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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 19, 2020

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Joseph E, Bachelder 3rd, lawyer and compensation negotiatorRoger Berlind, Broadway producer with 25 Tony AwardsJeremy Bulloch, British actor who played Boba Fett in 'Star Wars'Pete Cassidy, longtime men's basketball coach at Cal State NorthridgeKim Chernin, author of '80s self-help bookStanley Cowell, pianist, composer, record-label impresario, and educatorMichael ('Moose') Cusack, helped to inspire Special Olympics movementTed DeLaney, Washington & Lee's first black department headJoan Milke Flores, LA City CouncilwomanDon Fowler, South Carolina and national DNC chairmanJean and Robert Graetz, Alabama civil rights activistsHelen Viola Jackson, last widow of a Civil War veteranCatie Lazarus, writer and comedianMinoru Makihara, former president and chief executive of MitsubishiRose Matsui Ochi, lawyer and activistRichard Means, Illinois election lawyerJoanne Michaels, author of travel guides to New York State's Hudson ValleyBenny Napoleon, former sheriff of Wayne County and police chief of Detroit, Mich.Tim Severin, British adventurer and explorerRoy Wallack, sports and fitness writerWilliam F. Winter, Mississippi governor

Business and Science

Kim Chernin (80) feminist author and counselor who wrote about female body dysmorphia and its cultural causes, besides her own upbringing as the daughter of a Communist organizer jailed for her beliefs. Chernin’s mother was Rose Chernin, a labor organizer and Communist Party leader convicted with others in the McCarthy era of attempting to overthrow the US government. The government also tried twice to deport Rose to her native Russia. In 1957, in a landmark case, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions, ruling that merely encouraging people to believe a certain doctrine was not a crime. It was a seismic moment for the country, and for Kim, who struggled to define herself in relation to her mother—the “Red Leader,” as the newspapers liked to call Rose. In 1980 Kim was an unpublished poet when Ticknor & Fields bought her book, The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness. The manuscript, seven years in the writing, had been rejected by 13 publishers. Anorexia and bulimia were little-discussed disorders at the time. Kim Chernin died of Covid-19 in Marin County, California on December 17, 2020.

Minoru Makihara (90) led Mitsubishi—then the world’s largest company—through the doldrums of Japan’s post-bubble era in the ‘90s and helped it to meet the demands of a globalizing economy. Educated in England and the US, Makihara introduced a new international spirit to what was once Japan’s most powerful company and helped to move it away from its staid, traditional business practices. He became a lifelong champion of US-Japan relations, leading organizations dedicated to building ties between the former enemies. Makihara was raised bilingual, developing an ability to shift between cultures that he tapped throughout his life. He died of heart failure in Tokyo, Japan on December 13, 2020.

Joanne Michaels (69) Michaels’ books—mostly guides to New York State’s Hudson Valley region—are typically sold in museum gift shops. But they can also be found in hospital kiosks, pharmacies, and gas stations. That is because Michaels, with persistence, enthusiasm, and many a solitary drive on the New York State Thruway, managed to place her stock in improbable places. That tactic paid off during the pandemic, when city dwellers poured into the Hudson Valley for short- or long-term escapes and sought to learn about their surroundings. Michaels had a history of turning her life experiences into books. In 1995, after a divorce, she wrote The Joy of Divorce, a book of quotations. She died of Covid-19 in Poughkeepsie, New York, two weeks before her 70th birthday, on December 15, 2020.


Ted DeLaney (77) began his nearly 60-year career at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia as a custodian, accumulated enough credits to graduate at 41, returned 10 years later as a history professor, became the school’s first black department head, and later helped to lead its reckoning with the Confederate general its very name honored, Robert E. Lee. DeLaney took pride in his decades of hard work—overcoming obstacles, he often pointed out, that a white academic would never have had to face—and bristled at suggestions that he was a poster child for the university’s racial liberalization. In fact, he was a prime mover in driving what was still a very conservative institution forward. As a member of countless faculty committees, he urged the university to recognize its own difficult past—it once owned scores of slaves—and to increase students’ exposure to black history and culture. He died of pancreatic cancer in Lexington, Virginia on December 18, 2020.

