A roundup of notable obituaries from the week ending July 8.
Abdul Sattar Edhi, 88, who devoted his life to the poor and the destitute, died Friday at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, following a prolonged illness. The legendary Pakistani philanthropist established a welfare foundation almost six decades ago that he oversaw together with his wife, Bilquis Edhi. The foundation owns and runs Pakistan’s largest ambulance service, as well as nursing homes, orphanages, clinics and women’s shelters, along with rehabilitation centers and soup kitchens across the country.
Carl Haas, 86, co-founder of Newman-Haas Racing with late actor Paul Newman, died June 29 at his Lake Forest, Ill., home. His death was announced Thursday. Known for his omnipresent cigar and a savvy business sense, Haas build a long record of success with the legendary Mario Andretti leading an impressive driver roster that included Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais and Christian Fittipaldi.
Irving Gottesman, 85, a pioneer in the field of behavioral genetics whose work on the role of heredity in schizophrenia helped transform the way people thought about the origins of serious mental illness, died June 29 in Edina, Minn. His death was announced Thursday. His wife, Carol, said he died unexpectedly while taking an afternoon nap.
John McMartin, 86, a Tony Award-nominated actor with a Broadway career that spanned decades, died of cancer in New York on Wednesday.The versatile, gentlemanly McMartin was nominated for five Tonys, from “Sweet Charity” in 1966 to the 2002 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”
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William L. Armstrong, 79, a Colorado media executive who became a major conservative voice in the U.S. Senate from 1978 to 1991, died Tuesday after a five-year battle with cancer.
Abner J. Mikva, 90, who was one of the nation’s leading liberal politicians for decades and an influential figure at the top levels of all three branches of the federal government, died of bladder cancer Monday in Chicago. An unusual combination of a highly regarded legal scholar and a skilled street-level politician, Mikva was a mentor to President Obama and to Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
Abbas Kiarostami, 76, often hailed as Iran’s greatest filmmaker, whose searching, parablelike dramas of ordinary people and their problems reflected a poetic vision and a philosophical turn of mind, died Monday in Paris. He had traveled there to receive treatment for cancer after undergoing surgery in Tehran. His 1997 “Taste of Cherry” won the Palme d’Or in Cannes.
Lou Fontinato, 84, who in seven seasons with the New York Rangers and two with the Montreal Canadiens made a reputation with his fists, setting a record for minutes spent in the penalty box, died last Sunday in Guelph, Ontario, his hometown. Fontinato had recently been admitted to a nursing home after exhibiting signs of dementia. The NHL enforcer was better known for a long-running feud with Gordie Howe, the Hall of Fame forward for the Detroit Red Wings who died last month.
Noel Neill, 95, the petite film and television actress who played Lois Lane in 1940s “Superman” movie serials and on TV in the 1950s, died last Sunday in Tucson, Ariz.
Robert Nye, 77, a poet and novelist who found rich material in the legends of ancient England and Wales, and who invented a rollicking afterlife for one of Shakespeare’s most enduring characters in his acclaimed novel “Falstaff,” died July 2 in Cork, Ireland. The cause was cancer.
Roscoe C. Brown Jr., 94, a college educator, a Tuskegee airman in World War II and a go-to voice of reason during New York City’s racial volatility in the 1970s and ’80s, died July 2 in the Bronx.
Michael Cimino, 77, the Oscar-winning director whose film “The Deer Hunter” became one of Hollywood’s triumphs of the 1970s and whose disastrous “Heaven’s Gate” helped bring that era to a close, died July 2 at his Beverly Hills home. The cause was not yet known.
Michel Rocard, 85, a former French prime minister who embodied a pragmatic, market-friendly element in the Socialist Party but whose reformist zeal encountered powerful countercurrents on the left, died July 2 in Paris, after a long illness.
Elie Wiesel, 87, the Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic “Night” became a landmark testament to the Nazis’ crimes and launched Wiesel’s long career as one of the world’s foremost witnesses and humanitarians, has died. His death was announced July 2 by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
The sad-eyed Wiesel, his face an ongoing reminder of one man’s endurance of a shattering past, summed up his mission in 1986 when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize: “Whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”