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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 27, 2020

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Lucius J. Barker, political scientist and professorSteve Bing, film producerThomas Edwin Blanton Jr., last of Klansmen convicted in church bombingHarry Britt, San Francisco supervisor who replaced Harvey MilkDick Buerkle, champion runnerFreddy Cole, pianist and singer, younger brother of Nat ('King') ColeStuart Cornfeld, film producerLinda Cristal, movie and TV actressLester Crystal, executive producer of PBS's 'MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour'Thérèza de Orleans e Bragança, Brazilian princessKathleen Duey, author of books for children and young adultsMike East, US Marine, witness to both US ending and resumption of diplomatic relations with CubaNikolai Fadeyechev, Russian ballet dancerMarc Fumaroli, French historianRichard Gelles, sociologistMilton Glaser, graphic designerDr. Lester Grinspoon, convert to legalization of marijuanaMichael Hawley, computer programmer, professor, musician, speechwriter, and impresarioGregory Katz, AP correspondent in LondonBlaine Kern, Mardi Gras float builderPhil Krueger, former coach and general manager of Tampa Bay BuccaneersAllen Lew, city planning executiveAngela Madsen, Paralympian rowerMargaret Morton, photographed NYC homelessMartha Nierenberg, cofounder of Dansk DesignsBernaldina José Pedro, keeper of traditions of Macuxi indigenous people of BrazilEmma Sanders, challenged all-white delegation at 1964 Democrat National ConventionJoel Schumacher, film directorMarlene Sekaquaptewa, Hopi Tribal governorShirley Siegel, NY state's first female solicitor generalZeev Sternhell, Israeli expert on fascismAndrew ('Jack') Whittaker Jr., record lottery winnerLi Zhensheng, Chinese photographer of Mao Zedong's 'cultural revollution'

Art and Literature

Kathleen Duey (69) children’s book author who wrote more than 75 books for children, middle-grade, and young adult readers. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, a novelization of the DreamWorks film of the same title, made the New York Times best-seller list in 2002. Duey died of cardiac arrest in Fallbrook, California on June 26, 2020.

Milton Glaser (91) groundbreaking graphic designer who decorated Bob Dylan’s silhouette with psychedelic hair and summed up the feelings for his native New York with “I (HEART) NY.” In posters, logos, advertisements, and book covers, Glaser’s ideas captured the spirit of the ‘60s with a few simple colors and shapes. He was the designer on the team that founded New York magazine with Clay Felker in the late ’60s. Glaser suffered from renal failure but died of a stroke in New York City on his 91st birthday, June 26, 2020.

Margaret Morton (71) for nearly 20 years Morton chronicled homeless communities on the edge of society in elegant photographs that drew comparisons to the work of Jacob Riis. From her apartment on East 10th Street in Manhattan, she had a front row view of the homeless encampments that engulfed Tompkins Square Park in the late ‘80s. As she walked to work at Cooper Union, where she was a professor, she began to photograph those improvised structures, showing the ways people were moved to make themselves at home even when they had so little. When the city bulldozed the park in late 1989, scattering those who lived there, Morton followed them and spent the next 10 years documenting their world and that of others on the margins, not only telling their stories but also advocating for their welfare. She died of leukemia in New York City on June 27, 2020.

Li Zhensheng (79) Chinese photographer who at great personal risk documented the dark side of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, producing powerful black-and-white images that remain a rare visual testament to the brutality of that tumultuous period, many of them not developed or seen for years. Many of the images were found stashed under a floor. Li's death was confirmed by Robert Pledge, a founder of Contact Press Images and editor of Li’s photo book Red-Color News Soldier, who said that Li had been hospitalized and died on Long Island, New York on June 23, 2020.


Business and Science

Richard Gelles (73) sociologist who believed in reuniting families even if parents had abused their children—until he saw how often that approach threatened children’s safety. Gelles had been one of the nation’s foremost defenders of family preservation, the practice of reuniting biological parents with their children even if they had abused them. But after studying the horrific deaths of many children at the hands of their parents, including a 15-month-old whose mother suffocated him to death, Gelles did an about-face. He died of brain cancer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 26, 2020.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon (92) Harvard psychiatry professor who became a leading proponent of legalizing marijuana after his research found it was less toxic or addictive than alcohol or tobacco. Grinspoon believed pot was dangerous until his research convinced him otherwise. Then he became a leading proponent of legalization. He died in Newton, Massachusetts on June 25, 2020.

