Those We Lost
By Irish America staff
December / January 2011
A cartoonist at The New Yorker for over 30 years, Leo Cullum succumbed to cancer after a five-year battle on October 23 at his home in Malibu. He was 68.
Much of what would become Cullum’s iconic cartooning began in airport terminals. A full-time TWA pilot for 34 years, Cullum would draw during layovers and on days off. Cullum sold his first cartoon to Air Line Pilot magazine. He received rejections from The New Yorker for some time before finally breaking the binding and making the pages in 1977. He would contribute 819 cartoons to the magazine before his death, his last appearing in the October 25 issue.
Cullum, according to his brother, Thomas, who spoke to Roz Chast at The New Yorker, had been funny since he was a little kid. “At the dinner table one night during a summer vacation when Leo was seven and Thomas nine, their father complained that his stomach had got a little sunburned. Leo said, ‘Well, you know, Dad, things that are closest to the sun burn first.’” Fortunately, his father laughed.
Leo attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduation he served in the Marine Corps. He flew in over 200 missions during Vietnam. In addition to his brother Thomas, Cullum is survived by his wife of 31 years, Kathy Cullum, as well as his two daughters, Kaitlin and Kimberly, and son-in-law Marcus Berry.
Born Patricia Reid Chamberlain in Japan, Herzog came to the United States at age ten. She worked at a California factory building Hellcats and torpedo bombers during WWII, and moved to Santa Ana with her first husband, Charles Herzog, in the 1950s. They divorced in 1960.
In the early 1950s, Herzog was working as a newspaper reporter when she signed up for law classes through Chicago’s LaSalle Extension University. She passed the bar in 1957, and by 1960 led her own practice.
In 1978, Herzog took a case that turned out to set a precedent in California marital law. Janet Sullivan was seeking part of the value of her husband’s medical practice in their divorce, on the grounds that she was working as an accountant while her husband attended medical school. California’s lower courts ruled against her, but Herzog filed an appeal in 1982 with the California Supreme Court. In 1985, California’s marital property law was amended to authorize courts to reimburse divorcing individuals for supporting their spouses, in what was known as the Sullivan Law.
Herzog is survived by two children from her first marriage, two stepchildren, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Her husband of 44 years, Haskell Shapiro, died last year.
Daniel Kelly, president of Kelly’s Furniture, died on October 14 at age 82 after a short illness. One of the seven children born to Patrick and Mary Furey Kelly, he was born in Brooklyn but raised in Frosses, Co. Donegal, where he graduated from the Christian Brothers Academy. Kelly served in the U.S. Army during the occupation of Germany after WWII. He spent much of the remainder of his life in Westchester. In 1959, Kelly and his brothers founded Kelly’s Furniture, one of the leading furniture retailers in the Metro NY and Westchester area. Kelly’s decision to place his store in the South Bronx helped revitalize the area and sustain it during rough times. Kelly used his own brand of hire purchase to enable his clients, many of whom were Hispanic, to buy their furniture on a payment plan. He was much respected as businessman and employer. Of his many honors, he was most proud of being named Man of the Year by the Hispanic community.
Kelly received several Papal Knighthoods from Pope John Paul II, including Knight Commander of Malta, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, the Order of Saint Sylvester and the Royal Savoy Orders of Maurice and Lazarus. He was the past president of the Donegal Association of NY and a member of the AOH. He is survived by family members including his brother and business partner Clyde, three nieces and four great-nieces.
Actor James MacArthur, who played Detective Danny “Danno” Williams in the TV series Hawaii Five-O, died October 28 in Florida at age 72. For 11 of the show’s 12 years, from 1968-1980, MacArthur played the sidekick to Jack Lord’s Detective Steve McGarrett, who consistently uttered the show’s catchphrase, “Book ’im, Danno!” when the criminal was caught. He left the show in 1979.
Born in Los Angeles in 1937, MacArthur was adopted at seven months old by playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife, the actress Helen Hayes, with whom MacArthur acted in one episode of Hawaii Five-O. He appeared in the 1955 TV production of John Frankenheimer’s Deal a Blow, then in its big screen 1959 remake The Young Stranger. MacArthur acted in Disney movies Kidnapped and Swiss Family Robinson, as well as TV shows Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Love Boat and The Untouchables. It was his work alongside Clint Eastwood in 1968’s Hang ’Em High that caught Hawaii Five-O creator Leonard Freeman’s eye.
MacArthur is survived by his wife Helen Beth Duntz, four children and seven grandchildren.
Groundbreaking cardiac surgeon Maurice Neligan, pictured below, who pioneered Ireland’s first coronary bypass graft operation in 1974 and its first heart transplant in 1985, died October 15 at the age of 73 at his home in Dublin. Neligan also led the development of open-heart surgery in children, and over the course of his career performed approximately 14,000 to 15,000 open-heart surgeries, many of them on children. He served as consultant cardiac surgeon at Dublin’s Mater Hospital from 1971 until 2009, and at Crumlin Children’s Hospital from 1974 to 2002. He was a founder of the Blackrock Clinic. After his retirement, he remained involved in the medical community.
eligan’s funeral mass was held October 19 at the Church of the Assumption in Dublin. He is survived by his wife Pat, also a doctor, three sons, and three daughters. A fourth daughter, Sara, was murdered in 2007.
