Back to Life In Legacy Main Page Pages for Previous Weeks Celebrity Deaths Message Board
Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, December 26, 2020

Hold pointer over photo for person's name. Click on photo to go to brief obit.
Click on name to return to picture.

George Blake, British spy who worked as double agent for SovietsBob ('Amigo') Cantisano, pioneer in California organic farmingShamsur Rahman Faruqi, Urdu literary historian and writerFather Reginald Foster, Vatican LatinistAlice Rose George, magazine photo editorIvry Gitlis, Israeli violinistKevin Greene, football linebackerJon Huber, pro wrestlerK. C. Jones, basketball champion Celtics player and coachKlara Kasparova, mother of former world chess champion, Garry KasparovJoan Dempsey Klein, pioneering woman judgeEd Krieger, actor turned photographerJack Lenor Larsen, textile designerBarry Lopez, travel writerRebecca Luker, Tony-nominated Broadway musical starTheodore Lumpkin Jr., one of last nine Tuskegee AirmenJeannie Morris, pioneering woman sportswriterPhil Niekro, knuckleball pitcherK. T. Oslin, country music singer and songwriterJohn Outterbridge, figure in black assemlage arts movementTony Rice, master bluegrass guitaristBarbara Rose, art historian and criticJulius Schachter, German microbiologist who studied chlamydiaChad Stuart, left, with '60s singing partner Jeremy ClydeStella Tennant, British fashion modelEzra F. Vogel, Harvard scholar on East AsiaFanny Waterman, cofounder of Leeds Piano CompetitionBarbara Weisberger, founder of regional ballet schoolsLeslie West,  rock guitaristShirley Young, marketing executive who broke barriers

Art and Literature

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (85) creative and critical voice in Urdu literature for more than 50 years. Faruqi was credited among scholars with the revival of Urdu literature, especially from the 18th and 19th centuries. His output over the years as a scholar, editor, publisher, critic, literary historian, translator, and writer of both poetry and novels was varied and prolific. His primary focus was on retrieving Indo-Islamic culture and literature from the effects of colonialism. The left-wing Progressive Writers’ Movement had been in vogue since the ‘30s, when India was still under British rule. Lterature that did not conform to its Marxist ideals of revolution had fallen out of favor. In 1966, when Faruqi became founding editor and publisher of the modernist literary journal Shabkhoon, he provided a platform for other voices and mentored many young writers to write what they wanted, in the style they wanted. Besides commissioning all the writing in the magazine, Faruqi edited every piece and wrote poetry, criticism, and Urdu translations of important works, besides his job as a civil servant with the Indian Postal Service. He died of Covid-19 in Allahabad, India on December 25, 2020.

Alice Rose George (76) Mississippi-born poet, curator, and photo editor, an ardent promoter of famous and unsung photographers for over 50 years, whose unerring eye for visual details made her a fixture in New York's magazine world. George cultivated relationships with scores of photographers and collectors, gallerists and magazine editors, helping to knit together a community just as the nature of photography was undergoing rapid change, including new directions in photojournalism and the blossoming of art photography. George died from a concussion in Los Angeles, California on December 22, 2020.

Barry Lopez (75) award-winning writer of travel books who described the landscapes he saw in 50 years of travel. An author of nearly 20 books on natural history studies, along with essay and short-story collections, Lopez was awarded the National Book Award (then called the American Book Award) for nonfiction in 1986 for Arctic Dreams: Imagination & Desire in a Northern Landscape. It was the result of almost five years of traveling the Arctic. His final work was Horizon, an autobiography that recalls a lifetime of travel in more than 70 countries. Lopez died in Eugene, Oregon after a year-long struggle with prostate cancer, on December 25, 2020.

John Outterbridge (87) central figure in the black assemblage arts movement and former director of the Watts Towers Arts Center. The artist was known for his evocative sculptures made from found or discarded materials including cloth, containers, and metal. Some of Outterbridge's most celebrated work includes a series of doll figures, stitched from rags, hair, and wood scraps that reference the black tradition, community, and folklore. Outterbridge grew up surrounded by creativity. His mother wrote poetry and played piano. His uncles and cousins were musicians. Outterbridge came to know assemblage through his handyman father, an avid salvager who filled his family’s backyard with items from the junk trade. John Outterbridge died in Los Angeles, California on December 23, 2020.

