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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, May 29, 2021

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Josep Eduard Almudéver Mateu, a French volunteer in the Spanish Civil War.Dewayne Blackwell, songwriterJeanne Bot, French supercentenarianEric Carle, children’s book author and illustratorKevin Clark, a one-time child actorLorrae Desmond, recording artist, radio and television presenter, character actressMark Eaton, American Basketball playerHeidi Ferrer, ScreenwriterKrishne Gowda, Veteran theatre, TV, and film actorHuang Guanjun, men's hearing-impaired ultramarathon championAnna Halprin, an American choreographer and dancerRonald Hill, British runner and clothing entrepreneurRobert Hogan, verteran character actorLiang Jing, ultramarathon championLorina Kamburova, Bulgarian actressWilliam Joseph Lara, an American actor, martial artist, and musicianGavin MacLeod, American actor, Christian activist, and authorFrederick Marks, English actor and musicianPaulo Mendes da Rocha, Brazilian architectJohn David J. D. Roberts, an American football player and coachHenryk Bohdan Samsonowicz, Polish historian and professor of the University of WarsawGwen Shamblin Lara, Christian diet guruPatrick Sky, American musician, folk singer, and songwriterBilly Joe Thomas, an American singerJohn Warner, longtime US senator from VirginiaSamuel Edward Wright, an American actor and singer.

Art and Literature

Eric Carle (91) born to German immigrant parents in Syracuse, New York, Carle and his family returned to Stuttgart, Germany (Nazi Germany at the time) when he was 6. At the age of 15 he managed to avoid the draft but was conscripted by the Nazi authorities to dig trenches. After the war, Carle studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. He completed his studies in 1950 and moved back to the United States, working as a freelance artist for the New York Times. Soon afterward, he was drafted into the US Army and stationed in Germany. After completing his military service, Carle returned to the Times but left in 1963 to become the art director for an advertising agency. This is where he met Bill Martin, who had just written Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and hired Carle as the illustrator. Carle wrote and/or illustrated more than 75 books. With his greatest success being, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, published in 1969. Just 224 words long it has been translated into 66 languages and has sold over 50 million copies. Throughout his life, Carle received honorary degrees from more than five universities. Carle died on May 23, 2021, in Northampton, Massachusetts of kidney failure.

Anna Halprin (100) was a pioneer in the art form known as postmodern dance. In the 1950s, she established the San Francisco Dancers' Workshop. Halprin developed the RSVP cycles, a creative methodology that includes the idea of scores and can be applied broadly across all disciplines. She created over 150 dance pieces including Myths, which gave a score to the audience, making them performers as well. Influenced by her own battle with cancer, Halprin started working with terminally ill patients. Halprin wrote 3 books including: Movement Rituals, Moving Toward Life and Dance as a Healing Art. A documentary film about her life and art, Breath Made Visible, directed by Ruedi Gerber, premiered in 2010. Halprin died on May 24, 2021.

Business and Science

Paulo Mendes da Rocha (92) attended the Universida de Presbiteriana Mackenzie College of Architecture, graduating in 1954.Working almost exclusively in Brazil, Mendes da Rochabegan designing buildings in 1957. Many of his buildings were built in concrete, a method some call Brazilian Brutalism, arguably allowing buildings to be constructed cheaply and quickly. He contributed many notable cultural buildings to São Paulo and is widely credited with having enhanced and revitalized the city. Mendes da Rocha was a Professor at the Architecture College of the University of São Paulo. His work was influenced by Brazilian architect Vilanova Artigas. He was honored with the Mies van der Rohe Prize (2000), the Pritzker Prize (2006), and the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for lifetime achievement (2016).Mendes da Rocha died on May 23, 2021, in São Paulo.


Henryk Samsonowicz (91) graduated from University of Warsaw, receiving his PhD in 1954. In196, he was appointed the vice dean of the Department of Humanistic Studies at University of Warsaw, eventually becoming the dean of the department. In 1980, he became a member of Solidarity and was nominated a rector of the University of Warsaw. Dismissed from this post on April 8, 1982, Samsonowicz participated in talks of the Round Table in the late 1980s. After the June 4, 1989, election, he became Minister of Education. He also had honorary degrees from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, and the University of Wroclaw. Samsonowicz wrote approximately 800 scientific papers, mostly on history of medieval Poland including 16 books and university textbooks. He died on May 28, 2021.

