister paper, the Minneapolis Tribune, when he wrote a series of articles in the mid-‘60s on the unsanitary and unsafe conditions in meat-packing plants. He found that many plants were not subject to federal inspection because they were not engaged in interstate commerce. The series brought him the Pulitzer for national reporting in 1968. Kotz was killed in an accident on his cattle farm in Broad Run, Virginia after he mistakenly left his 2006 Mercedes in neutral as he tried to retrieve a package from the back seat. The car struck him as it rolled backward, on April 26, 2020.

John Lafia (63) writer-director who cowrote the 1988 horror movie Child’s Play and directed its ‘90 sequel. Lafia got his start on the Los Angeles experimental music scene in the ’80s before kickstarting a career in film. He worked in the art department on Repo Man and Space Raiders before switching to screenwriting. He wrote, directed, and produced the soundtrack for The Blue Iguana (1988), his first major credit. In 1993 he wrote and directed the science fiction film Man’s Best Friend, which opened at No. 6 and earned more than $12 million at the box office. For Child’s Play, Lafia coined the name “Chucky” and contributed the oft-quoted line, “Hi, I’m Chucky; wanna play?” to the script. His death in Los Angeles, California on April 29, 2020 was ruled a suicide.

Sam Lloyd (56) actor best known for playing hard-luck lawyer Ted Buckland on Scrubs. Lloyd also appeared on several episodes of Desperate Housewives as Dr. Albert Goldfine and on Seinfeld, Modern Family, The West Wing, Cougar Town, and Malcolm in the Middle, and in the films Flubber (1997) and Galaxy Quest (1999). He was also a musician who played bass guitar in the Butties, a Beatles tribute band, and sang in the Blanks, an a capella group that appeared several times on Scrubs as the Worthless Peons. His uncle was actor Christopher Lloyd. Sam Lloyd first received a lung cancer diagnosis in January 2019 when he sought medical attention for headaches and sudden weight loss. Doctors discovered a mass on his brain that was determined to be “too intertwined” to be removed. The cancer had metastasized from his lungs before spreading to his liver, spine, and jaw. He died in Los Angeles, California on April 30, 2020.

Martin Lovett (93) the Amadeus, a string quartet of extraordinary longevity, set the gold standard in chamber music for 40 years after World War II. Its style was in the Viennese tradition of smooth, lush string playing. Its musicians shone above a foundation provided by the solid voice of their cellist, Lovett, the quartet’s last surviving member. He was the only British-born member of the ensemble; first violinist Norbert Brainin, second violinist Siegmund Nissel, and violist Peter Schidlof had fled Austria for England as Jewish émigrés after the Anschluss in 1938. Appearances on the BBC and a German tour in 1950 led to a recording contract that eventually filled 70 CDs in a box set released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2017. The quartet excelled in the core Austro-Germanic repertoire of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms and made only occasional forays into the 20th century for music by Bartok, Tippett, and Britten. Lovett died of Covid-19 in London, England on April 29, 2020.

Florian Schneider (73) helped to pioneer electronic music as cofounder of Kraftwerk, the German band that revolutionized pop music through synthesizers and electronic beats, leading to a broad influence over rock, dance music, and hip-hop. Schneider and fellow group founder Ralf Huetter started working together in 1968 and two years later founded the Kling-Klang-Studio in Duesseldorf and launched Kraftwerk. Schneider died of cancer on April 30, 2020.

Gil Schwartz (68) longtime CBS communications executive who wrote humorous novels and columns under the pen name Stanley Bing. Schwartz had a distinguished nearly 40-year career in corporate America with CBS, Viacom, and Westinghouse Broadcasting. He retired in 2018 from his post as senior executive vice president and chief communications officer of CBS Corp. But unlike most of his peers, Schwartz had a once-secret, then public side career as a lauded humorist and writer of 13 books who satirized the business world he was part of. Under the pseudonym Stanley Bing, he wrote a column in Esquire for 13 years, then in Fortune. He died in Santa Monica, California on May 2, 2020.

Matty Simmons (93) producer of the 1978 comedy Animal House and the popular series of Vacation movies. Simmons also cofounded National Lampoon magazine. Before launching a successful, high-profile career in entertainment, he was executive Vice President of Diners Club, the first credit card company. During that time, in the late ‘50s, he hired blacklisted Hollywood writers to contribute to Signature, the club’s magazine. But Simmons is perhaps best known for cofounding the goofy humor magazine National Lampoon in 1970. In its heyday, it attracted the country’s brightest and best comedy writers. At the height of the magazine’s success, the Lampoon staff undertook other projects, turning the conglomerate into a producer of radio, stage shows, record albums, and movies. Simmons died in Los Angeles, California on April 29, 2020.

Nancy Stark Smith (68) American dancer and participant in Contact Improvisation, the vigorous movement form of which she was a founding member. Smith initially trained as an athlete and gymnast. She studied and performed in modern dance and postmodern dance performances in the early ‘70s. She danced in the first contact improvisation performances in 1972 and later worked as a dancer, performer, instructor, author, and organizer, traveling the world to teach and present performances of contact and improvised dance. She died from ovarian cancer in Florence, Massachusetts on May 1, 2020.


Politics and Military

Ji Chaozhu (90) longtime interpreter for top Chinese officials, including Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Ji was at Zhou Enlai’s side during US President Richard M. Nixon’s groundbreaking trip to China in 1972. Born in China but raised mostly in New York, Ji played a crucial role in a secret visit to Beijing in 1971 by Henry A. Kissinger, then Nixon’s national security adviser. That meeting, which laid the groundwork for Nixon to become the first American president to visit mainland China, led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing after decades of hostility. Ji spoke impeccable English. He did not make policy, but his language skills often helped to shape negotiations. Sometimes he would even translate for both sides when American leaders met with their Chinese counterparts. He died on April 29, 2020.