Allen Lew (69) city-planning executive who built a generation of Washington landmarks with a speed that countered the District of Columbia government’s reputation for corruption and incompetence. Lew was best known as a prolific and proficient builder of public works. He succeeded in what can be a thankless mission by first bulldozing or, at least bypassing, the barriers posed by municipal bureaucracy. He circumvented red tape and erected stadiums, schools, hospitals, and convention centers in Washington and New York. Lew died of the novel coronavirus in Queens, New York on June 23, 2020.

Martha Nierenberg (96) had barely turned 20 when she was bundled off a train in central Hungary and hidden by nuns in a Catholic hospital. It was March 1944, and a Nazi occupying force that included Adolf Eichmann was marching into her home city, Budapest. Eichmann, a principal engineer of the Holocaust, immediately embarked on the annihilation of 500,000 Hungarian Jews. Nierenberg, born into one of Hungary’s wealthiest families, evaded capture for two months before friends assured her that she could venture home. There she learned that she was among 42 family members and close associates who were to be driven by the Germans to the Austrian border and, several weeks later, allowed to escape to Switzerland or Portugal. A cofounder of Dansk Designs, she fought to recover family masterpieces stolen by the Nazis when they invaded Hungary. The case, mired in a US court, goes on. Nierenberg died in her sleep in Rye, New York on June 27, 2020.


Education

Marc Fumaroli (88) leading French historian, public intellectual, and defender of the French language and culture against American influence and what he called “globish English.” Fumaroli wrote and taught in defense of the French language and its heritage. He was a member of both the Académie Française, the official council of guardians of the French language, and the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, a learned society devoted to the humanities. He died in Paris, France on June 24, 2020.

Michael Hawley (58) computer programmer, professor, musician, speechwriter, and impresario who helped to lay the intellectual groundwork for what is now called the Internet of Things. A man of many interests, Hawey’s achievements ranged from developing ideas behind the so-called Internet of Things to publishing the world’s biggest book. He began his career as a video game programmer at Lucasfilm, the company created by Star Wars director George Lucas. Hawley spent his last 15 years curating the Entertainment Gathering, or EG, a conference dedicated to new ideas. He died of colon cancer in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 24, 2020.

Zeev Sternhell (85) Israeli academic and expert in the study of fascism who issued dire warnings about the state of Israeli democracy. Sternhell, a Holocaust survivor and a professor of political science at Hebrew University, was an internationally recognized expert and author of several books on fascism and ultranationalism. A longtime peace activist, he was an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and an opponent to Israel’s settler movement. In 2008 he was awarded the country’s prestigious Israel Prize, despite the petitions of Jewish West Bank settlers to deny him the honor. That same year a US-born religious nationalist, Jack Teitel, targeted him for his dovish positions, and Sternhell was wounded by a pipe bomb placed outside his Jerusalem home. An Israeli court handed Teitel two life sentences in 2013 for the murder of two Palestinians and the attempted murder of several others, including Sternhell. In the wake of the attack, Sternhell increasingly warned about the dangers posed to Israeli democracy. He died in Jerusalem, Israel on June 21, 2020.


Law

Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. (82) last of three one-time Ku Klux Klansmen convicted in a 1963 Alabama church bombing that killed four black girls and was the deadliest single attack of the civil rights movement. In May 2001 Blanton was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. The church bombing, exposing the depths of hatred by white supremacists as Birmingham integrated its public schools, was a tipping point of the civil rights movement. Moderates could no longer remain silent, and the fight to topple segregation laws gained new momentum. The investigation into the bombing was stalled early and left dormant for long stretches, but two other ex-Klansmen, Robert Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry, also were convicted in the bombing in separate trials. Chambliss was convicted in 1977 and died in prison in ’85. Cherry was convicted in 2002 and died in prison in ’04. Blanton died at Donaldson Prison, near Birmingham, Alabama, on June 26, 2020.

