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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, August 29, 2020

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Tyler Amburgey, hockey player and coachSiah Armajani, sculptor, with his 'Bridge over Tree' in Brooklyn, NYChadwick Boseman, actor who portrayed black American iconsArchbishop Oscar Cruz, Philippine Catholic leaderVerne Edquist, favorite piano tuner of Glenn Gould, for oneSophia Farrar, left, and neighbor Kitty GenoveseGerald D. Hines, Houston real estate developerEleanor Jacobs, helped to popularize Earth ShoesDJ Jaffe, adman turned mental health crusaderRandall Kenan, author and college professorEdith Raymond Locke, longtime editor of 'Mademoiselle'Anthony Martignetti, appeared in '60s TV commercialDr. Marion Moses, expert on health of US farm workersLori Nelson, '50s–'60s film and TV actressLute Olson, University of Arizona basketball coachJulia Reed, Southern food and culture writerCliff Robinson, UConn and Portland basketball starJoe Ruby, cocreator of 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You'Jürgen Schadeberg, photographer of South African apartheidDr. Seymour Schwartz, author of iconic medical textbookGail Sheehy, journalist author of self-help 'Passages'Gerald Shur, creator of US witness protection programArnold Spielberg, right, computer engineer and father of filmmaker Steven SpielbergWolfgang Uhlmann, chess grandmasterJakob van Zyl, NASA engineer

Art and Literature

Siah Armajani (81) Iranian-born American artist whose architecturally scaled, politically tinged public sculptures have been internationally influential, even as he kept a low profile in the art world. Some of those communal places took the form of bridges, either fully functional (one spans an interstate highway in Minneapolis) or sculptural and symbolic. Many of his designs were based on the traditional American covered bridge, a rural structure meant to offer both passage and protection. Armajani also built gardens and reading rooms dedicated to political figures he admired, including Emma Goldman and Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. He died of heart disease in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a city he had lived and worked in for 60 years, on August 27, 2020.

Randall Kenan (57) author whose stories explored the experience of being black and gay in the American South. Kenan was an English professor at the University of North Carolina whose fiction blended myth, magic, mysticism, and realism. His 1992 collection of short stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, received critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He also wrote a young adult biography of author James Baldwin. In 2015 Kenan learned he had had a ministroke and was starting to develop heart problems. He was found dead at his home in Hillsborough, North Carolina, near Chapel Hill, on August 28, 2020.

Jürgen Schadeberg (89) German-born photographer who survived wartime Berlin, then emigrated to South Africa, creating some of the most enduring images of Nelson Mandela and chronicling the increasingly violent imposition of apartheid on black lives. Schadeberg gained entree into segregated black communities and photographed such emblems of talent in the face of adversity as singer Miriam Makeba and trumpeter Hugh Masekela. In many ways his work broke the mold of conventional white photography. In a memoir published in 2017, he recalled being dismissed out of hand by a white photo editor in the early ‘50s because he worked with compact 35-mm Leica cameras rather than with the larger format Speed Graphics that then prevailed in the white-run press. The rejection led him toward Drum, a monthly magazine aimed at a black audience that sought to lure readers with investigative reporting and sometimes racy photographs, opinion columns, original fiction, and sensational crime stories often relating to gang warfare in the townships. Schadeberg died of a stroke in La Drova, Spain on August 29, 2020.

Business and Science

Verne Edquist (89) piano tuner who spent his career tweaking the infinitely complicated mechanical actions under the lids of pianos in Toronto, pricking hammers with needles to give the sound different characteristics and adjusting tiny parts. Edquist prepared the pianos for well-known musicians, among them Victor Borge, Duke Ellington, Arthur Rubinstein, Rudolf Serkin, and Liberace, but he was chiefly known as personal tuner for famously eccentric virtuoso Glenn Gould (died 1982), whose pianos Edquist nurtured from the ‘60s to the early ’80s, making exacting adjustments that shaped the sounds heard on Gould’s recordings. Edquist could tell a Yamaha from a Steinway over the phone. He died of kidney failure in Toronto, Canada on August 27, 2020.

