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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, June 19, 2021

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Champ, American dog, presidential petZiona, Polygamist and leader of a Christian sectLisa Lou Banes, American actressNed Thomas Beatty, American actorFrank Bonner, American actor and television directorDirk Bracke, Belgian children's authorKrystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz, Polish naval engineer and sailorAlain Cocq, Right-to-die advocateFritzie Fritzshall, Auschwitz survivorJoralf Gjerstad, Norwegian self-identified psychic and faith healerAlex Harvill, American motorcycle stunt performerSir Ian Bruce Hassall, New Zealand pediatrician and children's advocateAshley Henley, American teacher and politicianLaila Ellen Hirvisaari, Finnish author and writer.Kenneth David Kaunda, first President of ZambiaMarkis Kido, Indonesian badminton playerAllan Kiil, Estonian swimmer and sports personalityChristopher John Kirubi, Kenyan businessman, entrepreneur, and industrialistDavid Lightfoot, Australian film producerKaren MacLeod Nicolson, British long-distance runnerVladimir Shatalov, Soviet cosmonautVance Henry Trimble, American journalistBobby Unser Jr., American racecar driver and horse breederSanchari Vijay, Indian actorLily Weiding, Danish film and theater actressXu Yuanchong, Chinese translator

Art and Literature

Dirk Bracke (68) was born in Sint-Gillis-Waas on June 4, 1953. His first step in the literary world was his participation in the John Flanders Competition in 1987. Bracke submitted a story about Neanderthals but did not win the prize. The story “Steen” was published in 1988 in the Flemish Films series. Bracke later developed the story into a full-fledged youth novel that was published in 1993. He later reworked the story even further in Fire Girl. In 1990 Bracke read an article about child prostitution in Southeast Asia. Bracke had never heard of the problem, and it triggered him to change his writing career. Instead of historical novels, he opted for social themes, ranging from child prostitution and drug addiction to sexual violence and incest. Bracke is also one of the few Flemish authors whose three books have been filmed. In February 2021, Bracke announced that after 28 years as a writer, he had to stop writing for health reasons. Bracke died on June 15, 2021.

Laila Hirvisaari (83) known as Laila Hietamies. At three years old, her father died in the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union. After the war, she and her family were evacuated first to Lappeenranta and later to the western part of Finland. Hietamies's first novel Lehmusten kaupunki ('City of the Lindens') was published in 1972 and started a series of novels about Lappeenranta. Hietamies has written many other novel series, mostly telling about Karelia and the consequences of the wars of Finland in the 1940s. She has also written books about a Russian princess Sonja at the time of the Russian Revolution. Hietamies has received many literature awards but never the most respected, Finlandia Prize. Her novel about Russian empress (Minä, Katariina) was nominated for the Finlandia Prize in 2011 but her work was not chosen. Hietamies has written 34 novels and many short stories and plays. A movie based on Hietamies's novel Hylätyt talot, autiot pihat ('Abandoned houses, empty yards') was made into a film in 2000. By 2008, over four million copies of her works had been sold. She died on June 16, 2021, in Helsinki, Finland.

Vance Trimble (107) born in Harrison, Arkansas on July 6, 1913. His father was a lawyer and his mother was the poet and writer Josie Crump Trimble. Trimble graduated from Wewoka High School in 1931. In high school, Trimble was the editor of the school newspaper as well as a full-time reporter for the Wewoka Times Democratic as a courthouse reporter, sports editor, and city editor. During the American Great Depression, Trimble worked wherever he could write. Trimble served in the U.S. Army during World War II for two years, and when he returned was appointed managing editor of the Houston Press in 1950. Trimble came across a book about nepotism in the U.S. Congress that had been published thirty years prior. He looked into current payrolls and found that around twenty percent of Congress had family members on their payroll. After running this story in the Washington Daily News, Trimble had a daily story for six months. As a result, Lyndon Johnson decided to open up the payroll records of the U.S. Senate to bring them up to date. As a result of his work, in 1960, Trimble was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Correspondence Record for Washington coverage, and the Raymond Clapper Award—referred to as the triple crown. He published several books after leaving the newspaper business and even worked to have them available as E-books. Trimble died in Wewoka, Oklahoma on June 16, 2021.