Shirley Siegel (101) top law school graduate who overcame rejections by 40 male-dominated law firms before forging a career as a leading civil rights lawyer, arguing cases before the Supreme Court, and becoming New York State’s first female solicitor general. Siegel died of a stroke in New York City on June 22, 2020.


News and Entertainment

Steve Bing (55) philanthropist, film producer, and Democrat political donor whose producing credits include The Polar Express and Get Carter. The real estate scion inherited a $600-million fortune at age 18. A major Democrat donor and a friend of former President Bill Clinton, Bing's name was thrust into the spotlight when he became involved in two highly publicized paternity cases. In one, he sued British actress Elizabeth Hurley to force a DNA test after she said he was the father of her baby. In the other case, he sued Kirk Kerkorian for invasion of privacy after the billionaire’s private eye—the infamous Anthony Pellicano—took Bing’s dental floss out of his trash can. Kerkorian was embroiled in a child support lawsuit with his ex-wife, Lisa Bonder, and used the DNA from the floss to prove that Bing was the father of Bonder’s child, Kira. A British court revealed that Bing indeed was the father of Hurley’s baby. Their son, Damian, turned 18 last April. Bing fell to his death from a high-rise building in Century City, California on June 22, 2020.

Freddy Cole (88) pianist and vocalist who spent much of his musical life in the shadow of his older brother, Nat (“King”) Cole (died 1965), but whose talents carried him through a late-career resurgence. Freddy Cole leaned toward a more bluesy style than Nat, who started out playing lively jump blues in the ‘30s before mellowing out his sound and becoming one of the most popular crooners of the 20th century. Freddy sang in a plain-spoken manner, always eye-to-eye with his audience, in a way that Nat—whose voice was floating, mythic, serene—never did. The title of Freddy’s debut album, Waiter, Ask the Man to Play the Blues (1964), reflected the smoky barroom aura of his music. He died of a cardiovascular condition in Atlanta, Georgia on June 27, 2020.

Stuart Cornfeld (67) producer of Zoolander, Dodgeball, and Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller. After working with Anne Bancroft on two projects at the American Film Institute, Cornfeld was introduced to her husband, Mel Brooks, and became his assistant on the 1977 film High Anxiety. He later worked with the couple on several more projects and got his first executive-producing credit on Brooks’s 1980 film The Elephant Man. Cornfeld produced National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985), David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986), Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka (1991), and Guillermo Del Toro’s Mimic (1997). He also had bit parts in several movies including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, in which he played the Pirate King of Captain Hook Fish ‘n’ Chips. In 1999 he teamed with Stiller to launch Red Hour Films, under which they enjoyed success with a string of comedies. Most recently Cornfeld produced the documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics for Netflix. He died of cancer on June 26, 2020.

Linda Cristal (89) Argentine-born actress who played Victoria, the regal, fiery wife of rancher Big John Cannon (Leif Erickson; died 1986) on the ‘60s TV series The High Chaparral. Cristal had made nearly a dozen films in Mexico before arriving in Hollywood to take her first English-speaking role in the Dana Andrews film Comanche (1956), playing the kidnapped daughter of a Spanish aristocrat in Mexico. She later made several westerns before appearing in Blake Edwards’ knockabout comedy The Perfect Furlough (1958). Cristal died in her sleep in Beverly Hills, California on June 27, 2020.

Lester M. Crystal (85) executive producer who expanded the PBS newscast to an hour. After 20 years at NBC News, including two as its president, Crystal moved to The MacNeil/Lehrer Report on PBS and immediately set about transforming it from a half-hour program into The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, a broadcast widely acclaimed for its breadth and depth. Crystal was executive producer of NewsHour for 22 years, helping to establish the program as a distinctive voice in broadcast journalism. Anchored by Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer (who died in January at 85), NewsHour took an in-depth approach to the news that the half-hour news programs of commercial TV largely could not. Crystal died of brain cancer in New York City on June 24, 2020.

Nikolai Fadeyechev (87) one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s greatest dancers, hailed for his distinctive noble style and his chivalry as a partner to the Russian company’s leading ballerinas from the ‘50s to the ’70s. As an artist, Fadeyechev was one of a kind. In a company acclaimed for its athletic male dancers, he chose to be an elegant and eloquent presence. He died of heart failure in Moscow, Russia on June 23, 2020.