Gerald D. Hines (95) engineer who started out as a builder of small, anonymous warehouses in Houston and transformed the business of commercial real estate development by hiring blue-chip architects to build commercial skyscrapers around the globe. The firm he founded in 1957, Hines, grew from a one-man operation to an international colossus with more than 4,800 employees in 25 countries, managing $144.1 billion worth of real estate. At his death, Hines’s company had built 907 projects around the world, including more than 100 skyscrapers, many of them designed by architects like I. M. Pei, Harry Cobb, Philip Johnson and John Burgee, Cesar Pelli, Kevin Roche, Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Robert A. M. Stern, and the firm Kohn Pedersen Fox. Hines built the Lipstick Building (officially 885 Third Avenue) in Manhattan and Pennzoil Place, Williams Tower, and Bank of America Plaza in Houston, all designed by Johnson and Burgee. He died of cancer in Greenwich, Connecticut on August 23, 2020.

Eleanor Jacobs (91) stumbled on a pair of odd-looking shoes in Denmark and, with her husband, Raymond (died 1993), created a short-lived phenomenon by selling them in the US as Earth Shoes. In 1969, while the couple were vacationing in Denmark, Eleanor’s chronic back pain increased from all the walking she had been doing. She found unexpected relief with a pair of negative-heel shoes she found at a store in Copenhagen. Originally called Anne Kalso Minus-Heels, named after the Danish yoga instructor who had designed them, they featured a wide toe box and a sole that was thicker in the front than in the back. Raymond, a commercial photographer at the time, suggested they try to sell the shoes in the US. When they called Kalso, she was happy that the Jacobses were not in the shoe business—she had rejected earlier offers from conventional shoe manufacturers—and that Raymond wanted to market the shoes as part of a back-to-nature movement. In April 1970, the couple opened a store in their Manhattan brownstone. In all, they sold millions of pairs of Earth Shoes before the craze ended in 1977. Eleanor Jacobs died of congestive heart failure in Litchfield, Connecticut on August 25, 2020.

DJ Jaffe (65) while Jaffe was working as an advertising executive on Madison Avenue, he and his wife became caretakers of his wife’s half-sister, who had moved from Milwaukee as a troubled teenager to live with them in their Manhattan apartment. Before long she became catatonic. She was later found to have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The experience plunged Jaffe into the world of mental health, which he soon came to see as dysfunctional. It also turned him into a crusader. Even as he pursued a successful 30-year advertising career, he became a powerful voice and lobbyist for people with profound mental illnesses. Jaffe became the driving force behind Kendra’s Law, a controversial measure passed in New York State in 1999 that authorized the courts to mandate outpatient psychiatric treatment for people who might pose a danger to themselves or others. The law was named for Kendra Webdale, a young woman who was killed when a stranger with untreated schizophrenia shoved her in front of an oncoming subway train in Manhattan in 1999. Jaffe died of leukemia in New York City on August 23, 2020.

Edith Raymond Locke (99) fled Nazi-occupied Vienna at 18 and rose to become a longtime editor of Mademoiselle magazine, where she worked with photographers like Arthur Elgort and mentored designers like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. In the ‘60s and beyond, Locke was a booster of young designers, models, and photographers. Karan was an assistant at Anne Klein in the late ‘60s when Locke encouraged her to take the top job there after Klein’s death in 1974. And Locke was an early champion of Lauren, who said that she continued to attend his fashion shows well into her 80s. She died in Thousand Oaks, California on August 23, 2020.

Anthony Martignetti (63) Massachusetts man who as a 12-year-old boy appeared in an iconic TV commercial for Prince spaghetti, running through the streets of Boston’s Italian North End. The 1969 commercial featured a woman—not his real mother—leaning out a tenement window and shouting, “Anthony! Anthony!” The commercial that ran nationally for 13 years cut to the young boy, who had moved to the US from Italy just three years earlier, sprinting through the city streets until he burst panting through the front door. Martignetti later worked as a court officer in Dedham and lived in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood. He had been awaiting treatment for severe sleep apnea when he died in his sleep in West Roxbury, Massachusetts on August 23, 2020.

