Memorials · Parkinson's Resource Organization

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Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews

September 17, 1951 - April 28, 2021

Retired CIA officer and New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed "Red Sparrow Trilogy" Jason Matthews died on April 28, 2021, in Rancho Mirage after a long, courageous battle with a rare neurodegenerative disease. He is survived by his wife Suzanne, daughters Alexandra Matthews (Steve Souryal) and Sophie Baumann (Tim Baumann), and brother William Matthews (Sharon). He was 69.

Mr. Matthews was born in Hartford, CT to Charles and Aglaia Matthews. He attended Mount Hermon prep school (now Northfield Mount Hermon). After graduating from Washington and Lee University, he pursued a Master's in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Fluent in Greek, Spanish, and French, he applied to the Central Intelligence Agency after grad school. As a CIA case officer, he served in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. In 1981 while on an overseas assignment, he met his future wife Suzanne who was also a career CIA officer.

Upon his retirement from the CIA in 2010, Matthews embarked on the writing of thrillers that drew on his long years of experience. Although he coyly joked that this effort was mere "therapy" for an ex-Agency officer, he threw himself into the effort, studying the work of other spies-turned-writers, conducting research, and dedicating long hours to his new career. He was meticulously attentive to details, whether it be how CIA operatives surveilled targets or the proper ingredients of a classic Russian borscht soup. Matthews delighted in deploying the spy-craft he used in the CIA to illuminate his books. His first book, Red Sparrow, won the Edgar Award for a best first novel and garnered high praise. "Relentless drama is just one of the high points of this sublime and sophisticated debut," said the Washington Post. Echoed the New York Times Book review, "A primer on 21st-century spying. Matthews former foes in Moscow will be choking on their blinis when they read how much has been revealed about their tradecraft… terrifically good." Red Sparrow was later adapted into the 2018 Twentieth Century Fox film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton.

Mr. Matthews work and his life were animated by wry humor, ferocious patriotism and devotion to his family and the CIA. A life well-lived, he is fondly and forever remembered by his family, friends, professional colleagues, and the many admirers of his distinctive novels. A celebration of life will be held later this summer.

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James Harold Sheehy

James Harold Sheehy

June 1, 1945 - April 23, 2021

James Harold Sheehy was born June 1, 1945, and passed away peacefully on April 23, 2021. He had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease Dementia.

Jim was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York to Harold Duke Sheehy and Eloise Ashby Sheehy, and grew up there with his sister Elinor, who passed away last year. During his childhood Jim spent his time playing stickball with his "gang", experimenting with soon-to-be-considered unsafe chemistry sets, and taking part in the general sort of troublemaking to be expected from an NYC kid in the 1950s. A sign of his business endeavors to come, at age 10 he often went to Manhattan to buy handfuls of prisms that he resold in the neighborhood for a healthy profit. In his teens, Jim's father was shocked to discover he had $2,000 in his bank account.

Jim was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War but received a medical discharge due to his asthma. One of his first jobs in New York was with the American Broadcasting Co. He could recall seeing the Beatles first arrive to the US amid screaming crowds.

In the late 1960s, Jim moved to Northern Virginia with his first wife, Camille, where they raised their two daughters, Laura and Lisa. He started work in Virginia as a Customer Service Rep with American Airlines, which sparked his love for the travel business. After a series of other jobs, he returned to travel as a Sales Rep at the Air Transport Association before co-founding and heading sales for National Air Charters.

In 1982 he started at United Airlines, where he coordinated the Washington Redskins' away from football travel program, traveling on the team jet and attending games during the height of their franchise success with Joe Theismann as QB. Jim loved being on the field for their Super Bowl years and made lasting connections with members of the team and the organization.

It was during this time that he met his second wife, Kim Shanks, on a "fam" trip to Asia. They spent their first two weeks getting to know each other amid the romantic settings of Bali, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Within two months they were engaged and on September 20, 1986, they married in Pasadena, CA.