Xu Yuanchong (100) was born in Nanchang, Jiangxi. His uncle XiongShiyi was a translator, who translated the play Wang Baochuanand XuePinggui into English, which was a hit in the UK. Xiong's achievement gave Yuanchong a strong interest in learning English. In 1938, he was admitted to the Department of Foreign Languages, National Southwest Associated University. In 1939, as a freshman, he translated his first work, Lin Huiyin's poem Do not throw away into English, which was published in the Literary Translation News. British publishing company Penguin has published Yuanchong's 300 China's immortal poems, which was launched in Britain, USA, Canada, Australia and other countries. Apart from translating the classical Chinese poetry into foreign languages, Yuanchong also translated many of the British and French classics into Chinese. In his seventies, he was still involved in translating Proust's masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past and translated Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and Stendhal's Red. At the age of 78 years, Yuanchong also published a voluminous long masterpiece, the translation of Romain Rolland's John Kristof. Yuanchong was awarded the Lifetime achievements in translation from the Translators Association of China (TAC) in 2010. On August 2, 2014, at the 20th World Conference of the Federation of International Translators (FIT), FIT conferred The Aurora Borealis Prize on Yuanchong, who is the first Chinese winner of the award. Yuanchong died on June 17, 2021.


Business and Science

Sir Ian Hassall (79) born at Arapuni on August 10,1941, Hassall went on to study medicine at the University of Otago, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1965, before earning specialist qualifications Diploma in Children’s Health and Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Hassall became interested in the health problems associated with disadvantaged and in the increasingly evident problem of child maltreatment. In 1974, he was a founder of the Child Abuse Prevention Society which publicized family violence and its prevention and set up a telephone helpline. He was New Zealand's first Commissioner for Children from 1989 to 1994. His career entailed working for children and their families as clinician, strategist, researcher, and advocate. He was awarded the Aldo Farina Award by UNICEF in 2010 for his dedication to improving child welfare. Hassall was co-founder of the BrainWave Trust which lobbies policymakers on behalf of children. In the 2019 New Year Honors, Hassall was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the welfare of children. Hassall died on June 14, 2021.

Christopher Kirubi (80) was born into a poor family. Both of his parents died when he was young. He began working while still in school during school holidays to support himself and his siblings. Upon graduation, his first job was as salesman selling and repairing gas cylinders for Shell, the petroleum conglomerate. During the 1960s and early 1970s, Kirubi worked as an administrator at Kenatco, a government-owned transportation company. Starting around 1971, he began buying run-down buildings in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, renovating them and either selling the renovated structures or renting them out. He also began acquiring prime land in and around Nairobi, and proceeded to erect rental and other commercial properties using loans from Kenyan financial institutions. He was a director at Centum Investment Company, a business conglomerate, of which he was the largest individual shareholder. According to the 2011 Forbes annual rankings of Africa's richest people in Kenya, Kirubi was ranked the second richest man in Kenya and 31st richest in Africa with a net worth of $300 million. However, in 2012, Forbes dropped Kirubi from the list of Africa's 40 richest. Kirubi was also involved in a youth mentorship program named “Ask Kirubi”. He drove his passion for empowering youth in Africa through online authorship and physical talks in high schools and universities in Kenya. Kirubi died on June 14, 2021, in Nairobi after a long battle with cancer.


News and Entertainment

Champ  (12) Joe Biden promised his wife he would purchase a dog after the 2008 presidential election should Barack Obama win the race. Jill Biden taped different pictures of dogs on seats of Biden's campaign plane for him to see. He purchased the dog as a puppy from a breeder in Pennsylvania, and it was named Champ by his granddaughters. Biden has an affinity for German shepherds, having trained them in the past. Biden would give children small plush toys of Champ during his vice presidency. Champ’s tenure as first dog of the White House is the shortest on record. According to the White House statement, Champ passed away peacefully at home on June 19, 2021.

