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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 22, 2021

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Kabang , internationally famous hero dog”Nadia Al-Iraqia, an Iraqi actressThomas Joseph Beckwith, American baseball pitcherPatsy Bruce, country song writer and business womanMC Kevin, Brazilian singerAlix Dobkin, an American folk singer-songwriter, memoirist, and lesbian feminist activistLee Evans, 1968 Olympic 400m championCharles Grodin, a comedic actor and frequent talk-show guestCharles Chris Hagemeister, US Army officer and Congressional Medal of Honor recipientRoger Hawkins, drummer who shaped American popular musicQuintin Jones, American convicted murderer, execution by lethal injectionDon Kernodle, professional wrestlerDavid Anthony Kraft, American comic book writer, publisher, and criticPaul Mooney, comedian, actor, and writerOlavoYépez Obando, Ecuadorian chess masterTatyana Protsenko, Russian child actorKarl Schleunes, history professor and scholar on the HolocaustReinaldo (Rennie)  Stennett, part of baseball’s first all-minority lineupGeorge Secor Stranahan, Professor, brewery ownerMike Weatherley, former MP for HoveMark York, a groundbreaking actor and inventor

Art and Literature

David Kraft (68) was born in 1952and became a rock-and-roll journalist while still a teenager. It was at this young age that he became the literary agent of author Otis Adelbert Kline’s estate, and joined Marvel after selling them the rights to some of Kline’s stories. He founded Fictioneer Books in 1974and became editor of Marvel’s self-produced fan magazine FOOM from 1976 to 1978. He wrote “The Defenders” #44-68 during the late 1970s and “Savage She-Hulk” from its second issue until its 25th and final installment. Among his accomplishments at Marvel were scripting John Byrne’s first story for the company (‘Dark Asylum,’ from June 1975’s “Giant-Size Dracula” #5), and a canceled adaptation of the Beatles movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, with artists George Pérez and Jim Mooney. He also wrote Marvel children’s storybooks during the 1980s, and “World’s Finest Comics” for DC (including its 300th issue in 1984), but by that point he was concentrating on publishing and criticism. Comics Interview started in 1983, and ran for 150 issues until 1995, earning him Eisner and Eagle Award nominations. He worked on the 1990s animated series G.I. Joe Extreme; his more recent credits included co-writing OnrieKompan and Giovanni Timpano’s Korean history series “Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender.”Kraft died on May 19, 2021, after battling COVID-19 since April 28.

Karl Schleunes (84) a Wisconsin native, Karl Schleunes taught history at University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 1971 to 2010. Before arriving at UNCG, he taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1965 to 1971. In 1970 he published the book, “The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy Toward German Jews, 1933-1939.” Auschwitz was a complex of concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered six million Jews across German-occupied Europe. At UNCG, he taught courses on German history and on the Holocaust. He went on to publish two more books. At Greensboro College, an annual lecture, which bears his name, focuses on the Holocaust and genocide. Schleunes died on May 16, 2021, in Charlotte from prostate and bladder cancer.

Business and Science

George Stranahan (89) was born November 5, 1931, in Toledo, Ohio. His father, Duane, served as vice president in charge of aviation at Champion Spark Plug. Stranahan graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 1953. For three summers in the late 1950s, George Stranahan lived in a remote mountain valley near Aspen, Colorado, with his only professional tools—a pencil and a piece of paper. Staring at a blank page one afternoon in 1959, he dreamed of creating a physics think tank in the Rockies. The Aspen Center for Physics was born. It proved pivotal in the development of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, for a long time the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, and the formulation of string theory.In 1961, he received his doctorate from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). He began working as a professor at Michigan State in 1965. In 1972, Stranahan left his position at Michigan State University, where he had received tenure as a physics professor, and cut back on his involvement with the Aspen center. In 1989, Stranahan’s family had a 35 stake in Champion Spark Plug when Cooper Industries bought the company for $800 million in cash. In 1980, he opened a bar near Aspen, Woody Creek Tavern. Stranahan founded the Flying Dog Brewpub in Aspen in 1990. As of last year, Flying Dog was the 35th-biggest craft brewing company in the United States. Stranahan died May 20, 2021 in a hospital in Denver, the cause was a stroke and other health problems that emerged after heart surgery.