Dr. Marion Moses (84) foremost expert on the health of the US's 2.5 million agricultural workers beginning in the ‘80s. Moses became an authority on pesticide poisoning of farm laborers, advocated for their health care and better working conditions, and was leader of the nation’s first medical study on migrant farmworkers in the ‘90s. But she was also a close friend and personal physician of labor and civil rights leaders Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement and Cesar Chavez, cofounder of the United Farm Workers union. Moses died of natural causes in San Francisco, California on August 28, 2020.

Dr. Seymour Schwartz (92) internationally renowned surgeon who cowrote a surgical textbook for medical students. Schwartz’s medical career spanned 60 years and included his coauthorship of Principles of Surgery, which McGraw-Hill first published in 1969; the book has now reached its 11th edition. Schwartz launched his career at a time when the world saw its first open heart operation, first kidney transplant, and the debut of balloon catheters and cardiac pacemakers to treat cardiovascular disease. His seminal text became the standard for medical students around the world as the field underwent a shift from relying on exploratory surgery to diagnose medical issues to turning to increasingly widespread X-rays. He died in St. Louis, Missouri on August 28, 2020.

Gail Sheehy (83) journalist, commentator, and pop sociologist whose best-selling Passages helped millions to navigate their lives from early adulthood to middle age and beyond. Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life was published in 1976 and immediately caught on with a generation torn by the cultural revolution of the time, sorting through midlife struggles, marital problems, changing gender roles, and questions about identity. As Sheehy noted in the book’s foreword, close studies of childhood and old age were widely available, but far less scrutiny had been given to the prime years of work and relationships. She died of pneumonia in Southampton, New York on August 24, 2020.

Arnold Spielberg (103) father of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and an innovating engineer whose work helped to make the personal computer possible. The elder Spielberg and Charles Propster designed the GE-225 mainframe computer in the late ‘50s while working for General Electric. The machine allowed computer scientists at Dartmouth College to develop the programming language BASIC, which was essential to the rise of personal computers in the ‘70s and ’80s. Arnold Spielberg died in Los Angeles, California on August 25, 2020.

Jakob van Zyl (63) engineer who held crucial positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was involved in numerous space exploration missions over decades. Van Zyl retired in 2019 after a 33-year career. His roles included director for astronomy and physics, director for solar system exploration, and associate director on a project to formulate a vision for JPL’s future. He was involved in missions that sent the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter, Dawn to the asteroid belt, Cassini to Saturn, and the InSight Mars lander and its tying accompanying CubeSat spacecraft. He was also involved in the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission currently en route to the red planet, besides development of future missions. His early work in earth sciences led to roles designing and developing missions using synthetic aperture radar. He suffered a heart attack and died two days later in Pasadena, California, on August 26, 2020.


Gerald Shur (86) in 1961 Shur became an early recruit in the crusade by Robert F. Kennedy, then US attorney general, to break the grip of organized crime in the US. Joining the Justice Department that year as a lawyer assigned to New York, he was tasked with investigating the mob. He realized that witnesses would be more likely to testify against organized crime figures if they weren’t afraid of being assassinated and used that insight to create the federal witness protection program. Largely at Shur’s instigation, the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 created the Witness Security Program (sometimes known as WITSEC) under the US Marshals Service. Shur died of lung cancer in Warminster, Pennsylvania on August 25, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Chadwick Boseman (43) actor who first slipped on the cleats of Jackie Robinson, then the dancing shoes of Godfather of Soul James Brown, portraying both black American icons with an intensity that commanded respect. When the former playwright suited up as Black Panther, he brought gravitas to the Marvel superhero whose “Wakanda forever!” salute reverberated worldwide. But as his Hollywood career boomed, Boseman was privately undergoing “countless surgeries and chemotherapy” to battle colon cancer. He had been diagnosed at stage 3 in 2016 but never spoke publicly about it. The cancer was there when his character T’Challa visited the ancestors’ “astral plane” in poignant scenes from the Oscar-nominated Black Panther, there when he first became a producer on the action thriller 21 Bridges, and there last summer when he shot an adaptation of a play by his hero August Wilson. It was there when he played a radical black leader—seen only in flashbacks and visions—whose death is mourned by Vietnam War comrades-in-arms in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. Boseman died of colon cancer in Los Angeles, California on August 28, 2020.