Ziona  (75) was born on July 21, 1945. He married at the age of 17 to his first wife, who is older than him by three years. She controls the household activities of the family with strict discipline. He married ten of his wives in the span of one year. He holds the world record as the head of the world's largest existing family with 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law, 33 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild—181 family members in total and counting. Of his 39 wives, 22 are below the age of 40 and they get a week to spend with him. He has 26 sons-in-law, and his daughters live separately with their families. Ziona was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not! top 11 strangest stories for the year 2011 and in 2013's Ripley Believe It or Not book. Ziona died from complications of diabetes and hypertension on June 13, 2021.

Lisa Banes (65) born on July 9, 1955, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, but grew up in Colorado Springs. She found quick success in the theater after coming east in the mid-1970s and studying at the Juilliard School in New York. Her first film role was in 1984 in The Hotel New Hampshire, and she began turning up frequently on television. Throughout her career Banes appeared in more than 80 television and film roles, as well as in countless stage productions. She died on June 14, 2021, of head injuries she sustained 10 days earlier when she was struck by a scooter in Manhattan.

Ned Beatty (83) born on July 6, 1937, in Louisville, Kentucky, Beatty began singing in gospel and barbershop quartets in St. Matthews, Kentucky, and at his local church. He received a scholarship to sing in the choir at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky; Beatty attended, but did not graduate. After years in regional theater, Beatty became one of the top character actors in film, particularly during the 1970s, and appeared in more than 160 films, including Deliverance (1972), All the President's Men (1976), Network (1976), Superman (1978), Back to School (1985), Rudy (1993) and Toy Story 3 (2010). He was nominated for an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, and a Golden Globe Award; he also won a Drama Desk Award. Beatty died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on June 13, 2021.

Frank Bonner (79) born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of Mamie Grace (née Dobbins), a singer, and Frank Woodrow Boers, a saxophone player. Bonner started his acting career in the experimental 1967 independent film The Equinox ... A Journey into the Unknown, which was re-shot and re-edited as the 1970 cult classic Equinox. He was best known for playing sales manager Herb Tarlek on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. In 1978, Bonner was injured in a parachute accident which led to his appearance on crutches in the second season of WKRP in Cincinnati. Bonner appeared as a guest star in one episode of the sitcom Night Court in the 1980s. From 1988 to 1990, Bonner played the role of Father Hargis, headmaster of the fictional St. Augustine's Academy on the TV show Just the Ten of Us which was a spin-off of Growing Pains. Bonner also appeared in one of the early episodes of the television show Newhart. Bonner directed several episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati, as well as other TV sitcoms, including Who's the Boss?, Head of the Class, Evening Shade, Newhart, and every episode of the NBC Saturday morning sitcom City Guys. Bonner died June 16, 2021, amid a battle with Lewy body dementia.

David Lightfoot (61) Lightfoot embarked on his career in film in 1982, joining the South Australian Film Corporation after playing cricket for South Australia and spending a period of time in the army. He was founding director of the SHORTS Film Festival, an Adelaide-based National festival. In 2014, Lightfoot completed the action thriller Turkey Shoot aka Elimination Gameand the love story Love Is Now, which won best foreign film at Mexico and Arizona Film Festivals in 2015. He finished working on A Few Less Menin Western Australia in 2016, and the thriller Bad Blood, which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2017. In 2017, he co-produced 1, which was selected and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and also screened at the Adelaide and London Film Festivals. During the course of his 30+ years in the entertainment industry, Lightfoot also worked as a location manager, production manager and first assistant director, and occasionally, as an actor. Lightfoot died in Adelaide, South Australia, on June 13, 2021, after suffering a heart attack.