News and Entertainment

Josep Almudéver Mateu (101) born in Marseille, Almudéver grew up in Casablanca and Alcàsser. At the time of the July 1936 coup was still a minor, he became a volunteer on the Republican side. Hiding his age, he joined the Pablo Iglesias Column, which was deployed to the Teruel. Wounded at the Teruel Front, Almudéver was sent to the rear; he re-joined the army as a part of the CXXIX International Brigade. Between early 1939 and late 1942, he was a prisoner of the Francoist regime. Forced into exile, he returned to Spain in 1965. He died in France on May 24, 2021, as the last known member of the International Brigades.

Dewayne Blackwell (84) Blackwell migrated to California from Texas when he was a boy. One of eight children, he grew up as an itinerant crop picker. He began performing at the age of fourteen, later playing in his family trio The Blackwells. Despite finding some success, the band broke up when Dwayne’s brother died in a motorcycle accident. He then turned his attention to songwriting. In his early years as a songwriter, Blackwell’s first success was The Fleetwoods’ #1 Pop hit with “Mr. Blue” in 1959. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, his works were recorded mainly by pop acts such as Bobby Vee, Roy Orbison, Bobby Vinton, The Four Preps, and The Everly Brothers. In the 1980s, he moved to Nashville to write country songs. He found success with such hits as “Honkytonk Man” by Marty Robbins, “I’m Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate our Home” by David Frizzell, “Make My Day” by T.G. Sheppard & Clint Eastwood, and “Saturday Night Special” by Conway Twitty. In 1991, Blackwell’s co-written “Friends in Low Places” performed by Garth Brooks was named ASCAP Country Song of the Year, as well as the Single of the Year by both the CMA and the ACM. Blackwell retired in 2003 and moved to Central Mexico where he opened a restaurant named Senior Azul, a.k.a., Mr. Blue. Blackwell died on May 23, 2021.

Jeanne Bot (116) was born on January 14, 1905, in the military barracks in Mont-Louis, Occitanie region, France, where her father was a soldier. She spent 50 years working as a bookkeeper in a car garage in Perpignan, France. She never married and had no children. Bot was the second-oldest known living person in both France and Europe at the time of her death. She was also the fourth-oldest living person in the world whose age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Bot was the last known surviving, validated person in Europe born in 1905 and the second to last person born in 1905 overall. Bot died on May 24, 2021.

Kevin Clark (32) Clark had played drums since the age of 3 and began taking private lessons in fifth grade. At the age of 13, Clark played Freddy Spazzy McGee Jones in the movie School of Rock. He had no acting experience but relished the experience after a friend brought him to the auditions. Although he may not have continued acting, music remained in his blood. Clark was part of the concert and jazz bands in high school and formed a garage band, in which he played drums and also some guitar and bass. He also composed several original pieces on guitar and on the computer. Clark was killed after being struck by a car while riding his bike in Chicago on May 26, 2021.

Lorrae Desmond (91) Desmond was born in New South Wales, a state of Australia. By the age of 10, she had travelled to Britain with her family. Desmond started her career in England as a singer and radio/television presenter. Returning to Australia, she became popular as the hostess of the musical variety program The Lorrae Desmond Show from 1960 until 1964.She toured South Vietnam with the Entertainment Unit during the Vietnam War. She also toured the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, and Somalia. Desmond found fame for her long-running role as Shirley Gilroy, an original character in the television series A Country Practice, appearing in 816 episodes. In addition, she also wrote a magazine column called Ask Lorrae, where readers would write in, asking for advice. She died on May 23, 2021, in Gold Coast, Queensland.

Heidi Ferrer (50) born in Salina, Kansas, on May 28, 1970. She did not have a college education and originally went into acting, but ended up becoming a screenwriter. She sold her first piece of work to Academy Award-winning producer Arnold Kopelson and was a member of the Writers Guild of America for 24 years. She was a former Dawson's Creek writer who was also known for her work with Wasteland. In April 2020, Ferrer contracted COVID-19, and her health deteriorated steadily. By May 2021, she was bedridden and in constant physical pain, suffering from severe neurological tremors and numerous other worsening symptoms. Before Ferrer's death, she opened up on her personal blog about her long-haul symptoms of COVID-19. Ferrer died by suicide on May 26, 2021.

