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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, April 1, 2017

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Agustina del Carmen Castro Ruz, youngest sibling of Fidel and Raul CastroAhmed Kathrada, antiapartheid activistChristine Kaufmann, Austrian actress once married to Tony CurtisDavid Storey, British novelist and playwrightSteve Vaillancourt, New Hampshire state legislatorRoger Wilkins, historian, journalist, and civil rights activist

Art and Literature

David Storey (83) British writer who drew on his experiences as a miner’s son, a farmworker, an art student, a professional rugby player, and a teacher to create novels and plays that won acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. It was as a playwright that Storey was probably best known; his plays have been performed in some 60 countries. Yet it was as a novelist that he first gained notice, with This Sporting Life (1960), which won the Somerset Maugham Fiction Award. A vividly told tale of a maverick miner turned rugby player, the novel was adapted for film in 1963, with a screenplay by Storey, and won Oscar nominations for its lead actors, Richard Harris and Rachel Roberts. Storey died of Parkinson’s disease and dementia in London, England on March 26, 2017.


Roger Wilkins (85) historian, journalist, and activist who held a key civil rights post in President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration and helped the Washington Post to win a Pulitzer Prize for its Watergate coverage. Wilkins' uncle, Roy Wilkins (died 1981), was a longtime executive director of the NAACP. A lifetime later, Roger Wilkins' daughter Elizabeth worked in the presidential campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama. Most recently a history professor at George Mason University, Roger Wilkins died of dementia in Kensington, Maryland on March 26, 2017,

News and Entertainment

Christine Kaufmann (72) Austrian-born actress who became her country's first Golden Globe winner and was married to US actor Tony Curtis (died in 2010) in the ‘60s. Kaufmann made her acting debut in 1952 and won a Golden Globe for her ‘61 Hollywood debut, Town Without Pity, where she played alongside Kirk Douglas as a German girl raped by American soldiers. She met Curtis in 1962 while filming Taras Bulba, and the two married in '63. They had two daughters before divorcing in 1968. While continuing to act, Kaufmann later in life also wrote health and beauty books and established her own line of cosmetics. She died of leukemia in Munich, Germany on March 28, 2017.

Politics and Military

Agustina Del Carmen Castro Ruz (78) youngest sibling of Fidel and Raul Castro, the youngest of seven siblings that included the late Ramon, Angelita, and Fidel. Agustina never served in the Cuban government and kept a low profile, unlike her brothers, who collectively have run the country for nearly 60 years, and Juanita, who is a prominent member of the Cuban-American activist community in south Florida. Fidel Castro died in November 2016 at age 90, a little over 10 years after severe illness forced him from power. Raul, who succeeded his brother as Cuban president, will turn 86 in June. Agustina Castro had been in poor health for more than a year. She died in Havana, Cuba of complications from a recent surgery after a fractured hip, on March 26, 2017.

Ahmed Kathrada (87) most prominent Asian South African in the movement to end apartheid, the system of racial segregation and white domination. Kathrada spent 26 years in prison, many of them alongside his close friend Nelson Mandela, for resisting the apartheid system of white minority rule in South Africa. Kathrada was active in leftist politics since his teenage years and came to prominence in July 1963, when he was arrested with other antiapartheid activists in Rivonia, a northern suburb of Johannesburg where the South African Communist Party and the armed wing of the outlawed African National Congress (ANC) had purchased an isolated farm as a meeting place. That October, Kathrada was indicted on charges of trying to overthrow the government, start a guerrilla war, and open the door to invasion by foreign powers, as was Mandela, who had been in prison since 1962 but faced new charges after the authorities found documents at the Rivonia farm linking him to the ANC’s armed wing. Kathrada had been hospitalized with a blood clot in his brain for the past month and died in Johnnesburg, South Africa on March 28, 2017.

Steve Vaillancourt (65) 10-term New Hampshire state representative known for his colorful floor speeches. A Republican from Manchester, Vaillancourt built a reputation as an outspoken lawmaker unafraid to wade into controversy. In 2012 he was kicked out of the House chamber after shouting the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!” when then-Speaker Bill O'Brien, a fellow Republican, shut down debate on a bill. During House debates Vaillancourt often would deliver floor speeches on the issues of the day, from marijuana legalization to a ban on election ballot selfies. He was a strong proponent of legislation aimed at ending animal cruelty. He had been suffering from health problems and recently had heart-related surgery. Lawmakers asked the police to check on him when he didn't show up for a House Finance Committee budget hearing. The police found him dead at his home in Concord, New Hampshire on March 27, 2017.

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