Sanchari Vijay (37) born on July 18, 1983, his father was an actor and musician. His mother was a nurse and folk singer. As a child, Vijay played minor roles on stage. Vijay’s parents died when he was a teenager. To help fund his brother's education, Vijay took a job at a hotel washing utensils. After his brother began working, Vijay completed his pre-university course, before enrolling in B.M.S. College of Engineering. During this time, he was drawn towards stage acting and joined Sanchari Theatre. After graduating, Vijay began working as a lecturer in a college teaching computer science. He also began acting in television soap operas while remaining active on stage. For his portrayal of a transgender person in the film NaanuAvanalla...Avalu (2014), Vijay was awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor at the 62nd National Film Awards. In a career spanning ten years, he appeared in 25 films before his death from a motorcycle crash on June 15, 2021, in Karnataka, India.

Lily Weiding (96) was the daughter of the Danish bass player Paul Weiding. She made her debut in 1942, at the age of 17, at the Frederiksberg Theater. From 1943 to 1945 she trained at the School of the Royal Theater and then worked for a few years at this theater. She had great success as a stage actress in the drama American Buffalo, which premiered on November 23, 1977, at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and was awarded the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. Throughout her career she appeared in more than 30 films and television shows from 1942 to 2008. She starred in the film Be Dear to Me, which was entered into the 7th Berlin International Film Festival. Weiding died on June 15, 2021.


Politics and Military

Alain Cocq (58) for decades Cocq suffered from a painful and incurable degenerative disease. Cocq had unsuccessfully appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to be allowed euthanasia at home. Last autumn, he twice tried to die by exercising his right under French law to cease being fed and given medical care, but had to give up due to intense pain. France's neighbors Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands have adopted laws that allow medically assisted dying in some cases. France has resisted that step, in part under pressure from the Catholic Church. Cocq died in a medically assisted suicide in Switzerland on June 15, 2021.

Fritzie Fritzshall (91) born in 1929 in Klucarky, Czechoslovakia. Fritzshall’s father emigrated to the U.S., but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzshall’s mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzshall, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzshall pretended to be 15, in order to be assigned to a grueling female labor camp for two years. She promised the 599 older prisoners that if she survived, she would tell their story, as well as the one million others who died at Auschwitz and eleven million who died in the holocaust. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzshall ran into a forest, where she was later liberated by Red Army soldiers in January 1945. In 1946, after the war, Fritzshall came to the United States and was reunited with her father. She eventually settled in Chicago and became a hairdresser. Fritzshall was the president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and widely shared her harrowing story of surviving the Nazi concentration camp. She devoted her life to combating hatred and prejudice, inspiring thousands of people to become “Upstanders” instead of “Bystanders”, and speaking out to make a difference. She died on June 18, 2021.

Ashley Henley (40) taught in the DeSoto County School District for 13 years. She was also an adjunct instructor in history at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Henley first ran as a Republican for the Mississippi House of Representatives in the 40th district in the 2015 Republican primary against Pat Nelson, the incumbent. She was one of several challengers to incumbent legislators not supporting private voucher schools who defeated the incumbents with financial assistance from the political action committee of Empower Mississippi. In 2019, Henley lost her re-election bid by 14 votes to Hester Jackson-McCray, a member of the Democratic Party. Henley sued the state court to overturn the election results. Henley sought a do-over election, but the Mississippi House declined her request, seating Jackson-McCray. After leaving the state house, Henley worked for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy as a legislative fellow. On June 13, 2021, Henley was shot and killed in Water Valley, Mississippi, close to where her sister-in-law had been found dead in December 2019. Henley and her husband, Brandon Henley, had been publicly insisting that her sister-in-law Kristina Michelle Jones was murdered, and that law enforcement in Yalobusha County refused to do anything about it.

Kenneth Kaunda (97) also known as KK, Kaunda was born on April 28, 1924, in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. His mother was the first African woman to teach in colonial Zambia. He later followed in his parents footsteps and became a teacher. In 1953, he moved to Lusaka to take up the post of Secretary General of the Africa National Congress (ANC), under the presidency of Harry Nkumbula. In 1955, Kaunda and Nkumbula were imprisoned for two months with hard labor for distributing subversive literature. The experience of imprisonment had a radicalizing impact on Kaunda and caused him to separate from Nkumbula. In 1960, he visited Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta and afterwards, in July 1961, Kaunda organized a civil disobedience campaign in Northern Province, the so-called Cha-cha-cha campaign, which consisted largely of arson and obstructing significant roads. Dissatisfied with Harry Nkumbula's leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). He was the first President of the independent Zambia. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis. International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda. Kaunda was briefly stripped of Zambian citizenship in 1999, but the decision was overturned the following year. He died in Zambia on June 17, 2021.