In 1991, their son, Ryan, was born in Virginia, and a year later they moved to Southern California where Jim purchased a travel agency in Pasadena. In 1999 he partnered with Protravel International, headquartered in NYC, and expanded the business to Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Palm Desert, where he, Kim, and Ryan relocated in 2001. He was a longstanding member of Virtuoso, a luxury travel consortium, and hand-picked as one of the 45 accredited agents authorized to sell trips to space with Virgin Galactic. While he sold the business in 2012, he kept the relationships and memories he forged traveling across the globe with his family and friends dear to him.

Jim served as an elder in the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church, heading Personnel and helping the Church develop the Academy school. He enjoyed coaching his son in baseball and soccer, and actively assisted local Boy Scout Troop 131 where he was a merit badge counselor for some of his favorite hobbies like Astronomy and Fishing. If the Scouts had badges in good wine and food, he would have gladly helped with those as well.

Jim cared deeply for his family and is loved and will be missed by those close to him. Jim is survived by his wife of nearly 35 years, Kim, their son, Ryan, his daughters, Laura (Tim) Delaney and Lisa (Jimmy) Roach, and grandchildren, Anna, Connor, Cameron, and Alex.

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David Maurice Mercier

David Maurice Mercier

July 20, 1939 - April 12, 2021

David Maurice Mercier, age 81, passed away peacefully in his sleep after complications while battling Parkinson's. David is survived by his loving and devoted wife Tina, and his beloved children Justin, Suzanne, Jacqueline, and Caroline, grandchildren Madeleine and Alexander, siblings Gloria (Stewart) Cooper, Jim (Carol) Mercier and Fran (Adam) Rozyskie, and cousins, nieces, and nephews.

David ("Dave") was born in Vancouver on July 20, 1939. After a brief foray into the RCAF (which ended after the Avro Arrow jet program was canceled in 1959), Dave set his sights on the high-flying world of accounting. David articled with Griffiths and Griffiths, qualified as a chartered accountant and became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC. He was a renaissance man when it came to business, with interests in oil and gas, real estate, and various other entrepreneurial endeavors that took him all over the world.

Dave's lengthy political career began in Burnaby in 1968. Dave served as the Mayor of Burnaby from 1979-1981, as a member of the BC Legislative Assembly from 1986-1991, in addition to various other leadership roles. In addition to his public service, Dave supported a number of charitable organizations and was a founding donor of Minerva BC in tribute to his mother Kathleen.

A natural athlete, David enjoyed rugby, running, golf, and skiing well into his twilight years. Some of his happiest memories were from his many rugby tours, family vacations, and time spent at the cabin in Point Roberts.

True to form, Dave put up a good fight until the end. He will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered. Special thanks to the incredible nurses and doctors at VGH. Given this time of Covid restrictions, no funeral will be held. A celebration of Dave's life will be held at a later date.

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James Hampton

James Hampton

July 9, 1936 - April 7, 2021

James Hampton was an actor known for roles including the incompetent bugler Hannibal Dobbs on TV’s “F Troop.”  He died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas of complications of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 84. In addition to the bumbling bugler Hannibal Dobbs on F Troop, the prison inmate Caretaker in the original The Longest Yard he also played Michael J. Fox's furry father in Teen Wolf.

Hampton had just a handful of TV appearances before starring on “F Troop,” guest-starring on shows including “Gunsmoke,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” and “Rawhide.” It was “F Troop” that kickstarted his career as he played Private Dobbs, the bugler for a troop of Wild West soldiers – who couldn’t play his bugle very well at all. He went on to star as ranch hand Leroy B. Simpson on “The Doris Day Show.”

Hampton’s movie career began in the 1970s, and he starred as Caretaker in “The Longest Yard” (1974) alongside his friend, Burt Reynolds (1936–2018). In 1985, he starred as the father of Michael J. Fox’s character in “Teen Wolf,” a role he reprised in its sequel, “Teen Wolf Too” (1987) and in a voice role on the 1986 animated “Teen Wolf” TV series. Other notable films for Hampton include “Pump Up the Volume” (1990) and “Sling Blade” (1996).