Lori Nelson (87) actress who appeared with some of Hollywood’s biggest names in film and on TV in the ‘50s. Nelson began her career as a contract player at Universal-International, costarring with James Stewart and Rock Hudson in the 1952 western Bend of the River, starring opposite Donald O’Connor in Francis Goes to West Point, and playing Rosie Kettle in two Ma & Pa Kettle films. Later she was Jack Palance’s love interest in I Died a Thousand Times (1955) and appeared in the 1956 comedy Pardners with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. She also had leading roles in Mohawk (1956), Hot Rod Girl (1956; with Chuck Connors), and Untamed Youth (1957; with Mamie Van Doren). In 1959 she costarred on TV’s How to Marry a Millionaire with Barbara Eden and Merry Anders and regularly had guest roles on other TV series into the early ‘60s. She dated Tab Hunter and was engaged to Burt Reynolds in the ‘50s. Nelson died of Alzheimer’s disease on August 23, 2020.

Julia Reed (59) wrote about food and culture in the South and promoted her native Mississippi Delta. Reed was a contributing editor of Garden & Gun magazine, which chronicles life and culture in the South, and had written numerous books about the region, including one about drinking and dining in New Orleans. She grew up in Greenville, Mississippi before embarking on a writing career that took her to Washington, DC; New York; and New Orleans. She built a house near her parents in Greenville and turned a local tamale festival into a gathering of writers, chefs, and artists to raise money for affordable housing and development. The governor of Mississippi and the state’s Arts Commission named her a cultural ambassador in 2019 in part for her work with the festival. A chapter in her book, Julia Reed’s South, eventually led her to write an entire book on how to party and dine in New Orleans. She also served on the board of the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans. Reed died of cancer in Newport, Rhode Island on August 28, 2020.

Joe Ruby (87) Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the goofy animated mystery series featuring a ragtag quartet of teenage sleuths and a cowardly Great Dane with a gruff bark who leads the gang in and out of trouble, was a hit from its first episode in 1969. It became a Saturday morning staple, and it grew into one of the most lucrative franchises in the history of animation, making the reputations (but not the fortunes) of its creators, Ken Spears and Joe Ruby, a longtime writer and producer of animated TV shows. Ruby and Spears had been working mostly as editors at Hanna-Barbera, the leading TV animation studio, when they were charged with creating a show that was a mash-up of I Love a Mystery, a popular radio show heard from 1939–44 about three adventure-seeking pals; the ‘48 horror-comedy movie Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein; and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, the ‘59–63 sitcom about a hapless teenager. Joe Ruby died in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 2020.

Society and Religion

Archbishop Oscar Cruz (85) outspoken senior Philippine Catholic Church leader who railed against illegal gambling and challenged politicians with stinging commentaries. Cruz, a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines—a powerful institution in the predominantly Catholic country—used his influence to direct attention to social ills. When Rodrigo Duterte was running for president in 2016, Cruz said the famously foul-mouthed politician was dangerous and “worse than a dictator.” The archbishop, who was also a canon lawyer, turned a sharp eye against not just the government but also the church itself. He died of the coronavirus in Manila, Philippines on August 26, 2020.