Vladimir Shatalov (93) born in Petropavlovsk. His father, Aleksandr Shatalov, was the recipient of the Hero of Socialist Labor. In July 1945, Shatalov entered the 8th Military Aviation School for initial pilot training. In 1949, he graduated from college and became a pilot. In 1956, Shatalov graduated from the command faculty of the Gagarin Air Force Academy and served as deputy squadron commander, then squadron commander, and deputy commander of an aviation regiment in combat units of the Air Force. By order of the Commander in Chief of the Air Force, Shatalov was enrolled in the Cosmonaut Training Center as a listener cosmonaut. He studied the systems, design, and operating rules of the spacecraft Vostok ZA, Voskhod, Voskhod 2, and Soyuz. After passing the exams, Shatalov was qualified as an Air Force cosmonaut. Shatalov has been in space three times. He made his first flight on January 14, 1969, on the Soyuz-4 spacecraft. It was the first to carry out manual rendezvous and docking with Soyuz-5. It was the first time in the world, an experimental space station was created and the transition through open space from the Soyuz-5 spacecraft to the Soyuz-4 was carried out. From January 3, 1987, to September 19, 1991, Shatalov served as the Commander of the Cosmonaut Training Center. By the decree of the President of the Russian Federation of May 9, 1992, Shatalov was transferred to the reserve on May 21, 1992. Besides receiving multiple awards and accolades, Shatalov had a crater on the moon named after him. Shatalov died on June 15, 2021.


Society and Religion

Joralf Gjerstad (95) was born in the winter of 1926 in Snasa, a small town located in the county of Trondelag in the middle of Norway. As early as the age of 8, Gjerstad began working as a shepherd for a local farmer. This was around the time he would have his first (literal) hands-on experience with his paranormal abilities. The son of the local pastor complained to him about a painful toothache, Gjerstad laid one of his hands on the cheek of the boy when a distinct warmth started emanating from his palm. Realizing that his toothache had gone away, the pastor’s son thanked Gjerstad before running off with a smile. An usher position for the local church opened up, Gjerstad hesitated at first, but was eventually persuaded to take the position by the priest who served there. While working at the church, Gjerstad began using his healing powers on some of the churchgoers. Gjerstad performed every treatment completely free of charge. By 1975, large groups of believers were coming from near and far. By way of boats, buses, cars, and horse carts, flocks of people came to witness the church usher with the healing hands. The priest eventually set aside a room where Gjerstad could tend to people in private. Gjerstad died on June 18, 2021.


Sports

Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz (84)was born on July 15, 1936, in Warsaw. She decided to study ship construction at the Gdansk University of Technology. After she graduated, she found employment at the Gdansk Shipyard, where she designed and constructed ships. 1975 was declared the International Women’s Year by the United Nations. This prompted the Polish Sailing Association to come up with a curious way to promote Polish sailing—sending a Polish woman on a solitary voyage around the world. Never before had a woman single-handedly sailed the seven seas. This would be the first trip of its kind. A competition was organized, and Chojnowska-Liskiewicz was chosen for the job. She sailed from the Canary Islands on March 28, 1976, and returned there on April 21, 1978, completing a circumnavigation of 31,166 nautical miles in 401 days. She was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for her achievement, one of the state’s highest decorations, and was chosen Gdansk’s Citizen of the Year 1978. In addition, she received a brand new car—a Fiat 131 Mirafiori. She died on June 13, 2021, in Gdansk, Poland.