Hampton continued appearing widely on TV throughout the 1980s and ‘90s in shows like “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Full House,” and “Melrose Place.” In 1989, he began a recurring role as the villainous Rev. Saul Taylor in “Days of Our Lives.” Hampton also directed TV episodes for shows including “Evening Shade,” “Grace Under Fire,” and “Sister, Sister.”

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Hans Kueng

Hans Kueng

March 19, 1928 - April 6, 2021

BERLIN, April 6, 2021 (Reuters) - Swiss theologian Hans Kueng, a rebel Roman Catholic who questioned the doctrine of papal infallibility, has died aged 93, the Foundation for a Global Ethic that he founded said on Tuesday.

Kueng, who had Parkinson's disease, was born in Sursee, Canton of Lucerne, and studied in Rome before being ordained in 1954 and appointed professor of theology at the University of Tuebingen, in southwestern Germany, in 1960.

Kueng championed reform of the Catholic Church since its 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, where he was a young adviser arguing for a decentralized church, married priests, and artificial birth control. The Council did not adopt those ideas.

Kueng was stripped by the Vatican of his license to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he questioned the doctrine of papal infallibility and ignored Vatican pressure to recant.

The University of Tuebingen responded by making him a professor of ecumenical theology, securing him a post from which he wrote dozens of books, some of them best-sellers, and many articles.

In the early 1990s, Kueng initiated his "Global Ethic" project, aimed at describing what the world's religions have in common and establishing a set of common values.

In 2010, Kueng urged Roman Catholic bishops to defy Pope Benedict and push through reforms from below to restore the credibility of their church shaken by child sexual abuse scandals.

In his memoirs, he cited the late Pope John Paul's public struggle with Parkinson's and the silent suffering of boxer Muhammad Ali, also afflicted with the disease, as models, he did not want to follow.

"How much longer will my life be liveable in dignity?" he asked. "No person is obligated to suffer the unbearable as something sent from God."

His foundation said he died peacefully at his house in Tuebingen.

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In Memoriam
Frances Wendel
In Memoriam

Frances Wendel

December 3, 1925 - April 4, 2021

Frances (Feiga) Reichapel Wendel, a native of Lodz, Poland, and a Holocaust survivor, died peacefully on April 4, 2021, at her home in Los Angeles, after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. Frances was the youngest of four children. Of the immediate family, only Frances and her brother Jacob survived the Nazi onslaught. In 1947, she married a childhood acquaintance, Leon Wendel. Three years later, they arrived in Los Angeles with their infant son, Isadore. For many years the family-owned and operated an egg farm in the San Gabriel Valley.

In 1960, they moved to the Beverly-Fairfax section of Los Angeles, where Leon owned small businesses for many years. Frances stayed home to raise her children, Isadore and Evelyn. Later, Frances went back to work with Leo at the Grand Central Market, where their Peerless Delicatessen was a fixture in the 70s and 80s. She was tireless, focused, fiercely protective of her family, and proud of her immaculate home.

On holidays, she would cook and bake for the extended family, including her late brother and sister-in-law, Jacob and Esther Reich, and their children. Her high standards set an example for everyone who knew her, and she had many friends among other "Lodzers."Small and trim, Frances was blessed with iron health until Parkinson's struck her in 2015. She did her best to cope, even after Leon's death from cancer in 2017. Although Parkinson's took away her ability to move, and eventually even to speak, Frances remained indomitable for nearly six years. Until two weeks before her death, she enjoyed being wheeled around the block where she lived for so many years. She is mourned by her son, Isadore, and daughter-in-law Sylvia (Weiser), her daughter Evelyn Wendel, her grandchildren Nathan Wendel and Miles and Maude Tipton, her nieces Roselyn, Evelyn, and Lillian, and their children, her neighbors, and caretakers. She is now reunited for eternity with Leon, her family, and her dear friends. Her given name, Feiga, means "bird," and she was an eagle. She soared high and is soaring still.
 