Barbara Rose (84) art historian and critic who began her career as a champion of Minimalism and wrote about culture with an authority influenced by her close friendships with two generations of artists in New York and abroad. Rose was probably best known as the author of the textbook American Art Since 1900, which became a campus perennial in the ‘70s. But she preferred exploring the art of the present. She was an art critic for Vogue and New York magazines and produced eight documentary films. A devotee of the ritual known as studio visits, she was always traipsing to artists’ lofts to look at their latest paintings and to probe for helpful information. Rose died in Concord, New Hampshire after a 10-year fight with breast cancer, on December 25, 2020.

Business and Science

Bob ('Amigo') Cantisano (69) ninth-generation Californian who put his life’s work into the state’s soil—beginning on the first Earth Day in 1970. At an event in Berkeley, Cantisano listened to a speaker decry what pesticides introduced after World War II were doing to the environment, farmworkers, and food. His path was set. Cantisano, a Bay Area native, joined a generation of largely urban youth who moved back to the land and began farming as a way to reform the food industry. His legacy lives in the state’s landscape, from pesticide-free vineyards in Napa to rescued heirloom fruit and nut trees in the Sierra foothills. His mission was to revolutionize farming—including large-scale agriculture—by cutting the use of toxic chemicals. The movement Cantisano helped to create is key to the future of California’s agriculture. He died of cancer in North San Juan, California on.December 26, 2020.

Jack Lenor Larsen (93) textile designer who blended ancient techniques and modern technology to weave fabrics that enlivened postwar American homes and workplaces and in the process became an international presence. Larsen rejected offers of an academic career to open his own textile business in 1952 in New York, where he clothed the windows and furnishings of sleek modern towers as if they were fashion models and cut a dashing figure among the cultural elite in Manhattan and the Hamptons. He also influenced major cultural figures of his time. In the mid-‘60s he persuaded artist Dale Chihuly, then a recent interior design graduate of the University of Washington, to give up weaving glass and to try blowing it instead. He instructed architect Louis Kahn, with whom he collaborated in 1969 on hangings for the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, New York, in weaving. Larsen died in East Hampton, New York on December 22, 2020.

Julius Schachter (84) most Americans became aware of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease more common than syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes, in the mid-‘80s. But Schachter, a microbiologist at UC San Francisco, had already been studying the bacterium that causes chlamydia for 20 years. The study of chlamydial diseases, along with their diagnosis and treatment, encompassed his entire career. His most significant work involved the chlamydia-related disease trachoma, an eye infection that until 1990 was one of the world’s leading infectious causes of blindness. Schachter established the effectiveness of treating it with the mass distribution of the oral antibiotic azithromycin (until then the disease was treated topically). Schachter lived much of the year in Germany. He had flown to the Bay Area in November for Thanksgiving. He died of Covid-19 in San Francisco, California on December 20, 2020.

Barbara Weisberger (94) founded the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia with a vision that transformed the troupe into a nationally acclaimed company. Originally trained in ballet in New York and Philadelphia, young Barbara, like many children, loved studying dance but never had a career as a dancer in a professional company. Instead she became an influential ballet teacher who played an important role in the development of regional ballet in America. She had also been the first child accepted by George Balanchine in the school he opened in Manhattan in 1934. It was a link that was renewed after her family moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where she opened a ballet school in 1953 and attended seminars that Balanchine organized for teachers associated with small community troupes. Weisberger established another school in Philadelphia in 1962 and the Pennsylvania Ballet in ’63. She died in Kingston, Pennsylvania on December 23, 2020.

Shirley Young (85) Chinese-American businesswoman who broke barriers in the corporate world before starting a second career as a cultural diplomat, using classical music to bridge the ever-widening divisions between China and the US. Young rose to prominence as an executive with Grey Advertising, where she began in 1959, standing out as one of the few women and one of the few Asian-Americans at the firm, then a power in its field. With a degree in economics from Wellesley, she challenged the conventional wisdom that the best marketing was driven by gut instincts. Instead she pushed her firm to invest in quantitative market research, a standard practice today but one that was pioneering in the ‘60s. She died of breast cancer on December 26, 2020.


Ezra F. Vogel (90) leading US scholar on East Asia whose biography of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping won acclaim and awards. A longtime professor at Harvard, Vogel’s Deng Xiaoping & the Transformation of China, published in 2011, won the ‘12 Lionel Gelber Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, among other honors. Vogel died in Cambridge, Massachusetts from complications after surgery, on December 20, 2020.