Gregory Katz (67) correspondent for the Associated Press in London who recently led the news cooperative’s coverage of Brexit and the election of Boris Johnson as British prime minister. Katz’s career over 40 years took him across the globe, from Latin America to Africa, Asia to Russia, the Middle East, and western Europe. He was part of the team in 1994 that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting at the Dallas Morning News for a series on violence against women around the world. Katz underwent cancer surgery in London in February. He went home for several days afterward but suffered complications and returned to the hospital. While convalescing, he became infected with the coronavirus and fell ill with pneumonia. He died in London, England on June 23, 2020.

Blaine Kern (93) float builder often credited with helping to expand New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebration into a giant event known worldwide. The pre-Lenten celebration has been big for generations in the riverside city, but in 1947 Kern founded Kern Studios, which constructed elaborate floats that helped to distinguish New Orleans’ Mardi Gras festivities from others. Innovations including double-decker floats helped to create a spectacle that draws massive crowds every year. Kern developed an infection after a fall and died in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 25, 2020.

Joel Schumacher (80) filmmaker who dressed New York department store windows before shepherding the Brat Pack to the big screen in St. Elmo’s Fire and steering the Batman franchise into its most baroque territory in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Schumacher was first a sensation in the fashion world after attending Parsons School of Design and decorating Henri Bendel’s windows. His entry to film came first as a costume designer; he dressed a pair of Woody Allen movies in the ‘70s: Interiors and Sleeper. He also wrote the screenplays for a pair of musicals: The Wiz and Sparkle. As a director he established himself as a filmmaker of great flair, if not often good reviews, in a string of mainstream films in the ’80s and ’90s. Schumacher favored entertainment over tastefulness—including those infamous sensual Batman and Robin suits with visible nipples—and did so proudly. He died in New York City after a yearlong battle with cancer, on June 22, 2020.


Politics and Military

Lucius J. Barker (92) political scientist and professor whose professional expertise in race in American politics informed his personal role as a delegate for Jesse Jackson at the 1984 Democrat National Convention. Barker was later a mentor to future politicians like Sen. Cory Booker. He died of Alzheimer’s disease in Menlo Park, California on June 21, 2020.

Harry Britt (82) replaced assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and over 14 years fought for progressive and gay rights measures. A one-time Methodist minister, Britt worked with Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official, on his campaigns. Britt was also openly gay and appointed to the board in 1979 after the ‘78 shooting of Milk and then-Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White. Britt wrote the nation’s first comprehensive domestic partners legislation, which was passed more than 10 years later. He also fought against the AIDS epidemic and for expanding rent control, increasing civilian oversight of police, and limiting downtown growth. He left the board in 1993. Britt died in San Francisco, California on June 24, 2020.

Mike East (81) East and two other US Marine guards at the US Embassy in Havana carried out a melancholy mission in the winter of 1961. The Marines lowered the flag flying at the Embassy while the last remaining members of the American diplomatic corps there were preparing to leave Cuba, a day after the US severed diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro’s government. Along with two fellow Marines, East was back in Cuba 54 years later when a flag was hoisted again at the American Embassy in 2015. He died of lung cancer in Memphis, Tennessee on June 24, 2020.

Bernaldina José Pedro (75} possessed a wealth of knowledge about the songs, dances, crafts, medicines, and prayers of the Macuxi Indigenous people, who live in northernmost Brazil. Pedro was a respected voice in the successful struggle to establish a 4 million-acre Indigenous territory on the border with Guyana. She died of the coronavirus in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima state in Brazil, on June 24, 2020.

Emma Sanders (91) one of the few surviving members of a group whose challenge to an all-white delegation at the 1964 Democrat National Convention brought an end to segregated delegations. Sanders was one of the “unofficial” slate of black Mississippians who sought to displace the nonrepresentative all-white delegation. An educator who pursued a business career and was a voice in state politics, she was a founding member of Mississippi’s Freedom Democrat Party. Its slate, under the name Freedom Democrats, showed up in Atlantic City to challenge the state’s all-white official delegation, which had been empowered by the regular party organization to help choose a presidential nominee. Sanders died in Brandon, Mississippi on June 24, 2020.