Krishne Gowda (80) born in 1941 in Bairasandra. Gowda began his career as an accountant before getting into stage acting on the side. He had played a number of supporting roles in both television and cinema, as well as being a well-known stage actor. During his theatre days, Gowda was seen in supporting roles, usually playing “father” roles. He grew in popularity for his role in Mukhyamantri Chandru. He won the State Award for the Supporting Actor (Male) for his outstanding performance in Karimaleya Kaggatthalu in 1993. Gowda had recently recovered from the Covid-19 virus but died on May 24, 2021, due to a heart attack.

Robert Hogan (87) born in Jamaica, Queens, Hogan's acting career began in the early 1960s and spanned six decades. He appeared in over 100 primetime shows and an abundance of daytime soap dramas based in both California and New York. The popular television series, Hogan's Heroes main character was named for him by co-creator Bernie Fein, a friend of Hogan's. Hogan was initially considered for the role before it went to actor Robert Crane. Hogan died of complications from pneumonia at his home in Maine on May 27, 2021. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's back in 2013.

Lorina Kamburova (30) born on February 1, 1991, in Varna, Bulgaria. Kamburova moved in with her grandmother after the death of her parents. She was accepted into the University of Economics in her hometown but decided to attend the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts in Sofia, graduating in 2014. The same year, she founded the musical group, Ross'N Lorina, with actor Rosen Penchev. Her acting career began with the TV series Connections, in which appeared from 2015 to 2016. She then starred in the American horror films Night World”, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Leatherface, and Day of the Dead: Wicked Blood. In 2018, she was cast in the film Doom: Annihilation directed by Tony Giglio. Her final role was the main female character in the Russian comedy horror film “Love and Monsters” in 2021. She died in Moscow, Russia, on May 27, 2021, from bilateral pneumonia related to Covid-19.

William Lara (58) born in San Diego, California to parents of Native American Indian, Polish, and Spanish heritage, Lara was a model, actor, producer, and country music artist. He had starred in more than twenty films. Most notably, he was cast to play Tarzan twice: once in a CBS pilot, Tarzan in Manhattan, and in 22 episodes of Tarzan: The Epic. He also appeared in many action films, among them Steel Frontier and American Cyborg: Steel Warrior. At the peak of his fame Joe Lara appeared in two action films, Armstrong and Warhead. He gave up acting after twenty years in 2002 to pursue a career in country music. On May 29, 2021, Lara was killed alongside six other people, including his wife Gwen Shamblin Lara, after their Cessna Citation ISP jet crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna, Tennessee.

Gavin MacLeod (90) born Allan George See on February 28, 1931. He grew up in Pleasantville, New York, and studied acting at Ithaca College, from which he graduated in 1952 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. After serving in the United States Air Force, he moved to New York City and worked at Radio City Music Hall while looking for acting work. At about this time, he changed his name, drawing Gavin from a physically disabled victim in a television drama, and MacLeod from his drama coach, Beatrice MacLeod. The bald MacLeod often played villains on TV before being cast in the acerbic comic role of Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which ran on CBS from 1970-1977 and was one of the most honored shows of its decade, winning 29 Emmy Awards. After “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” MacLeod was signed for the starring role of Captain Merrill Stubing on ABC’s “The Love Boat,” which ran for 10 seasons from 1977-1987. MacLeod battled alcoholism during his career and became a devout Christian. MacLeod died at his home in Palm Desert, California, on May 29, 2021, after a period of ill health.

Frederick Marks (71) lived in Birkenhead, Cheshire, during his youth.Marks was interested in music and the theatre from an early age and played in various bands. He attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. In his early career, Marks appeared on stage in productions such as The Lion in Winter and as part of Dundee Repertory Theatre. He appeared in TVseries such as Z-Cars, The Sweeney, and Churchill's People before returning to the stage. In 1977, he portrayed Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show at Chelsea's King's Road Theatre. In 1980, Marks was hired to join the cast of Rainbow joining the two existing musicians, Rod Burton and Jane Tucker, who he would marry in 2016, to form Rod, Jane, and Freddy. Rod, Jane, and Freddy were approached to do their own show which aired its first episode in January 1981. The trio continued to appear in Rainbow until 1989.In 1996 the trio won the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters Gold Badge Award for outstanding contribution to the music industry. Marks also worked as a scriptwriter for The Sooty Show, Playdays, and Wizadora. Marks died on May 27, 2021.