Alex Harvill (28) had been riding dirt bikes since he was 4. Harvill had been racing and jumping professionally for nearly a decade. He didn’t make a living at racing and jumping; he worked a day job at a farm in Othello, Washington to pay the bills. However, on a good weekend of competition, he could cover his expenses and bring a little money home. On July 6, 2013, he set a Guinness World Record for the longest dirt-to-dirt motorcycle ramp jump, jumping 297.5 feet at the Horn Rapids Motorsports Complex in West Richland, Washington. Harvill was scheduled to perform a ramp jump at the Moses Lake Airshow on July 17, 2021, in an attempt to break a 351 feet record set by Australian biker Robbie Maddison. This jump would have been equivalent to the length of an American football field from goalpost to goalpost. On a practice jump, Harvill crashed into the top edge of the dirt landing ramp and was thrown from his bike, flying 20 feet and losing his helmet. Medical personnel were standing by due to the dangerous nature of the stunt; an emergency medical technician reached Harvill about 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the crash. Harvill died en route to a hospital on June 17, 2021.

Markis Kido (36) started playing badminton in Jaya Raya Jakarta badminton club. In 2005, with Hendra Setiawan, he won the Asian Badminton Championships and the Indonesia Open. In 2006, the pair also won the Hong Kong Open. In 2007, Kido and Setiawan became World Champions at the World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the same year, they won the China Super Series and the World Cup in Yiyang, Hunan. At the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand, they helped the Indonesian team win the gold medal in the men's team event, and won gold in men's doubles at the individual event. Kido and Setiawan won the Olympic gold medal in men's doubles at the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China. They continued their domination to win the gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games . Kido died on June 14, 2021, due to a heart attack while playing badminton in Tangerang, a city in Indonesia.

Allan Kiil (57) started swimming training in 1968 at Tallinn Kalev Swimming School. He became the Estonian champion in free, butterfly, complex, and information swimming 22 times between 1981 and 1985. Kiil was also the Estonian champion in the water rescue multi-competition and the maritime multi-competition. He was the Sports Director of the Estonian Special Olympics from 1989–91 and the Secretary General of the Estonian Paralympic Committee from 1991–2013. He led the Estonian delegation at the Para Olympic Games in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens. He also was a trainer at the Kalev Swimming School. Kiil was a member of the management board of the Port of Tallinn from 2004 to 2015. On August 28, 2015, Kiil was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes worth millions of Euros. Due to a serious illness, criminal proceedings against Kiil were dropped last autumn. Kiil died on June 15, 2021.

Karen MacLeod Nicolson (63)grew up on Skye, an island of Scotland.After leaving Skye, she began running at the age of 24 in the Bath Half Marathon to raise funds for cancer research from which her father had died. Within a short time, she took part in the world cross country championships in 1985, 1986, and 1987. In 1987, she also won the Scottish National cross country Championship. In 1993, she ran in the World Championships in Athletics. She also represented her native Scotland in the 1994 Commonwealth Games marathon. In 1996, Nicolsonran the marathon at the Summer Olympics representing Great Britain. Following her running days, she became an athletics coach. In 2008, Nicolson revealed that she was suffering from Berger's disease, an acute kidney problem, and had to undergo emergency dialysis, eventually she had to receive a kidney transplant from her sister Deborah. On June 13, 2021, it was reported that she died.

Bobby Unser Jr. (65) son of race car legend Bobby Unser and first wife Barbara, Bobby Unser Jr. was born in 1955. As a youngster, Unser Jr. raced go-karts and then Sprint cars, often times racing with his cousin, Al Unser, Jr. By the early 1980’s Bobby Unser Jr. was competing in Super Vee races. And in 1981 he set a qualifying record at the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, going on to duel with Al Jr. at the Peak in 1983. Bobby Jr. never reached the level of success as his father on the track but went on to pursue other interests, including playing the drums in a rock ‘n roll band and later, breeding and raising Spanish Arabian horses. He maintained his connection with fast cars as a stunt driver in various commercials, movies, and television shows, including the popular Walker, Texas Ranger series. In recent years Bobby Jr. had worked as a stunt driver with other world class race car drivers as part of the “Performance Two, Inc.” high performance driving team. Bobby Unser Jr. died on June 13, 2021,from complications following hip surgery, only 5 weeks after his father passing.


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