Tim Severin (80) British adventurer who for 40 years meticulously replicated the journeys of real and mythic explorers like St. Brendan the Navigator, Sinbad the Sailor. and Marco Polo. In May 1976 Severin left Ireland on his most audacious voyage: Following in the wake of St. Brendan, a sixth-century monk, who, with a party of other monks, was said to have made a spectacular journey from Ireland across the Atlantic to North America—the “Promised Land”—in a leather-wrapped boat. St. Brendan was a sailor who had spread the Gospel on his trips around Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. If the tale of his trip to the Americas is true, he would have beaten Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus by centuries. After studying an account of the trip—in a medieval Latin text written many years later titled Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis or The Voyage of St. Brendan the Abbot—Severin assembled a team of designers and craftsmen and set about building a vessel—a 36-foot-long, two-masted boat of oak and ash covered in oxhide a quarter-inch thick. He soon created his own legendary tale. He died of cancer in West Cork, Ireland on December 18, 2020.


Joseph E. Bachelder 3rd (88) lawyer and compensation negotiator who standardized the so-called golden parachute, which guarantees that top executives of a company are generously rewarded if they are forced out in a takeover. A golden parachute is a clause in an executive’s employment contract that ensures a gilded landing in the event that he or she is ousted in a merger or an acquisition. Charles Tillinghast Jr., former Trans World Airline chief executive, was credited with being the first person to have had such a clause written into his contract, in 1961. But it wasn’t until the ‘80s that the provisions proliferated, in part because of Bachelder’s novel approach to executive contract negotiations. He used computerized statistical analyses of industries to demonstrate why his clients were worth a lot more money than anyone else, justifying his demands with data demonstrating the risks his clients had taken by accepting a leadership position. Bachelder died of cancer in Princeton, New Jersey on December 13, 2020.

Rose Matsui Ochi (81) trailblazing Los Angeles attorney who tapped political networks from City Hall to Congress in her fierce advocacy of civil rights, criminal justice reform, and Japanese-American causes. Ochi broke barriers as the first Asian-American woman to serve as an LA Police Commission member and as an assistant US attorney general. She advised LA Mayors Tom Bradley and James Hahn on criminal justice, served on President Jimmy Carter’s Select Commission on Immigration & Refugee Policy, and worked with President Bill Clinton on drug policy and race relations. She was just 3 years old when she and her family were uprooted from their Boyle Heights home and imprisoned at the Rohwer detention camp in Arkansas after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. As an adult she played pivotal roles in helping the community to win a federal apology and monetary payments to camp survivors in 1988 and to secure approval of the Manzanar camp in the Owens Valley as a national historic site in ’92. She died in Los Angeles, California on December 13, 2020 after being diagnosed with a second bout of COVID-19, which worsened existing health problems.

Richard Means (78) in a 50-year career, Means became one of the top election lawyers in Illinois, committed to guiding local, state, and national candidates onto the ballot and keeping them on the straight and narrow election-law path. A liifelong Democrat, he represented candidates for mayor, judge, alderman, state representative, and senator from all parties, including Republican, Libertarian, and Green. He consulted with presidential candidates, including Ross Perot in 1992 and Joseph R. Biden in 2008, regarding ballot access in Illinois. He was election lawyer for Harold Washington’s successful run for mayor of Chicago in 1983, which Means considered his biggest triumph. He was also determined to give minority voters a voice in government and worked pro bono for community organizations. In 2004 he organized a political action committee for the American Middle East Voters Alliance, which worked to strengthen the Arab-American vote. Means died of Covid-19 in Oak Park, Illinois on December 17, 2020.

Benny Napoleon (65) sheriff of Wayne County, Michigan and a former Detroit police chief who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of the city. Napoleon joined the Detroit Police Department in 1975 and began rising through the ranks, serving as police chief from 1998–2001, when he retired from the department. A Democrat, Sheriff Napoleon became assistant executive for Wayne County, where Detroit is located, in 2004, and was appointed county sheriff in ’09. He kept that position after winning elections in 2012, ’16, and ’20. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov. 19 and was hospitalized the next day. He was put on a ventilator a week later and died on December 17, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Roger Berlind (90) produced or coproduced more than 100 plays and musicals on Broadway, including such critical and box-office hits as The Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen, City of Angels, and revivals of Guys & Dolls and Kiss Me, Kate. During a 40-year career in the theater, Berlind backed some of the most original work on Broadway and amassed an astonishing 25 Tony Awards, one of the largest hauls on record. He helped to bring musicals to the stage, like the smash 1992 revival of Guys & Dolls with Nathan Lane, and dramas like the original ‘84 production of The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard’s exploration of love and honesty. The Real Thing swept the Tonys, winning for best play and best director (Mike Nichols) and garnering top acting awards for Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, and Christine Baranski. Berlind’s route to Broadway was indirect. Able to play the piano by ear, he fancied himself a songwriter, but his dream of making a living that way fell flat and he went to work on Wall Street. He was a partner at a brokerage firm when tragedy struck: his wife and three of his four children were killed in an airliner crash at Kennedy International Airport. Within days he resigned from his firm. Broadway helped him to rebuild his life and establish a new career. Berlind died of cardiopulmonary arrest in New York City on December 18, 2020.