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Leo Levine

Leo Levine

August 1, 1931 - April 3, 2021

Leo Levine, former Mercedes public relations chief in N.A., dies at 90

Levine prolifically wined and dined the trade press, but he also took what he considered any disrespect for the brand personally.


Leo Levine, the former head of public relations for Mercedes-Benz of North America who epitomized and zealously defended the brand in the U.S. for decades, died Saturday at age 90. His death followed a struggle with Parkinson’s disease, said his stepdaughter, Nancy Fournier. Long before he became a spokesman for the brand, he had pushed its cars to their limits.

Levine got a taste for race car driving in Europe, where he served in the Army during the Korean War era. After his discharge, he raced for Porsche in Europe and South America in the iconic 356 Speedster.

He also drove and wrote about driving Mercedes-Benzes, including the 1954 W196 grand prix Formula One race car that had been driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and the legendary gull-winged 300 SLRs.

He was a journalist and a book author, an automotive historian with an encyclopedic memory. He wrote Ford: The Dust and the Glory, A Racing History, Volume 1 (1901-1967), which was published in 1968. Decades later came to the second volume, covering 1968 to 2000.

While Mercedes-Benz certainly is considered a luxury brand in Europe, it’s also a common brand for delivery trucks, taxicabs and stripped-down passenger vehicles without the luxury features of U.S. models. Mercedes-Benz North America cultivated an image as the creme de la creme, and Levine was responsible for much of that.

Levine prolifically wined and dined the trade press, but he also took what he considered any disrespect for the brand personally. (And if he didn’t take it personally, he certainly acted as if he did.) That could include displays of temper. He might ban a reporter from Mercedes-Benz press events for a while for getting a title wrong, such as vice president instead of executive vice president. Years after he retired, he quietly seethed when a journalist showed up to the Mercedes-Benz holiday luncheon at The Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan “without the common decency to put on a necktie.” But he was just as tough, maybe tougher, on his own team. “His mantra was, ‘Never lie,’ ” automotive PR veteran Mike Geylin recalled in a phone interview.

Levine also constantly, and only a little more politely, reminded Mercedes-Benz executives to keep their mouths shut when they didn’t know, or knew and couldn’t share, the answer to a journalist’s question.

'No is an OK answer,’ words to that effect,” said Geylin, president of Kermish-Geylin Public Relations. He worked for Levine from 1978 to 1983.

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Alexia Anneke Lanning

Alexia Anneke Lanning

February 12, 1931 - April 1, 2021

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, Alexia Anneke Tinkham Lanning (Lexi) passed away peacefully at home in Indio California, surrounded by family at the age of 90. She was born February 12, 1931, in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Gordon Proctor Tinkham and Florence Harriet Pribel. She is preceded in death by three of her children, Mary June Carter, Matthew Lanning, and Sevie Lanning, her ex-husbands, Edward Lanning Sr, and Eugene Jacklitch, and her great-grandson, Hunter Patterson.

Lexi is survived by her partner/spouse, Bernard Levesque, and her children Debbie Patterson, Thomas Lanning (Lily), Edward Lanning, Larry Lanning (Teresa), Brian Lanning (Maria), Becky Chrastek (Pat), and Steven Jacklitch (Susan), her stepdaughters, Marie Pearce (Rodney), Margaret Schnare (Barry), and Elizabeth Levesque. She is also survived by 35 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren.

She and her partner, Bernie Levesque, met at a bridge tournament in Las Vegas on April 1, 1997. Lexi earned the high achievement of Black Diamond in the ACBL. She and Bernie taught bridge on over 50 cruises around the world. When she was not traveling and teaching bridge, she was playing at bridge clubs in the Coachella Valley or playing poker at the casinos, Lexi's favorite pastime was playing cards and scrabble at the kitchen table with her family. She also enjoyed the daily crossword puzzles in the local paper.