Quintin Jones (41) Jones experienced 'brutal conditions' during his childhood, experiencing neglect by his parents, sexual assault by his siblings, and extreme poverty. His mother threatened him with a gun and he was forced at age 7 by his older siblings to have sex with his stepsister. He shot himself twice, once in the hand to placate gang members and later in the chest in a suicide attempt. He became addicted to drugs by his early teens. On September 11, 1999, Jones murdered his great aunt, 83-year-old Berthena Bryant, bludgeoning her to death, after she refused to give him money to purchase cocaine. He was high on heroin and cocaine during the murder. Jones admitted to the killing during the trial and showed remorse. The Bryant family gave evidence in the trial of Jones’s mental illness and addiction. Jones was sentenced to death and spent 21 years on death row with 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. Texas Governor Greg Abbott was petitioned to grant clemency to Jones by the victim's family, other people (including a petition signed by 120,000), and organizations. The board voted 7-0 to deny the petition and Gov. Greg Abbott was not expected to go against the board’s decision. Jones was executed by lethal injection at 6:40 PM CDT on May 19, 2021.

News and Entertainment

Kabang  (13) was adopted as a stray puppy. In December 2011, Kabang’s owners 9-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old cousin attempted to cross a busy street in the path of a motorcycle. Seeing the danger, Kabang jumped at the motorcycle, knocking it over. Kabang suffered extensive injuries to her nose and upper jaw, but the owner refused to have the dog euthanized. Kabang found fame in the Philippine press as a “hero”, she had difficulty eating but otherwise continued living normally. However, over time her open wound led to an infection, but repairing her face via surgery was beyond what her family could afford. In February 2012, Karen Kenngott saw Kabang's story and decided to help. She organized a fundraiser and by the summer of 2012 they reached their goal. Kabang was then brought to the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis to undergo a specialized surgery. Preliminary evaluations revealed that Kabang had heartworms and a transmissible venereal tumor, a type of cancer. She began chemotherapy a week after arriving. Because of Kabang's preexisting conditions, surgery was delayed until March 2013. The surgery was a success, the $27,000 total cost of the treatments and surgery was paid for by donations from people in 47 different countries. Kabang arrived back in the Philippines on June 8, where she was given a hero's welcome in her home town of Zamboanga. Kabang passed away on May 17, 2021, in the Philippines.

Nadia Al-Iraqia, (57) was born as Faten Fathy on August 3, 1963, in the Iraqi city of Babylon. She started her acting career in 1997, at the age of 34, in the role of Fatima in the popular television series, Theyab Al-Lail. With the success of the series, she received several television roles in the following years. She moved to the big screen in the film Africano. The film received critical acclaim and was screened at several film festivals Over the course of her career, she starred in 146 series and films, her latest role was the 2021 television series Ahsan Ab. In April, she announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and was later transferred to an intensive care unit as her condition worsened. She died on May 16, 2021, in Cairo, Egypt from complications of the COVID-19 virus.

Patsy Bruce (81) was born in Jackson, Tennessee. Her first brush with success came when she and husband, Ed Bruce, wrote Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. Ed Bruce recorded the song in 1975, but it wasn’t until the duo of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings recorded a cover of the song that it found mainstream success. The song spent a month at No. 1 in 1978 and won the 1979 Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group. Bruce was responsible for a major tweak to the original song. She suggested “cowboys”. The first version asked their mamas not to let their babies grow up to be guitar players. The husband and wife team and fellow writer Bobby Borchers were also responsible for hit song Texas (When I Die). Ed Bruce recorded it first, but it took Tanya Tucker to release a cover in 1978 to bring the song success. The Dallas Cowboys began using the song to celebrate touchdowns and wins at their home games at Texas Stadium. Patsy Bruce served as president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International in the late ’70s and early ’80s. She was a casting director for the movie Urban Cowboy and after her divorce in 1987, she operated several event management and marketing companies. She was appointed to the Tennessee Parole Board in 2004 by Gov. Phil Bredesen; she held the position for 10 years. She owned and operated The Lyric Springs Country Inn, a bed and breakfast in Williamson County. She died in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 16, 2021.