Marlene Sekaquaptewa (79) matriarch of a large, distinguished family, a master quiltmaker, and a political leader who played a major role in the Hopi Tribal government for decades. Sekaquaptewa was governor of the village of Bacavi, Arizona and was a key figure in drafting the Hopi Tribal Constitution in 2012. She was also a renowned quiltmaker whose creations have been displayed in museums around the country. Scholars often consulted her about Hopi culture and traditions. She died in Mesa, Arizona after testing positive for Covid-19, on June 24, 2020.


Society and Religion

Thérèza de Orleans e Bragança (91) elegant society figure in Rio de Janeiro who gained international celebrity in the ‘50s and ’60s before transforming herself into a princess by marrying into Brazil’s royal family. De Orleans e Bragança was an “old money” style-setter, one of the last vestiges of a now-largely vanished postwar high society in Rio, an “old money” class, sprinkled with remnants of an even earlier era of Brazilian royalty and aristocracy that prized elegance and discretion over ostentation. She died of heart failure in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 27, 2020.

Andrew ('Jack') Whittaker Jr. (72) whose life became rife with setbacks and tragedy after winning a record $315 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas night 2002. Whittaker became an instant celebrity at 55 when he claimed what was then the largest US lottery jackpot won by a single ticket. He chose the lump-sum payout of $113.4 million after taxes and flew to New York with his family in a private jet to appear on network TV morning shows. But he quickly fell victim to scandals, lawsuits, and personal setbacks amid constant requests for money that left him unable to trust others. Several times he said he wished he had torn up the ticket. His wife left him. A friend of his drug-addicted granddaughter was found dead at his home in 2004. Three months later his 17-year-old granddaughter was gone too. His daughter, Ginger Whittaker Bragg, died in 2009 at age 42 after struggling for years with cancer. And in 2016 he lost a Virginia home to a fire. He struggled with drinking and gambling. His home and car were repeatedly burglarized. At a strip club, thieves broke into his Lincoln Navigator and stole a briefcase stuffed with $245,000 and three $100,000 cashiers’ checks. The briefcase was later found with the money still inside. Whittaker was charged twice with driving while under the influence and sued repeatedly, once by three female casino employees who accused him of assault. He died in West Virginia on June 27, 2020.


Sports

Dick Buerkle (72) when Buerkle stood at the starting line of an indoor mile race in College Park, Maryland in 1978, he was in a new phase of his career. He had been a leading middle-distance runner but had fizzled out at 5,000 meters in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. He took a year off from competing and focused on a new challenge: winning at the mile. On January 13, 1978, at the Catholic Youth Organization Invitational held at the Cole Field House, he broke the indoor mile world record with a time of 3:54.93, finishing ahead of Filbert Bayi and Paul Cummings. Buerkle died on June 22, 2020.

Phil Krueger (90) helped to build a dominant defense as an assistant coach for 1967 national champion University of Southern California and later became part of the first coaching staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Skilled in all phases of the game, Krueger coached offense, defense, and special teams during more than 30 years in the NFL and college. He was head coach at Fresno State and Utah State, going 31-22, and an assistant at Illinois. When he was hired as the Buccaneers’ first general manager in 1991—before that the team’s coaches made the player decisions—he moved from the field to Tampa Bay’s front office and spent 10 years as an executive, where he was known as a skillful contract negotiator. Krueger died of Alzheimer’s disease in south Florida on June 22, 2020.

Angela Madsen (60) three-time Paralympian and Marine Corps veteran who aimed to be the first paraplegic and oldest woman to row the Pacific Ocean. In 2014, while getting ready to row from California to Hawaii, Madsen said rowing is a venue where partially paralyzed people can excel. A friend of Madsen contacted the US Coast Guard June 21 after not hearing from her for more than 24 hours. Madsen, who had been at sea for 59 days, was about 1,145 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii, when she was last heard from. She was found dead, floating in the ocean, tethered to her boat, on June 22, 2020.


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