Joan Dempsey Klein (96) champion of women’s rights and first woman to become presiding judge of a California appellate court. In 1963 Gov. Pat Brown appointed Klein to the Los Angeles Municipal Court, making her the first graduate of UCLA Law School to become a judge. She soon became presiding judge of the Municipal Court, where her accomplishments included supporting the first detoxification center for alcoholics. She cofounded the California Women Lawyers Association in 1974 and was elected a judge on the LA County Superior Court in ’75. In 1979 Klein and her benchmate and friend Justice Vaino Spencer formed the National Association of Women Judges to promote the increasing number of women on the judiciary and to address the gender bias experienced by the few female justices at the time. Klein served 50 years as a judge in California and wrote more than 500 judicial opinions. She died in her sleep in Santa Monica, California on December 24, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Ivry Gitlis (98) Israeli violinist who played with famed conductors, rock stars, and jazz bands around the world and worked to make classical music accessible to the masses. Recognizable in recent decades by his long white hair and distinctive caps and scarves, Gitlis began playing in the 1920s and performed into the 2010s. He died in Paris, France on December 24, 2020.

Jon Huber (41) pro wrestler known in the ring as Luke Harper and Brodie Lee. Huber rose to fame with World Wrestling Entertainment, where he was known for his soft-spoken intensity in the ring. During his time with WWE, he found success on the independent circuit before joining the NXT brand. He battled other wrestling stars, including The Shield, Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, and the Uso brothers, Jay and Jimmy, using a combination of aggressive offense and mind games.. Huber died of a lung issue unrelated to Covid-19, on December 26, 2020.

Ed Krieger (73) actor who became one of the most prolific photographers of Los Angeles 99-seat theaters. Krieger performed in musical theater, movies, TV, commercials, and voiceover, but it was the stage that he loved best. Some of his favorite theater credits included performing in Godspell and Man of La Mancha in Chicago. He later appeared in numerous productions at Downey Civic Light Opera. Photography was also a passion, and for decades Krieger mixed his keen photographic eye with his devotion to theater by becoming the go-to photographer for dozens of 99-seat theaters in the LA area, where publicists and artistic directors came to rely on him over the years for the production stills, publicity photos, poster prints, head shots, and marketing brochures that helped to attract audiences and critics to shows. He died in Los Angeles, California on December 23, 2020.

Rebecca Luker (59) soprano, a three-time Tony-nominated actress who starred in some of the biggest Broadway hits of the past 30 years. Luker was a best actress Tony nominee in 1995 playing Magnolia in Showboat, a best actress nominee in 2000 for playing Marian the Librarian in The Music Man opposite Craig Bierko, and a best featured actress nominee in ‘07 as Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins. She was known for staying with shows for extended runs. In 2013 Luker appeared in an off-Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. Besides many stage credits, she appeared on TV on Boardwalk Empire and The Good Wife and in the ‘12 film Not Fade Away. Her other off-Broadway credits include Death Takes a Holiday, Indian Blood, and The Vagina Monologues. In 2000 she went public, saying she had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Luker died in New York City on December 23, 2020.

K. T. Oslin (78) witty and sophisticated country star who found both critical and commercial success in the late ‘80s. Oslin was the first female songwriter to win the Country Music Association's coveted song of the year award—which she took in 1988 with her hit “80s Ladies.” Oslin made polished, lightly twangy music about women’s lives with a keen eye on the complexities of work, family, and romance. “80s Ladies” helped to drive her album of the same title to No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart. Oslin had Parkinson’s disease and had been living in an assisted-living facility since 2016. Last week she tested positive for COVID-19. She died in suburban Nashville, Tennessee on December 21, 2020.

Tony Rice (69) master bluegrass picker who drew fans worldwide for the chance to hear the fluid sounds he conjured from his Martin D-28 guitar. Rice had health problems over the past 25 years. A muscle disorder around his vocal cords left him unable to sing onstage, and tennis elbow limited his guitar playing. His last live guitar performance was in 2013, when he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Rice released dozens of albums, including several as a member of the David Grisman Quintet; Skaggs & Rice with Ricky Skaggs; Manzanita as leader of The Tony Rice Unit; and such solo efforts as Tony Rice and Me & My Guitar. He played with everyone from Jerry Garcia to Dolly Parton and received honors including a Grammy in 1993 for best country instrumental performance. Rice died in Reidsville, North Carolina on December 25, 2020.