Kevin Bueno (23) born Kevin Nascimento Bueno, but he performed as MC Kevin. MC Kevin launched his career in 2013, with the hit song ‘Cavalo de Troia’ (Trojan Horse). He currently has over 9 million followers on Instagram. His song style is Funk Paulista. Funk Paulista is a musical style created in São Paulo between 2008 and 2010, originated from the Funk Carioca. Unlike traditional Funk Carioca talking about crime, social inequality, and life on the edge, Funk Paulista has themes of luxury cars, designer clothes, jewelry, women, and drinks. He has had a variety of brushes with the law. His neighbors reported him to the police for breaching COVID-19 restrictions after he filmed himself strolling outdoor after testing positive for the virus. He was charged with libel and incitement after swearing at the police and posting the footage to social media. He was also arrested at a hotel in Belo Horizonte for drug use in 2019. He recently married Deolane Bezerra, in a ceremony in Mexico. The couple had had a troubled relationship, and they were thought to have split up earlier in the year. MC Kevin died in Rio de Janeiro on May 16, 2021, after he fell from the 5th floor of a hotel balcony.

Alix Dobkin (80) grew up in New York City and Philadelphia, with left-wing, politically active Jewish parents. In the Village scene, she encountered such artists as Bob Dylan, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger, Bernice Johnson, and more, and she became active in the black civil rights movement. She had an early marriage to Sam Hood, who managed a Village folk club, and they had a daughter together. She divorced in the early 1970s, after Dobkin came out as a lesbian. She became one of the major voices in the lesbian feminist movement. She was a member of many activist groups, including the steering committee of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. Dobkin expressed her opinions not only through song and activism, but also through opinion columns. She voiced controversial views on transgender people. However, her views evolved, and she was a strong advocate for the rights of all women. Dobkin died on May 19, 2021, due to complications from a brain aneurysm and stroke.

Charles Grodin (86) born in Pittsburgh, Grodin dropped out of the University of Miami to pursue an acting career. In 1962, he made his Broadway debut as part of the supporting cast of Tchin-Tchin and went on to star in Same Time, Next Year on Broadway in 1975. In Hollywood, Grodin became a popular comedic actor, known for his characters in films like The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run, Heaven Can Wait, and Beethoven. He also starred in The Great Muppet Caper as a villain and onscreen love interest for Miss Piggy. Grodin was an Emmy Award–winning writer for his work on a Paul Simon special and also authored several autobiographies and plays. In 1993, he won an American Comedy Award for his supporting role in the political-comedy film Dave. The host of CNBC’s The Charles Grodin Show in the mid-1990s, he made 17 appearances on Late Night With David Letterman and 36 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Grodin died on May 18, 2021, in his home in Wilton, Connecticut, of bone-marrow cancer.

Roger Hawkins (75) born in Indiana, Hawkins developed an interest in percussion from childhood. He moved to Alabama as a teenager, and in 1965 became a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was more casually known as the Swampers. Hawkins brought a groovy country-funk sensibility to scores of pop, soul, R&B, and rock hits. The group frequently worked with Aretha Franklin, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Art Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, Bobby Womack, Millie Jackson, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, and more. Hawkins continued an active music career well into the 1990s, slowing as he began to experience tinnitus. Hawkins died on May 20, 2021, in Sheffield, Alabama, following an extended illness and several years of health struggles.

Don Kernodle (71) Kernodle was a Mid-Atlantic wrestler from the early ‘70s and was a part of Sgt. Slaughter’s Cobra Corps, along with Private Jim Nelson. The team of Kernodle and Nelson won the Mid-Atlantic tag team titles for the first time in May 1982. As World Tag Champions, Slaughter & Kernodle feuded with Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood that culminated in one of the biggest matches in history in the Carolina area. “The Final Conflict” took place on March 12, 1983, at the Greensboro Coliseum with a standing room only crowd for the steel cage match. Steamboat & Youngblood defeated the champions allowing Slaughter to exit Mid-Atlantic and join the World Wrestling Federation. Kernodle would also work for the WWF, never signing a contract, during 1983 before returning to the Carolinas in 1984. Kernodle would win the NWA tag titles with Bob Orton Jr. in January 1984 in Charlotte. His final championship reign came in May 1984 with partner Ivan Koloff as the duo defeated Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood in Raleigh and would lose the championship to Dusty Rhodes & Manny Fernandez in October that year. His final matches took place with the CWF Mid-Atlantic in August 2006.In his post-wrestling life, Kernodle later worked as a Sergeant for Immigration Customs Enforcement for Alamance County, North Carolina, and was later a deputy sheriff in Alamance County. Kernodle was set to be inducted into the Lou Thesz/George Tragos Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in July. Kernodle died from suicide on May 20, 2021. He had dealt with various health issues over the past several years.