Sophia Farrar (92) the story of Kitty Genovese, combined with the number 38, became a parable for urban indifference after Genovese was stalked, raped, and stabbed to death in her Queens, New York neighborhood. Two weeks after the murder, the New York Times reported in a front-page article that 37 apathetic neighbors who witnessed the murder failed to call the police, and another called only after she was dead. It took decades for a more complicated truth to unravel, including the fact that one neighbor actually raced from her apartment to rescue Genovese, knowing she was in distress but unaware whether her assailant was still on the scene. That woman, Farrar, was the unsung heroine who cradled the body of Genovese and whispered “Help is on the way” as she lay bleeding. At around 3 a.m. on March 13, 1964, 28-year-old Genovese was stabbed repeatedly, raped, and robbed of $49 in two separate attacks by the same man as she returned home from her job as a bar manager. The murder was reported in a four-paragraph article in the Times. Two weeks later, its interest piqued by a tip from the city’s police commissioner, the Times produced a front-page account of the killing that transformed the murder into a global allegory for callous egocentrism in the urban jungle. Farrar died of pneumonia in Manchester, New Jersey on August 28, 2020.


Tyler Amburgey (29) began playing hockey at age 7 in the Dallas area and by his late teens was a talented defenseman in USA Hockey’s national player development program. Amburgey loved every aspect of the sport during a playing career that took him to six teams in three professional leagues from 2012–16. But his years in hockey took a physical toll: five hip operations, concussions, and other hard hits. Recently he had memory problems. To determine whether the cause was chronic traumatic encephalopathy, his brain was donated to the CTE Center at Boston University, according to his wishes. He had caught his usual summer cold from shuttling between the Texas heat and the chill of the ice rinks where he coached two youth teams. But over three days in August he began feeling other symptoms, including body aches, nausea, and headaches. Covid-19 was detected after his death. More than 30 cases of the disease have been tied to youth hockey teams in north Texas in late August and early September. Amburgey died in Lavon, Texas, about 35 miles northeast of Dallas, on August 29, 2020.

Lute Olson (85) Hall of Fame coach who turned Arizona into a college basketball powerhouse and led the program to its only national title in 1997. Olson spent 24 seasons at Arizona, revitalizing a fan base in the desert while transforming a program that had been to the NCAA Tournament just three times in 79 years before he was hired in 1983. He first took the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament during his second season to start a string of 25 straight appearances. The Wildcats won a national championship under Olson in 1997. His Arizona teams reached the Final Four four times and lost the 2001 national title game to Duke. Olson won a school-record 589 games at Arizona and 11 Pac-10 titles. He was named conference coach of the year seven times and led Arizona to 20 straight 20-win seasons. He was one of five coaches in NCAA history with 29 seasons of at least 20 wins. His 327 conference victories are the most in Pac-10/12 history. Olson died in Tucson, Arizona on August 27, 2020.

Cliff Robinson (53) almost helped to take the Portland Trail Blazers to the top. He guided the University of Connecticut out from the bottom, then helped the Blazers to reach the NBA Finals in 1990 and ’92. He not only never missed the postseason in Portland but hardly missed any games at all, playing all 82 in each of his first five seasons and never appearing in fewer than 75. Robinson had a stroke in 2017 and went into a coma last week. He died in Portland, Oregon on August 29, 2020.

Wolfgang Uhlmann (85) chess grandmaster regarded as the best player in East German history and one of the best German players ever. Uhlmann earned his grandmaster title from the World Chess Federation, the game’s governing body, in 1959. At the time there were only about 100 grandmasters in the world. For many years he was consistently among the top 30 players in the world, peaking at No. 19 in 1971 and again in ‘78 in the official rankings. In the ‘60s and ’70s he won or shared first place in more than 10 major international tournaments. His victory in Raach, Austria in 1969 qualified him for the interzonal tournament in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the next step in the three-year cycle to pick a challenger for the world championship. Uhlmann finished sixth, becoming one of eight players to qualify for the Candidates Matches in 1971, the last step before a title match. He narrowly lost his quarter-final match to Bent Larsen of Denmark, 5.5 to 3.5. Uhlmann had been sick for most of his life after a childhood bout with tuberculosis. He died after a fall in Dresden, Germany on August 24, 2020.

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