Vincent Nolan “The Salmon King,” passed away on October 22, 2010. He was 87.
A much-loved Dublin character, Vincent took over Nolan’s Irish Seafood from his father Harry, a Belfast fish salesman, and turned it into an international brand distributed to over 20 countries. Nolan’s smoked salmon even found its way to the White House where it was served for official functions, a tradition that began in the Kennedy administration and continued under President Johnson.
Apart from his love of fish, Vincent also had a passion for music and golf. He played piano with Hoagy Carmichael, and was a lifelong Frank Sinatra fan. Each year, Sinatra received a batch of Nolan’s salmon on his birthday.
Vincent’s passion for Sinatra was shared by his good friend the former governor of New York Hugh Carey, as was his passion for golf. He also counted Mutual of America’s chairman emeritus Bill Flynn among his golfing buddies and close friends. One golfing story that made the rounds is of the time Vincent played with the actor Sean Connery. Vincent matched the Scotsman shot for shot, but his short game, chipping in particular, let him down.
Vincent hated to lose and Connery decided to rub salt in the wounds. “I hear you’re in the fish business,” he said. “Yes, I am,” replied Vincent. Connery thought for a moment, then turned away to walk towards the clubhouse while saying, “Well I hope your fish is better than your chips!”
Vincent, who was preceded in death by his wife Yvonne, is survived by his sons Harry, Edward, George, Vincent and David, grandchildren and great grandchildren, his close friend Kay, relatives and friends.
Hollywood screenwriter William Norton died Oct 1 at age 85 of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California. He enjoyed a successful career writing feature films starring John Wayne, Burt Lancaster and Angie Dickinson, including 1968’s The Scalphunters and 1975’s Brannigan. Born in Utah, Norton was interested in his Irish ancestry and moved there in 1985, where he became directly involved in religious conflicts in Northern Ireland. He and his wife Eleanor shipped guns purchased in California to France, intending to help Catholics defend their homes, but were arrested in France. Norton was imprisoned for two years, then moved to Nicaragua with his wife to avoid charges in the United States for illegal exportation. Their home in Nicaragua was invaded by robbers, one of whom Norton shot and killed, but no charges were filed.
Norton, a former Communist Party member, moved to Cuba in the early 1990s, then traveled to Mexico, from where his first wife, Betty, and their daughter Sally successfully smuggled him across the border into Los Angeles. He spent his final years in Santa Barbara, painting and continuing to exercise his passion for social activism through writing letters to politicians.
Norton is survived by his son Bill, daughters Sally and Joan, wife Eleanor, their adopted daughter Teresa, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. – K.R.
Charlie O’Donnell, whose off-screen voice was a definitive aspect of American television in shows like Wheel of Fortune, To Tell the Truth and American Bandstand, as well as the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes, died on November 1 at his home in California. He was 78.
O’Donnell was born in Philadelphia in 1932 and began his career on radio as a teenager at WCHA in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He began working in television as the announcer for American Bandstand in 1958. He went on to become a disc jockey and news anchor in Los Angeles, then served as an announcer for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles during 1960’s California performances. However, O’Donnell was best known for voicing the audience warmup, opening announcement, and commentary during Wheel of Fortune from 1988 until October 29, 2010. O’Donnell is survived by his wife Ellen, two sons, two daughters, and two grandchildren. – K.R.
Baseball historian Bill Shannon died early on October 26 in a house fire in West Caldwell, N.J. Neighbors reported that Shannon’s 92-year-old mother, Mildred, was rescued through the front door, but Shannon was unable to break the window on the second floor to escape. He was 69 years old.
A veteran sportswriter for the Associated Press and official scorer for decades of Mets and Yankees games, Shannon began as an official scorer for the American League in 1979. He graduated from Columbia University and served in the Army, then served as head of PR for Madison Square Garden from 1965-1973. An editor of The Official Encyclopedia of Tennis of the United States Tennis Association, Shannon was also the author of The Ballparks, a history of major league baseball stadiums.
Michael Raphael “Ray” Sheeran passed away in the care of his family and friends in Cazadero, CA on November 14 after an eight-month battle with Melanoma. He was 54.
A passionate sportsman, Sheeran won many medals and trophies with his local hurling club, Camross, and his county team Laois. He also played rugby with Portlaoise, and soccer with The Pike of Rushall.
Sheeran was born October 23, 1956 in Coolrain, Mountrath, Co. Laois. He emigrated to San Francisco in February 1982 and married Catherine, his wife of 26 years, in San Francisco in 1984. They had known each other from home in Mountrath.
Sheeran played hurling with the Rangers Hurling Club and was a founding member of Na Fianna Hurling Club, which became one of the most successful clubs in North America. Sheeran played his part in winning their first Senior Championship in 1990. He was also a founding member of San Francisco Irish RFC, which subsequently merged with the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club and developed one of the best underage programs in the USA. SFGG Rugby Club has renamed their Home Club and Grounds as The Ray Sheeran Field.
Sheeran is survived by his wife Catherine, their sons Ryan and Eoin and their daughter Maeve, and by his mother Maura, three brothers and four sisters.