Lexi was a realtor and broker in Minnesota, Florida, and California. She opened her own real estate company in Melbourne, Florida. In her 40 plus years of real estate, she broke multiple sales records and was the first million-dollar seller for Edina Realty in Minnesota. She was also a published poet and won an award for a poem entitled "My Children".

At Lexi's request, a Celebration of Life will be held in Rancho Mirage at her son Larry's home. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Parkinson's Resource Organization, 74478 Hwy 111, Palm Desert, Ca 92260.
 

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G. Gordon Liddy

G. Gordon Liddy

November 30, 1930 - March 30, 2021

G. Gordon Liddy, a cloak-and-dagger lawyer who masterminded dirty tricks for the White House and concocted the bungled burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died on Tuesday in Mount Vernon, VA. He was 90.

His death, at the home of his daughter Alexandra Liddy Bourne, was confirmed by his son Thomas P. Liddy, who said that his father had Parkinson’s disease and had been in declining health.

Decades after Watergate entered the lexicon, Mr. Liddy was still an enigma in the cast of characters who fell from grace with the 37th president — to some a patriot who went silently to prison refusing to betray his comrades, to others a zealot who cashed in on bogus celebrity to become an author and syndicated talk show host.

As a leader of a White House “plumbers” unit set up to plug information leaks, and then as a strategist for the president’s re-election campaign, Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.

 

But Mr. Liddy, a former F.B.I. agent, and E. Howard Hunt, a former C.I.A. agent, engineered two break-ins at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington. On May 28, 1972, as Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt stood by, six Cuban expatriates and James W. McCord Jr., a Nixon campaign security official, went in, planted bugs, photographed documents, and got away cleanly.


A few weeks later, on June 17, four Cubans and Mr. McCord, wearing surgical gloves and carrying walkie-talkies, returned to the scene and were caught by the police. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, running the operation from a Watergate hotel room, fled but were soon arrested and indicted on charges of burglary, wiretapping, and conspiracy.

In the context of 1972, with Mr. Nixon’s triumphal visit to China and a steam-rolling presidential campaign that soon crushed the Democrat, Senator George S. McGovern, the Watergate case looked inconsequential at first. Mr. Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, dismissed it as a “third-rate burglary.”

But it deepened a White House cover-up that had begun in 1971, when Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt broke into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, looking for damaging information on him. Over the next two years, the cover-up unraveled under the pressure of investigations, trials, hearings, and headlines into the worst political scandal — and the first resignation by a sitting president — in the nation’s history.

 

Unlike the other Watergate defendants, Mr. Liddy refused to testify about his activities for the White House or the Committee to Re-elect the President and drew the longest term among those who went to prison. He was sentenced by Judge John J. Sirica to 6 to 20 years but served only 52 months. President Jimmy Carter commuted his term in 1977.

“I have lived as I believed I ought to have lived,” Mr. Liddy, a small dapper man with a baldish pate and a brushy mustache, told reporters after his release. He said he had no regrets and would do it again. “When the prince approaches his lieutenant, the proper response of the lieutenant to the prince is, ‘Fiat voluntas tua,’” he said, using the Latin of the Lord’s Prayer for “Thy will be done.”

Disbarred from law practice and in debt for $300,000, mostly for legal fees, Mr. Liddy began a new career as a writer. His first book, “Out of Control,” (1979) was a spy thriller. He later wrote another novel, “The Monkey Handlers” (1990), and a nonfiction book, “When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country” (2002). He also co-wrote a guide to fighting terrorism, “Fight Back! Tackling Terrorism, Liddy Style” (2006), and produced many articles on politics, taxes, health, and other matters.

In 1980, he broke his silence on Watergate with his autobiography, “Will.” The reviews were mixed, but it became a best seller. After years of revelations by other Watergate conspirators, there was little new in it about the scandal, but critics said his account of prison life was graphic. A television movie based on the book was aired in 1982 by NBC.