Jeremy Bulloch (75) English actor who first donned a helmet, cape, and jetpack to play Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy. As the Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett, Bulloch made off with a froze-in-carbonite Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), then zoomed around the desert of Tatooine in a jet pack in Return of the Jedi (1983). Boba Fett had just a few minutes of screen time, although important ones, between the two movies, and speaks just four lines of dialogue that were performed by another actor. But Boba Fett quickly became a cult favorite and eventually emerged as one of the most beloved figures in the Star Wars galaxy, inspiring characters and plotlines in other Star Wars properties, most notably The Mandalorian on Disney+, where Boba Fett has recently reemerged. The phenomenon made Bulloch a big draw on the convention circuit, where he was a regular in later years. He died in Tooting, London, England on December 17, 2020.

Stanley Cowell (79) pianist, composer, record-label impresario, and educator who brought a technician’s attention to detail and a theorist’s sophistication to his more than 50-year career as a jazz bandleader. Cowell’s playing epitomized the piano’s ability to consolidate generations of musical history into a unified expression, while extending various routes into the future. He was among the first jazz musicians to make prominent use of the kalimba, a thumb piano from southeastern Africa. In his later decades he worked often with a digital sound-design program, Kyma, that allowed him to alter the pitch and texture of an acoustic piano’s sound. In 1971, together with trumpeter Charles Tolliver, Cowell founded Strata-East Records, a pioneering institution in jazz and the broader Black Arts Movement. It released a steady run of pathbreaking music over the next 10 years, becoming one of the most successful black-run labels of its time. Cowell died in Dover, Delaware of hypovolemic shock, the result of blood loss stemming from other health issues, on December 18, 2020.

Catie Lazarus (44) writer and comedian who probed the minds of celebrities and created her own late-night comedy universe on her longstanding self-produced live New York talk show, Employee of the Month. In 2011, as the US recovered from the Great Recession, Lazarus was just another struggling comic trying to make it in New York. She started hosting Employee of the Month, an interview-based talk show about work and labor. Lazarus asked notable writers, artists, politicians, intellectuals, and comedians how they had achieved their enviable careers. She eventually interrogated subjects like Rachel Maddow, Dick Cavett, Greta Gerwig, and David Simon, inquiring about disappointment, too—for example, she asked journalist Kurt Andersen how he felt about getting pushed out of New York magazine. Lazarus died of breast cancer in Brooklyn, New York on December 13, 2020.

Politics and Military

Joan Milke Flores (84) former Los Angeles City Councilwoman, a onetime teenage stenographer for the city who worked her way up at City Hall before winning the Watts-to-San Pedro council seat. The first woman to represent District 15, which comprises the LA Harbor and residential and commercial neighborhoods, Flores was known for her loyalty to her district and her push to make city government more transparent. She navigated a City Council viewed as a “boy’s club,” using canniness and persuasion, rather than shouting or arm-twisting, to get what she wanted. Flores formed a consulting firm after leaving City Hall and, after retiring, traveled around the world and watched the Dodgers. She remained in San Pedro, California and enjoyed watching the harbor boats come in. She died of a myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder, on December 19, 2020.

Don Fowler (85) former chair of the Democrat National Committee and mainstay of South Carolina and national politics for decades. Fowler, a native of Spartanburg, attended Wofford College, where he played basketball and baseball and earned master’s and doctorate degrees in political science from the University of Kentucky. He led the state party from 1971–80, overseeing the ‘88 Democrat National Convention in Atlanta. Fowler was national chairman of the DNC from 1995–97, running the party’s day-to-day operations and presiding over President Bill Clinton’s reelection. Clinton called Fowler an “excellent” chairman who helped candidates win. Fowler died of leukemia in Columbia, South Carolina on December 15, 2020.