Denis Goldberg (87) South African antiapartheid activist. Goldberg was a prominent member of the now-ruling African National Congress and stood trial alongside Nelson Mandela. He spent 22 years in prison for his involvement with the ANC’s fight against apartheid, the racist system of oppression imposed by the white minority government. When his fellow accused were sent to Robben Island, as a white prisoner Goldberg was separated from them and imprisoned in the capital, Pretoria. He continued his activism in postapartheid South Africa and was a critic of former president Jacob Zuma, who stepped down in 2018 and faces multiple allegations of corruption. Goldberg was a critic of the ANC’s performance in government and the socioeconomic conditions of the largely black poor majority in South Africa, one of the world’s most unequal countries. He died of lung cancer and diabetes near Cape Town, South Africa on April 29, 2020.

William Haddad (91) civic evangelist who helped to streamline the sale of cheaper generic drugs to American consumers and pare the price of AIDS treatment globally to $1 a day. Armed with evidence he had amassed as director of the New York State Assembly’s Office of Oversight & Analysis, Haddad persuaded the Legislature and Gov. Hugh L. Carey in 1974 to let doctors prescribe equivalent generic drugs in place of higher-priced brand names. Taking his campaign nationwide as chairman of what was then called the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, an industry group, and his own drug company, Haddad was instrumental in shepherding landmark legislation in 1984 that removed longstanding legal and regulatory hurdles to the manufacture and sale of generic drugs. He died of congestive heart failure in Poughquag, New York, in the Hudson Valley, on April 30, 2020.

Gen. Frederick Kroesen (97) led combat troops in three wars, held major Army command posts, and was vice chief of staff of the Army. Kroesen was remembered as well for narrowly escaping death in an assassination attempt by a left-wing German terrorist group in 1981. The four-star commander of some 220,000 American troops and NATO forces in Europe, Kroesen was being driven to his headquarters in Heidelberg, West Germany in a Mercedes-Benz with armor plating, a precaution against a possible terrorist attack, when two rocket-propelled antitank grenades were fired at it from a wooded hillside. The first one exploded in the trunk of the car, partly shattering its rear window, and exited through a fender. A second grenade missed the vehicle. At least eight shots were fired at the auto and an accompanying military police vehicle, but none penetrated the passenger compartments. Kroesen died in Alexandria, Virginia on April 30, 2020.

Gil Loescher (75) the Iraq war had been going on for six months when Loescher, a scholar and champion of refugees’ rights, arrived in Baghdad in August 2003 as a member of openDemocracy, a London-based human rights organization. On Aug. 19, he and others went to the United Nations headquarters there to discuss the humanitarian costs of the war with Sérgio Vieira de Mello, UN special representative in Iraq. Moments after they arrived, a suicide bomber drove a truck packed with explosives into the UN compound and detonated them just below Vieira de Mello’s third-floor office window. Floors collapsed, pinning him and Loescher under the rubble. Vieira de Mello was able to use his cellphone to contact rescue workers. Loescher was pulled out by two firefighters but not before a hasty amputation of both legs had to be performed. At least 22 people were killed in the explosion, and more than 100 were wounded. Of the seven people in the room with Loescher, only he survived. He died of heart failure in Oxford, England, on April 28, 2020.

Gen. Munir Mohamad Mangal (70) Afghan general who served in the country’s security forces for 40 years, most recently as national police commander. At a time when promotion to general became more about political connections and less about the years spent on the force, Mangal had climbed the ladder. In the early years of the US invasion, he helped with the forming of the new army, serving as a corps commander. His final assignment was deputy minister of interior for security, in which he commanded the nation’s police force. The Afghan police are at the forefront of the fight against the Taliban, and hundreds die every month. Mangal ran the force when about 100,000 NATO and American troops were in the country and shouldered much of the fighting. In areas where the police were engaged, his attention to detail and thorough planning ensured that casualties were kept low. Mangal was the country’s highest-profile casualty of the pandemic and the second member of his family to die of the virus; his son, a physician, also died. The general died of Covid-19 in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 2, 2020.

Ralph W. McGehee (92) veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine crusades in Vietnam who went to war against the CIA itself. McGehee’s 1983 memoir, Deadly Deceits, was a scathing critique, a chronicle of the CIA’s Cold War covert operations in Southeast Asia and his dawning realization that the American cause in Vietnam was doomed. By the time he retired in 1977, McGehee was convinced that the agency was a malevolent force. Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA appeared six years later, after the agency had sought and won significant deletions. Although CIA veterans had published memoirs since the ‘60s, few had accused the agency of distorting intelligence to deceive American presidents and the American public to protect its power. McGehee died of Covid-19 in Falmouth, Maine on May 2, 2020.


Society and Religion

Bobby Lee Verdugo (69) one of the leaders of the 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkout to protest discrimination and dropout rates among Mexican-American students, which triggered a movement across the American Southwest. Born in East LA, Verdugo became a key figure in the 1968 student movement of Mexican-Americans who faced physical punishment for speaking Spanish in class and discrimination from white administrators and teachers. He said he never forgot being paddled often in front of classmates for speaking Spanish. Verdugo died on May 1, 2020.


Sports

Heyward Dotson (71) helped to lift Columbia University's basketball team to its only Ivy League title in 1968 and later attended the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. Dotson was a 6-foot-4 point guard on a disciplined team, coached by Jack Rohan, that was known for its full-court pressing defense. On the 1967–68 team, he averaged 13.7 points a game, third to Jim McMillian, and led the Lions in assists. He died of liver failure in the Bronx, New York on May 1, 2020.


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