Mr. Liddy found himself in demand on the college lecture circuit. In 1982 he teamed with Timothy Leary, the 1960s LSD guru, for campus debates that were edited into a documentary film, “Return Engagement.” The title referred to an encounter in 1966, when Mr. Liddy, as a prosecutor in Dutchess County, N.Y., joined a raid on a drug cult in which Mr. Leary was arrested.

In the 1980s, Mr. Liddy dabbled in acting, appearing on “Miami Vice” and in other television and film roles. But he was better known later as a syndicated talk-radio host with a right-wing agenda. “The G. Gordon Liddy Show,” begun in 1992, was carried on hundreds of stations by Viacom and later Radio America, with satellite hookups and internet streaming. It ran until his retirement in 2012. He lived in Fort Washington, Md.

Mr. Liddy, who promoted nutritional supplements and exercised, was still trim in his 70s. He made parachute jumps, took motorcycle trips, collected guns, played the piano, and sang lieder. His website showed him craggy-faced with head held high, an American flag, and the Capitol dome in the background.

Mr. Nixon, furious over the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, had directed Mr. Ehrlichman to set up the “plumbers” to plug leaks and punish opponents. Among other operations, Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, who were in charge of the unit, broke into the Beverly Hills office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding, for material to discredit the military analyst. They found none.

When the group was disbanded in 1971, Mr. Liddy went to work for the Nixon campaign. His title was general counsel, but his role was to plot more dirty tricks under a code name, “Gemstone.” They included kidnapping radicals who might disrupt the Republican convention, sabotaging the air-conditioning at the Democratic convention in Miami, hiring prostitutes to entrap Democrats with hidden cameras, and killing the syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, whom Mr. Liddy viewed as a national security risk.

But only the Watergate burglaries were carried out. It was a piece of tape over the lock on a garage-level door that tripped up the burglars. A security guard called the police, and a crackling walkie-talkie in Mr. Liddy’s hotel room told the tale:

“It looks like … guns!” one burglar whispered. “They’ve got guns. It’s trouble.”

The team’s lookout, in a motel across the street, broke in: “Now I can see our people. They’ve got their hands up. Must be the cops. More cops now. Uniforms …”

“They got us!”

It was all over. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt went home. It was 3 a.m. when Mr. Liddy got in, and his wife awoke. “Anything wrong?” she asked.

“There was trouble,” he said. “Some people got caught. I’ll probably be going to jail.”

George Gordon Battle Liddy was born on Nov. 30, 1930, in Brooklyn to Sylvester J. and Maria (Abbaticchio) Liddy. He grew up in Hoboken, N.J., a fearful boy with respiratory problems who learned to steel himself with tests of willpower. He lifted weights, ran, and, as he recalled, held his hand over a flame as an act of self-discipline. He said he once ate a rat to overcome a repulsion and decapitated chickens for a neighbor until he could kill like a soldier, “efficiently and without emotion or thought.”

Like his father, a lawyer, Gordon attended all-male St. Benedict’s Prep School in Newark and Fordham University in the Bronx. After graduating from Fordham in 1952, he took an Army commission with hopes of fighting in Korea but was assigned to an antiaircraft radar unit in Brooklyn. In 1954, he returned to Fordham and earned a law degree three years later.

In 1957, he married Frances Ann Purcell. The couple had five children. Along with his son Thomas and daughter Alexandra, he is survived by another daughter, Grace Liddy; two other sons, James Liddy and Raymond J. Liddy; a sister, Margaret McDermott; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Mr. Liddy’s wife died in 2010.

From 1957 to 1962, Mr. Liddy was an F.B.I. field agent in Indianapolis, Gary, Ind., and Denver, and a supervisor of crime records in Washington. He then worked in patent law for his father’s firm in New York for four years. He joined the Dutchess County district attorney’s office as an assistant prosecutor in 1966.

In 1968, he began a dizzying, three-year rise from obscurity in Poughkeepsie to the White House. Challenging Hamilton Fish Jr. in a primary for the Republican nomination for Congress in what was then New York’s 28th District, he fell short, but his consolation prize was to take charge of the Nixon campaign in the mid-Hudson Valley, which the president won handily.