Paul Mooney (79), born Paul Gladney in 1941, he is best known for his work writing for comedian Richard Pryor, notably the “Word Association” sketch from season one of Saturday Night Live in 1975. As a writer, he contributed to Redd Foxx’s Sanford and Sons and Good Times, as well as the first year of In Living Color. Known as an actor for playing singer Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story, he also wrote and performed in sketches on Chappelle’s Show. In his stand-up routines, Mooney ignored political correctness in favor of radical comedy that challenged racism and white supremacy, making the country’s foundational ideas the butt of the joke. Mooney looked back on his career making audiences think in a 2007 memoir, Black Is the New White. Mooney died from a heart attack in his home in Oakland, California, on May 19, 2021.

Olavo Obando (83) was born in San Gabriel, Carchi. Obando won the Ecuadorian Chess Championship at Pichincha in 1962, took 9th at Mar del Plata in 1962 , tied for 3rd–6th at Havana in 1966, played at Caracas in 1967, took 2nd at Santa Clara in 1968, shared 1st with Eleazar Jiménez Zerquera at Quito/Guayaquil in 1969, took 15th at Caracas in 1970, took 3rd at Caracas in 1973, and took 2ndat Quito in 1975. Obando played for the Ecuador in the Chess Olympiads, at first board, in Tel Aviv in 1964, Havana in 1966, and Nice in 1974. He was awarded the International Master title in 1969. Obando died of cancer on May 17, 2021.

Tatyana Protsenko (53) became an actress when she was a child. The director's assistant noticed the girl on the train and invited her to the audition. Director Leonid Nechayev approved Tatyana for the role of Malvina. Protsenko was the only child who was speaking in the famous scene, a new voiceover was recorded for all the rest. After the movie was released, she woke up famous. The audience fell in love with the image of a girl with blue hair and angelic look. Malvina became her only role in feature films. She graduated from the Film Studies Department of Russian State University of Cinematography and was a member of the International Federation of Journalists. She participated in Minsk International Film Festival. In 2012 she was a jury member of Listapadzik, a film competition for children and youth audience. In 2018, Protsenko was diagnosed with cancer, after an operation and treatment she returned to normal life, but soon the cancer began to progress again. She died on May 19, 2021, in Moscow.

Mark York (55) York had been paraplegic since 1988, when he suffered “an almost fatal, life-changing auto accident”. That near-death experience led him back to school and into acting. He was a triple-major graduate, with degrees in psychology, sociology, and social work. His most notable role was Billy Merchant in the early years of The Office”. York used his roles on-screen to promote visibility for wheelchair users. In the past several years, he had been working as an inventor and had obtained two patents for his inventions. York died in Dayton, Ohio, on May 19, 2021, after a brief and unexpected illness.