Chad Stuart (79) found stardom as chief musical force of the duo Chad & Jeremy during the British Invasion in the mid-‘60s. Singing in lock-step harmony, Stuart and Jeremy Clyde wrung all they could from the theme of a fondly recalled summer romance with seven different Top 40 Chad & Jeremy hits, all love songs, between 1964–66. Stuart’s pop tunes made wistfulness upbeat. But Clyde wanted to be an actor, and by 1965 he had already returned to London to appear in a play, leaving Stuart to perform with a cardboard cutout of Clyde under his arm. They kept putting out records until The Ark, a 1968 album for which Clyde wrote most of the songs, but lagging commercial interest and Clyde’s other career ambitions broke up the band. The pair did several reunion tours in the ‘80s and annually from 2004–16. Stuart died of pneumonia in Hailey, Idaho on December 20, 2020.

Stella Tennant (50) aristocratic British model who was a muse to designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace. The granddaughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish and his wife Deborah Mitford, Tennant was one of the leading British models of the ‘90s. Late in the decade, Lagerfeld announced her as the new face of Chanel, with an exclusive modeling contract, and she became a muse to the designer. She rose to fame while walking the runway for Versace, Alexander McQueen, and other designers. in 1999 she married French photographer David Lasnet. Tennant died suddenly in Duns, Scotland on December 22, 2020.

Fanny Waterman (100) British pianist and teacher who cofounded the Leeds International Piano Competition and oversaw it as chairwoman and artistic director for more than 50 years. The idea of presenting an international music competition in ‘60s Leeds, a gritty industrial city in northern England, seemed risky. But Waterman, a Leeds native who learned perseverance from her Russian immigrant father, believed in the vitality of her hometown and was certain she could draw support for the venture. She raised funds from patrons, banks, businesses, the Leeds City Council, and the University of Leeds. From the start, Waterman conceived of the Leeds competition, held every three years, as a means to foster musical values she had cultivated as a performer and teacher, placing musicianship, artistry, and sensitivity over technical bravura. Over the years the competition joined the ranks of the world’s elite contests, including the Van Cliburn, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin. Waterman died in Ilkley, Yorkshire, England on December 20, 2020.

Leslie West (75) whose band Mountain helped to lay the groundwork for heavy metal with hard-riffing songs like “Mississippi Queen.” An imposing presence with a self-effacing sense of humor—The Great Fatsby, he called one solo album—the singer, guitarist, and songwriter was among those who bridged the gap between the hard rock of the late ‘60s (as typified by Cream, whose producer Felix Pappalardi played bass in Mountain) and the flashier, more theatrical sound of ’70s metal acts such as Judas Priest. West’s music was rough-edged, with growly vocals and squealing guitar solos. But his songs played well on the radio. “Mississippi Queen” went to No. 21 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and his outlook was sunnier than Black Sabbath’s signature doom and gloom—a vestige of the hippie idealism enshrined at the Woodstock festival, where Mountain famously played one of its earliest gigs in front of a crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands. West died of cardiac arrest in Palm Coast, Florida on December 23, 2020.

Politics and Military

George Blake (98) former British intelligence officer who worked as a double agent for the Soviet Union and passed some of the most coveted Western secrets to Moscow. As a double agent, Blake exposed a Western plan to eavesdrop on Soviet communications from an underground tunnel into East Berlin. He also unmasked scores of British agents in Soviet bloc countries in eastern Europe, some of whom were executed. Blake had lived in Russia since his daring escape from a British prison in 1966 and was given the rank of Russian intelligence colonel. Born in the Netherlands, he joined British intelligence during World War II and was posted to Korea when the war there erupted in 1950. He was detained by the Communist north. He said he volunteered to work for the Soviet Union after witnessing relentless US bombing of North Korea. He died in Moscow, Russia on December 26, 2020.

Theodore ('Ted') Lumpkin Jr. (100) member of the Tuskegee Airmen whose service as a member of the all-black unit during World War II helped to desegregate the US military. Lumpkin was drafted in 1942 when he was a 21-year-old student at UCLA. He was assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron of the all-black unit in Tuskegee, Alabama as a 2nd lieutenant with the US Army Air Force. His vision wasn't good enough to become a pilot, so he was an intelligence officer, briefing pilots about missions during his overseas combat tour in Italy. Years later he retired from the the Air Force Reserves as a lieutenant colonel and started working for Los Angeles County as a social worker, among other jobs over 32 years. Later he shifted gears again, becoming a real estate broker and opening his own real estate company. Although Lumpkin played a role in changing the military’s culture, his family knew only that he served during the war, not that he was one of the fabled Tuskegee Airmen. He died of Covid-19 in Los Angeles, California on December 26, 2020, just days shy of his 101st birthday.