His reward was a job at the Treasury Department in Washington as a special assistant for narcotics and gun control. He helped develop the sky marshal program to counteract hijackers. Impressed, Egil Krogh, a deputy assistant to the president, recommended him in 1971 to John N. Mitchell, the attorney general, who recommended him to John D. Ehrlichman, the president’s domestic policy adviser.

 

By Robert D. McFadden for the New York Times

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Walker Lee Breland

Walker Lee Breland

November 30, 1935 - March 28, 2021

Dr. Walker Lee Breland, 85, husband of June Starr Price Breland, passed away on Palm Sunday, March 28, after a courageous 14 year battle with Parkinson's disease.


Walker, a native of Walterboro, SC, began playing music by ear in his elementary school years. Learning to read music came next, where he traveled to Charleston to take piano and organ lessons from Vernon Weston. A graduate of Walterboro High School, he served as drum major and accompanied various choral groups. Walker received a full scholarship to Furman University, where he served as the accompanist for the Furman Singers. After graduating from Furman, he married his high school sweetheart, June Price Breland, and served in the U.S. Army.


Walker pursued his Ph.D. in sacred music from Indiana University. While in graduate school, he served as organist of North Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana. Walker served as a professor of music at Columbia College, Columbia, SC from 1965-1972. Each summer, he led educational tours for his students all throughout Europe. While living in Columbia, Walker served as the organist of Cayce UMC and Trenholm Road UMC.


In 1972, Walker moved to Tennessee to work as a professor of music at the University of TN at Chattanooga. He led the Madrigal Singers and taught one of his favorites, a Survey of Jazz, as well as organ instruction. Walker chaired various committees including the Academic Affairs and Athletic Committees. He retired from UTC in 2004 after serving 32 years. Walker was a popular professor amongst the student body---it would not be unusual for former students to greet him while out and about in Chattanooga with his family, and remark that "they love jazz or classical music" because of his course at UTC.


While in Chattanooga, Walker served as the organist for First Centenary UMC, for 25 years. Upon retirement, he was named Organist Emeritus. Walker was encouraged to record a CD of his most requested organ pieces. One, in particular, the Fifth Organ Symphony in F, Op 42 #1, by Charles-Marie Widor, was always played on Easter services annually. This same recording was featured in his youngest granddaughter's wedding recessional when he was not able to play due to his Parkinson's disease. He was a gifted musician, who not only played the notes proficiently but allowed the Holy Spirit to infill his work, which he played to the glory of God. One of the honors of his life was to serve as the President of the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, in its early years of inception. Walker was proud of the offerings of all genres of music to the wider Chattanooga community and the many lasting friendships he made along the way.


Walker and June were fortunate to travel the world together before his Parkinson's diagnosis and loved spending time with their four grandchildren.


He is survived by his wife of 61 years, June of Charleston SC; daughters: Beth Breland Snyder (Greg) of Johns Island, SC and Melanie Breland Hembree (Wade) of Milton, Ga; four grandchildren: Rachel Snyder Miller (Luke) of Knoxville, TN, Sarah Snyder Brown (Cary) of Myrtle Beach, SC, and Walker and Will Hembree of Milton, GA; one great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Frances Miller; and his sister, Irene Stokes (Don) of Dunwoody, GA. Additionally, Walker is survived by his extended family, sister-in-law, Judy Rembert Price of Simpsonville, SC; nieces and nephew, Paige Price McCluskey (Chris) of Anderson, SC, Rachael Price Garcia (Charles) of Simpsonville, SC and Becky and Jimmy Halford, of Atlanta, GA.


Walker was predeceased by his parents, Julius Earl Breland and Reba Walker Breland, of Walterboro, SC.

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Parkinson's Resource Organization
74090 El Paseo #104
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

General Information
info@parkinsonsresource.org

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017