Helen Viola Jackson (101) whose 1936 marriage to James Bolin was her lifelong secret. Bolin was 93 and in declining health, and Helen was a 17-year-old schoolgirl. Bolin was also a Civil War veteran who fought for the Union in the border state of Missouri. A widower who had served as a private in the 14th Missouri Cavalry during the Civil War 70 years earlier, he was a neighbor. Helen's father volunteered his teenage daughter to stop by Bolin’s home each day to provide care and help with chores. To pay back her kindness, Bolin offered to marry her, which would allow her to receive his soldier’s pension after his death, a compelling offer in the Great Depression. Jackson agreed in large part because she thought her care was prolonging his life. Throughout their three years of marriage there was no intimacy, and she never lived with him. She never told her parents, her siblings, or anyone else about the wedding and never remarried nor sought the pension. Jackson was almost certainly the last remaining widow of a Civil War soldier when she died. Several Civil War heritage organizations have recognized her role in history, one that she hid for all but the final three years of her life, when she finally embraced the recognition that included a spot on the Missouri Walk of Fame. Jackson died in Marshfield, Missouri on December 16, 2020

William. F. Winter (97) Mississippi politician who used his single term as governor to address injustice in the state’s education system during the civi rights era. Winter first ran for office in 1947 while still a law student at the University of Mississippi, capturing a seat in the State House of Representatives. He appeared on various ballots every four years for the next 40 years, making his name more for the positions he took on integration and good government than for his record at the polls. He ran for governor twice before finally winning, in 1979. At the time Mississippi’s governors were limited to a single term, and Winter was determined to make the most of his. He had run on reforming the state’s dismal education system. Mississippi was the only state without public kindergarten or funding for compulsory public education, a vestige of its extreme reaction to the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision striking down school segregation. His first two attempts at getting an education reform bill passed failed, while public support was lukewarm at best. After their second try, in 1982, he and his aides doubled down, depoliticizing the state board of education and raising teacher standards. Winter died in Jackson, Mississippi on December 18, 2020.

Society and Religion

Jean Graetz (90) early white supporter of equal rights for black people in Alabama at the start of the civil rights movement. Jean and Robert Graetz moved to Alabama in 1955, the same year black seamstress and activist Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a city bus, sparking a year-long boycott that often is considered the start of the modern civil rights movement. A young pastor at the time, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rose to national prominence during months of protests that ended with the US Supreme Court ruling that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. In a state where racial segregation was the law and relatively few white people supported change, Jean and Robert Graetz were friends with Parks, King, and his late wife Coretta Scott King. Known as “Jeannie” to many, Jean Graetz was a “full partner” with her husband in openly, actively supporting civil rights. Recently diagnosed with lung cancer, she died less than three months after the death of her husband, the only white minister to openly support the Montgomery bus boycott. She died in Montgomery, Alabama on December 16, 2020.


Pete Cassidy (86) served 25 years as men’s basketball coach at Cal State Northridge and was considered a San Fernando Valley coaching icon. Cassidy was a basketball and baseball standout at San Fernando Valley State, graduating in 1960. He began coaching at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame before returning to Northridge as an assistant coach to Jerry Ball. Cassidy became head coach in 1971 and helped to build the Matadors into a competitive NCAA Division II team. In 1990 the program moved to Division I, and Cassidy spent the next six years trying to help the program transition despite meager financial support. He was fired after the 1996 season and finished with an overall record of 334-337. Throughout his time as a teacher and coach at Northridge, he helped to inspire countless graduates to enter teaching and coaching. His Basketball 101 class was a must for students who wanted to learn fundamental aspects of the game. Cassidy had suffered from dementia in recent years and died in Valencia, California on December 18, 2020.

Michael ('Moose') Cusack (64) as a youth Cusack helped to inspire the Special Olympics movement and won several medals at the athletic event over the years. When he was 10, Michael joined a Chicago Park District program for children with disabilities, where he met a young physical education teacher, Anne Burke, who is now chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Burke laid the groundwork for the first Special Olympics at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1968, at which Cusack won his first gold medal in the 25-yard freestyle swim. Burke credits Cusack for her idea about creating a citywide track meet for children with special needs that morphed into the Special Olympics. Cusack, who had Down syndrome, died outside Chicago, Illinois of natural causes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, on December 17, 2020.

Roy Wallack (64) writer and adventurer, a longtime contributor to the Los Angeles Times, focusing on fitness and the outdoors, and the author of sports and fitness books. Wallack was an avid hiker, runner, and cyclist who completed extreme challenges such as the 750-mile Paris-Brest-Paris bike tour and the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley. His work for the Times spanned barre classes, triathlons, kayaking, the LA Marathon, and more. He wrote a column on gear for many years, keeping fitness fans in the loop about the hottest must-haves. Wallack died after a mountain biking accident in the Santa Monica Mountains. He was biking with friends on the Guadalasca Trail, a popular route in Point Mugu State Park, when he crashed while riding down a steep trail and hit his head on a large rock. Friends who were at the scene said he might have had a medical issue that caused him to fall. They and an Emergency Medical Technician and a cardiologist who happened on the scene performed CPR until a helicopter arrived. Rescuers attempted to save him, but Wallack died at the scene on December 19, 2020.

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