Society and Religion

Father Reginald Foster (LXXXI or 81) former plumber’s apprentice from Wisconsin who, in 40 years as an official Latinist of the Vatican, dreamed in Latin, cursed in Latin, banked in Latin, and ultimately tweeted in Latin. A Catholic priest considered the foremost Latinist in Rome and, quite possibly, the world, Foster was attached to the Office of Latin Letters of the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1969 until his retirement in 2009. By the end of his tenure he was the de facto head of that office, which comprises a team of half a dozen translators. Foster was a monk—a member of the Discalced Carmelite order—but he looked like a stevedore, dressed like a janitor, swore like a sailor (usually in Latin), and spoke Latin with the fluency of a Roman orator. He served four popes—Paul VI, John Paul I and II, and Benedict XVI—composing original documents in Latin, which remains the Vatican’s official language, and translating their speeches and other writings into Latin from a series of papal languages. To the news media, Foster was the Latin King. To Vatican Radio, which broadcast a regular segment (in English) featuring him, he was the Latin Lover. To the fanatically devoted students who flocked to Rome to study with him, Foster was a taskmaster fondly known as Reginaldus. He had tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 25, 2020.


Kevin Greene (58) will be remembered for the havoc he created for opposing quarterbacks. The Hall of Fame linebacker was considered one of the fiercest pass rushers in NFL history. A two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, Greene finished his 15-year NFL career with 160 sacks, which ranks third in league history behind only Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198). He also had 23 forced fumbles and five interceptions. Greene played for the Los Angeles Rams (1985–92), Pittsburgh Steelers (1993–‘95), Carolina Panthers (1996, ‘98-99), and San Francisco 49ers (1997). He was All-Pro in 1994 and ’96. Greene was exceptionally devoted to his family, his craft as a football player, and the military, where he earned the rank of captain and completed airborne training at Fort Benning to become a paratrooper. He had an exceptional ability to escape blockers. Greene died on December 21, 2020.

K. C. Jones (88) basketball Hall of Famer, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion who won eight consecutive NBA titles during the Celtics’ Bill Russell era, then coached the Boston teams with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish to two more championships in the ‘80s. Jones was one of seven players in history to have won an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA championship, and an NBA title. He won two more NBA crowns as an assistant coach and was the Celtics head coach when they went to the NBA Finals four straight years from 1984–87, winning it all in ‘84 and again in ‘86 with a team that won a then-record 67 regular-season games and went 15-3 in the postseason. Only Russell and fellow Celtics teammate Sam Jones won more NBA championships as players. K. C. Jones died in Connecticut, where he had been receiving care for Alzheimer’s disease for several years, on December 25, 2020.

Klara Kasparova (83) mother of former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and, by his account, the most important force behind his success. As his champion, Kasparova was a constant presence at her son’s competitions through the decades. From the time he was a boy she believed that he could be the best at whatever he chose to do. Kasparov, who retired from competition in 2005, became a pro-democracy activist, and moved to New York in '13, said his mother had been the only person who would offer him really honest advice, no matter the concern. He called her practically every day, regardless of where he was in the world. Kasparova died of Covid-19 in Moscow, Russia on December 25, 2020.

Jeannie Morris (85) ground-breaking sports journalist who became the first woman to report live from a Super Bowl in 1975. Morris won multiple Emmy Awards during a long career in TV. In 2014 she became the first woman to receive the Ring Lardner award for excellence in sports journalism. She was married to former Chicago Bears flanker Johnny Morris when she started writing a column for the Chicago American. An editor at the now-defunct newspaper first offered the column to Johnny, but he declined and suggested his wife for the opportunity. Jeannie Morris’s column, “Football Is a Woman’s Game,” ran on the “women’s pages” of the paper. Eventually the column moved to the sports section, then to the Chicago Daily News. She had been undergoing treatment for appendiceal cancer when she died in Chicago, Illinois on December 21, 2020.

Phil Niekro (81) threw a pitch that baffled hitters and catchers. He didn’t even know where it was going most of the time. But the knuckleball carried Niekro to more than 300 wins, earned him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and gave him a nickname that stuck for the rest of his life: Knucksie. He was the seventh Hall of Famer to die this year, the most sitting members to pass away in a calendar year, The others were Lou Brock, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, and Tom Seaver. Niekro won 318 games over his 24-year career, which finally ended in 1987 at age 48 after he made one final start for the Braves. The right-hander was a five-time All-Star who had three 20-win seasons with Atlanta. Niekro died of cancer in his sleep in the Atlanta suburb of Flowery Branch, Georgia, where a main thoroughfare bears his name, on December 26, 2020.

Previous Week
Next Week

Return to Main Page
Return to Top