Politics and Military

Charles Hagemeister (74) was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 21, 1946. He graduated from Lincoln's Southeast High School and was drafted into the Army in May 1966. Then-Specialist Fourth Class Hagemeister was assigned as a medic in Vietnam's Binh Dinh Province when the enemy attacked at night on March 20, 1967. The North Vietnamese surrounded his platoon on three sides and initiated intense fire. His platoon quickly suffered heavy casualties. For the next seven and a half hours, Hagemeister faced heavy fire several times trying to reach the wounded. Prevented by the hostile fire from evacuating the wounded, he seized a rifle and eliminated a sniper, an enemy machine gun, and three enemy soldiers trying to encircle his position. With his men pinned down, Hagemeister ran to secure help from a nearby platoon and continued to evacuate the wounded as the enemy continued firing. For his bravery, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. There are only 66 recipients alive today. He retired from active duty as a lieutenant colonel in June 1990. Hagemeister died on May 19, 2021, in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Mike Weatherley (63) was born in Somerset, went to school in Kent, and then to London South Bank University. He worked as a chartered management accountant before entering politics and became the finance director for businesses owned by the record producer Pete Waterman. He went on to become the vice president (Europe) for the Motion Picture Licensing Company. At the general election in May 2010, Mr. Weatherley won the Hove seat in the Commons, defeating the incumbent, Labour MP Celia Barlow, by 1,868 votes. Less than two years after he was elected, he underwent radical surgery, having his esophagus and part of his stomach removed. After a period of suffering from cancer, Weatherley stepped down from politics and returned to the Motion Picture Licensing Company, working in America for a while, before returning to Sussex. At the time of his death, he was in remission from esophageal cancer. He died on May 20, 2021, from lung cancer – despite never having smoked.


Thomas Beckwith (66) played for the Auburn University Tigers from 1974 to 1977. He pitched a no-hitter at the beginning of the 1976 season. He was initially drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 12th round of 1976 MLB draft, but opted not to sign. He was subsequently drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2nd round of the following year’s MLB draft. Beckwith made his MLB debut in 1979 at the age of 24. In 1981, Beckwith suffered double vision, sidelining him the entire season in which the Dodgers won the World Series. Beckwith underwent two surgeries to restore the balance in his eyes and returned to the Dodgers in 1982. Beckwith won the 1985 World Series with the Royals. He pitched two innings in Game 4. Beckwith was released by the Royals the following year. He then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays but was unable to make the major league roster. He rejoined the Dodgers in 1986 and played his final major league game that same year at the age of 31. In 2004, Beckwith was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, becoming the first graduate of Auburn High to be enshrined there. Beckwith died on May 22, 2021. He suffered from colon cancer in the two-and-a-half years leading up to his death.

Lee Evans (74) Evans was 21 when he won the 400m race at the Mexico City Olympics in 43.86 seconds, the first time a runner broke 44 seconds in the event. He later anchored the U.S. 4x400m to win gold in a world record. Both records stood for two decades. Evans was a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and one of the athletes to fight for racial justice before and during those Games. He wanted to withdraw from the 400m final after Smith and Carlos were kicked out of the Olympics after raising black-gloved fists on the medal stand. But Smith and Carlos convinced Evans to run. An official warned the U.S. 400m runners before the final not do anything similar to Smith and Carlos. The official was worried the U.S. team would get kicked out of the Games. Evans then led a U.S. medals sweep of the 400m with Larry James and Ron Freeman. All three wore black berets in support of the Black Panther Party for the victory ceremony. They removed them for the anthem, a decision that was made before the Olympics given they still had the 4x400m relay to run. Evans later coached and directed track and field programs for decades internationally. Evans suffered a stroke last week and died in Nigeria on May 19, 2021.

Reinaldo (Rennie) Stennett (72) born on April 5, 1949, in Colon, Panama, Stennett attracted interest from several major league teams but waited to sign with the Pirates until he graduated from high school. He was called up to the Pirates during the 1971 season after playing with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A team in Charleston, West Virginia. Stennett played nine seasons for Pittsburgh, a period of great success for the team. The Pirates won the World Series in 1971 and 1979 and finished first in their division five times. In 1975,Stennett became only the second major leaguer to get seven hits in a nine-inning game. Stennett had made history even before his seven-hit game when on September 1, 1971, in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, he was the leadoff hitter for baseball’s first all-Black and Latino starting lineup. Stennett was having his best year in 1977, batting .336, when he fractured his right leg and dislocated his ankle sliding into second base in late August. He left the Pirates to sign a contract with the San Francisco Giants, but lasted only two seasons before being released. He attempted to make a comeback in the Mexican League in 1982 and for the Montreal Expos’ top minor league team in 1983. His final attempt at a comeback was with the Pirates in 1989 but was cut during spring training. After retiring from baseball, he worked with the Pirates on marketing and charity events. Stennett died May 18, 2021, in Coconut Creek, Florida, from colon cancer.

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