This week’s passages
Forrest “Bud” Coffey, 86, the legendary Boeing lobbyist whose accomplishments included a one-day passage of a bill protecting the company from a potential takeover by oilman T. Boone Pickens Jr. and who was instrumental in keeping the Mariners and Seahawks from leaving Seattle, died Dec. 19 at Franke Tobey Jones assisted-living facility in Tacoma. For decades, he was called the state’s most influential lobbyist. He worked behind the scenes to develop strong relationships in the Legislature, allowing him to influence tax, transportation, labor, education and environmental policies. He was the face of Boeing, but friends and colleagues say there wasn’t anything that didn’t have his fingerprints on it.
Frederick Fox, 82, one of the principal hat designers to the royal family in the last third of the 20th century, died Dec. 11 in London. He designed more than 350 hats for Queen Elizabeth.
Frederic Back, 89, who won two Oscars for his poignant animated short films, died of cancer Tuesday at home in Montreal. Back was nominated for four Oscars over the course of his career. He was also a prolific artist and illustrator.
Mikhail Kalashnikov, 94, weapons designer, whose eponymous assault rifle changed the face of international conflict, died Monday at a clinic in central Russia. The creator of the legendary AK-47, which became widely known as the Kalashnikov, was hospitalized a month ago with stomach bleeding for which he was operated on.
Lawrence O. Kitchen, 90, a former Marine who never finished college but rose rapidly at Lockheed, the aerospace company, to lead it successfully through turbulent times, died Dec. 15 in Woodland Hills, Calif. Kitchen, who was named president of Lockheed in 1975, helped rebuild the company in the aftermath of a bribery scandal involving payoffs to Japanese officials.
Edgar M. Bronfman, 84, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist who as chairman of Seagram expanded his family’s liquor-based empire and who as president of the World Jewish Congress championed the rights of Jews everywhere, died Dec. 21 at his home in Manhattan. Bronfman inherited control of Seagram from his father, Samuel Bronfman, an irascible, self-made Canadian magnate who founded a distilling company in 1924 and got rich during Prohibition when Bronfman liquor found its way to American customers through bootleggers.
Janet Dailey, 69, a romance writer who featured everyday women in bodice-rippers that provided lusty escape for hundreds of millions of readers and made her one of the best-known authors of her genre, died Dec. 14 at her home in Branson, Mo. Dailey was described over the years as the best-selling female writer in America. Her final book, “Merry Christmas, Cowboy,” came out in September.
Yusef Lateef, 92, Grammy-winning musician and composer and one of the first to incorporate world music into traditional jazz, died Monday in Shutesbury, Mass. Lateef, a tenor saxophonist known for his impressive technique, also became a top flutist. He was a jazz soloist on the oboe and played bassoon. He introduced different types of flutes and other woodwind instruments from many countries into his music and is credited with playing world music before it was officially named.
Rodolfo Hernandez, 82, who received the Medal of Honor for rushing into heavy fire while wounded and armed with only an inoperable rifle and bayonet, then killing six enemy soldiers during the Korean War, died Saturday in Fayetteville, N.C. Hernandez was an Army corporal trying to hold a hill in May 1951 when his platoon was overwhelmed by attackers accompanied by heavy mortar, artillery and machine-gun fire.
Ricky Lawson, 59, a collaborator with musicians including Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Whitney Houston, died Monday in Long Beach, Calif., following a brain aneurysm. Lawson won a Grammy Award in 1986 for the song “And You Know That” by his group, Yellowjackets.
Barbara Branden, 84, who helped popularize Ayn Rand’s philosophy of self-interest in the 1960s but caused a schism among Rand’s followers with an unauthorized biography, “The Passion of Ayn Rand,” she wrote after the theorist’s death, died Dec. 11 of a lung infection in West Hollywood, Calif.