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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, November 28, 2020

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David N. Dinkins, first black mayor of NYCDavid Maas, half of husband-wife 'quick change' actPat Quinn, cofounder of ALS ice bucket challenge

Business and Science

Pat Quinn (37) cofounder of the social media ALS ice bucket challenge, which has raised more than $200 million worldwide for Lou Gehrig’s disease research. Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013, a month after his 30th birthday. In 2014 he saw the ice bucket challenge on the social media feed of professional golfer Chris Kennedy, who first dared his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia to take a bucket of ice water, dump it over her head, post a video on social media, and ask others to do the same or to make a donation to charity. Senerchia’s husband had ALS. Quinn and cofounder Pete Frates, along with their teams of supporters, helped to popularize the challenge. Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, died in December 2019 at age 34. When the two picked it up, the phenomenon exploded. Thousands of people participated in the viral trend, including celebrities, sports stars, and politicians. Quinn died of ALS in Yonkers, New York on November 22, 2020.

News and Entertainment

David Maas (57) half of a husband-wife magic act that achieved YouTube stardom, performed on some of TV’s biggest stages, and kept basketball fans nationwide nailed to their seats at halftime with their lightning-fast costume changes. In 1996 Maas married Dania Kaseeva, and the couple first performed their “Quick Change” routine that stumped audiences for decades. Garishly dressed from the outset, they would dance around, then cover each other for mere seconds before emerging in new garb, the old outfits nowhere to be found. The illusion was performed under the veil of a sheet, or even a toss of confetti. It landed the duo on programs like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen, and a slew of late-night shows, and as guests on Big Brother. Maas died of Covid-19 on November 22, 2020.

Politics and Military

David N. Dinkins (93) broke barriers as New York's first black mayor (1990–94) but was doomed to a single term by a soaring murder rate, stubborn unemployment, and his mishandling of a riot in Brooklyn. A calm and courtly figure with a penchant for tennis and formal wear, Dinkins was a dramatic shift from both his predecessor, Ed Koch, and his successor, Rudy Giuliani—two combative and often abrasive politicians in a city with a world-class reputation for impatience and rudeness. But the city he inherited had an ugly side, too. AIDS, guns, and crack cocaine killed thousands of people each year. Unemployment soared, and homelessness was rampant. The city faced a $1.5 billion budget deficit. Dinkins’ low-key, considered approach quickly came to be perceived as a flaw; critics said he was too soft and too slow. His death on November 23, 2020 came just weeks after the death of his wife, Joyce, who died in October at age 89.

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