Patrick Sky (80) born Patrick Lynch in Live Oak Gardens, Georgia, Sky was raised near the Lafourche Swamps of Louisiana where he learned guitar, banjo, and harmonica. He moved to New York City after military service in the early 1960s and began playing traditional folk songs in clubs before starting to write his own material. Sky released a number of well-received albums from 1965 onwards and played with many of the leading performers of the period. Becoming increasingly disillusioned with the music business and politically radical, Sky gradually moved into the field of Irish traditional music, founding Green Linnet Records in 1973. He was recognized as an expert in building and playing the Irish uilleann pipes. He also published several books on the subject. Sky died in Asheville, North Carolina, on May 26, 2021.

B.J. Thomas (78) before his solo career, he sang in a church choir as a teenager, then joined the musical group The Triumphs In 1966. Thomas and the Triumphs released the album I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. It featured a hit cover of the Hank Williams song I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. The single sold over one million copies and was awarded a Gold Record. Shortly after Thomas’s career began, he became dependent on drugs and alcohol, which led to his marriage nearly ending. On January 28, 1976, Thomas became a Christian and had been sober since 1976. Over the course of his decades-long career, he has won five Grammy Awards, including three consecutive wins in the best inspirational performance category in 1978, 1979, and 1980. His 1969 record Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.Thomas has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and released eight Billboard No. 1 hit songs. He is behind 26 Top 10 singles on the Hot 100 chart. Thomas was named one of Billboard's Top 50 Most Played Artists. He died on May 29, 202, at his home in Arlington, Texas, of lung cancer.

Samuel Wright (74) was best known as the voice of Sebastian in Disney's The Little Mermaid, for which he provided the lead vocals to Under the Sea, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Wright also played the part of Mufasa in the original cast of The Lion King on Broadway and voiced Kron the Iguanodon in Disney's 2000 CGI/live-action film Dinosaur. Wright was nominated twice for a Tony Award, once in 1984 and then again in 1998, for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Wright died in his sleep in Walden, New York, on May 24, 2021.

Politics and Military

John Warner (94) a Navy veteran of World War II and a Marine during the Korean War, Warner served as a Republican US senator from 1979 through 2009, becoming the second-longest serving senator in Virginia's history. Warner's military experience led him to be one of the most respected voices in Washington on military and national security issues, and he served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee during the early years of the Iraq War. While working as the secretary of the Navy and chairman of the nation's bicentennial celebration in 1976, he met his future wife and Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor. The two separated in 1981 and divorced the following year. Warner died from heart failure on May 25, 2021.

Society and Religion

Gwen Shamblin Lara (66) she first began teaching diet classes 30 years ago with her background as a registered dietician and degree in food and nutrition. In 1986, Lara founded the Weigh Down Workshop, a weight loss program which has “no forbidden foods, exercise regimen or weigh-ins,” and avoids “calorie counting.” In the 1990s, Lara became a best-selling author with her diet books and programs she said were based on Christian values. By January 1995, the program could be found in over 1,000 churches in forty-nine US States, as well as at locations in Britain and Canada. By July 1996, the workshop was at about 5,000 churches, with close to ten percent located in Lara's home-state of Tennessee. By August 1998, Weigh Down was holding more than 21,000 classes with over 250,000 reported participants worldwide. In 1999, she parlayed her success into creating her own church, the Remnant Fellowship, in Brentwood, Tennessee. The church has members from all across the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, and Canada. Lara was one of seven victims when the plane she was traveling in crashed near her Brentwood, TN, home on May 29, 2021.


Mark Eaton (64) born January 24, 1957, in Inglewood, Eaton graduated from Westminster High and was working as an auto mechanic in 1977 when Tom Lubin, a Cypress College assistant basketball coach, persuaded him to enroll and try out for the basketball team. As a freshman, Eaton was taken as the 107th overall pick by Phoenix in the 1979 NBA draft, but decided to return to community college. From there, he transferred to UCLA in 1980 and in two seasons, thanks to his height of 7’ 4” and defensive potential, was drafted again at No. 72 overall by Utah in 1982. Eaton’s 11 playing seasons with the Jazz are third most in team history, with him appearing in 338 consecutive games. Eaton’s number 53 was one of the first jerseys retired by the Jazz. He was the defensive player of the year in 1984–85 and 1988–89. In addition, he was a five-time All-Defensive team selection, three first-team nods, two second-team picks, and was an All-Star in 1989. His last game was in 1993 when back problems ended his career. He retired in September 1994. He became a restaurateur and motivational speaker in his retirement. Eaton was found lying in the road after an apparent bicycle accident in Park City, Utah on May 28, 2021.

Huang Guanjun (34) was one of the 22 ultramarathoners who died during the “Yellow River Stone Forest Mountain Marathon 100-kilometer Cross-Country Race”. The Sichuan native became hearing-impaired at the age of one after an injection error, and was also unable to speak. He did not excel in his studies and struggled holding down a permanent job. He often had difficulties with his finances, surviving only on instant noodles for meals. But the one thing he excelled at was running, so he joined races over the years in the hopes of winning some prize money. Saturday's race had offered runners $248 each if they completed the event. Guanjun died on May 23, 2021 as a result of hyperthermia.

Ronald Hill (82) Hill grew up during wartime and post-war food rationing. He showed no sports ability until in his mid-teens, he discovered running. Hill broke the British record for 6 miles, and set world records for 15 miles and 25K. He won British championships at 6 miles, 10 miles, cross-country, and the marathon. He eventually completed 115 marathons, winning 21, with 21 more on the podium. He ran faster than 2:20 a total of 29 times. Hill’s greatest disappointment was the 1972 Olympic marathon in Munich, where he started as a co-favorite. His performance was affected by the terrorist massacre, and the postponement of the race by one day disrupted his meticulously scientific pre-race schedule of nutrition and other preparation. He placed sixth behind Frank Shorter’s victory. He ran every day for at least one mile from December 1964 until January 2017, a total of 52 years, and 39 days, including hobbling on a crutch after bunion surgery. Hill died in Cheshire, England, on May 23, 2021. He announced that he was suffering from dementia in 2018.

Liang Jing (31) Liang Jing was one of 22 ultramarathoners who died during the “Yellow River Stone Forest Mountain Marathon 100-kilometer Cross-Country Race”. Jing was an accomplished ultramarathoner, and was nicknamed Liang God and General Liang for his skills. He started running when he was in university at age 19. Jing won numerous long-distance races, including the Ultra Gobi in 2018, a 400km race through the Gobi desert, in which he broke the broke the 12-hour ultramarathon record. Earlier in the Jiangnan 100-mile race, he set a record of 18 hours, 24 minutes and 23 seconds. Jing died on May 23, 2021, while participating in the “Yellow River Stone Forest Mountain Marathon 100-kilometer Cross-Country Race” held in Baiyin City, Gansu Province, China. Officials cited a sudden change in weather during the race. Hail showers and thunderstorms hit the high-altitude area of the race, as runners were climbing 6,500 feet above sea level. According to pictures taken of Jing, near the start of the race, he had worn only shorts, a thin jacket and a baseball cap. Many of the stranded runners reportedly suffered from hypothermia, and had lost their way on the route as the weather affected visibility. There was one section of the mountain that was exposed land and there was nowhere for the runners to take shelter. A rescue operation deploying more than 1,200 rescuers was launched, assisted by thermal-imaging drones and radar detectors. But the rescue efforts proved too late for some. They rescued 151 people, including 8 who were slightly injured and treated in the hospital. The other 21 participants had lost their lives when they were found. Half of the victims were in the master class of ultramarathoners.

John J. D. Roberts (88) played as a guard on offense and defense for the University of Oklahoma. He won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top college lineman in 1953. Roberts was chosen in the 17th round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. However, he never played in a regular season NFL game. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps before being hired as an assistant football coach at multiple colleges. Roberts was hired as head coach of the New Orleans Saints replacing Tom Fears after New Orleans began 1970 with a 1-5-1 record. Roberts’ first game came against the Detroit Lions. The Saints won 19-17 when Tom Dempsey kicked a 63-yard (58 m) field goal, a record which broke the previous NFL mark by seven yards. Roberts was fired shortly after a preseason loss in 1973. He died on May 25, 2021.

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