September 2020 Celebrity Death Recap
Posted by: Erin Ward in Notable Deaths | October 6, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice

March 15, 1933 — September 18, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. During her career, Ginsburg was a member of the Supreme Court for 27 years after serving 13 years as a judge at the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Ginsburg was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She attended Cornell University before going on to attend law school at Harvard University. Besides being a new mother, Ginsburg was also one of just nine women in her class of 500 at Harvard. She would eventually transfer to Columbia Law School where she graduated joint first in her class. During this time, Ginsburg became the first woman to be on two major law reviews — the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review.

Ginsburg faced difficulty at the beginning of her career. Despite strong recommendations from faculty at Harvard and Columbia, she was rejected for several clerkship positions; one specifically because of her gender. Eventually, one of her Columbia professors recommended her for a position with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Her professor even threatened to never recommend another Columbia student again if Ginsburg wasn’t given a fair opportunity to succeed. Ginsburg was eventually hired and served the court for two years.

In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). By 1974, the project participated in more than 300 gender discrimination cases. As the director for the project at the ACLU, she argued six cases before the Supreme Court, winning five of them. Ginsburg was strategic with her approach, building off the success of each victory, carefully selecting cases, and aiming at different discriminatory statutes.

In 1980, Ginsburg was nominated by President Carter to serve as a member of the D.C. circuit appeals court. During this time, Ginsburg was known to be a moderate often finding consensus among her colleagues.

In 1993, President Clinton nominated Ginsburg for a vacant position in the Supreme Court. After the confirmation hearings, her appointment made her the second female and first Jewish female justice of the Supreme Court. During her time as a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg was involved with cases ranging from international law disputes to gender discrimination among many others.

Ginsburg had many accomplishments throughout her life. In 2002 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Other notable accomplishments and recognition include being named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women” in 2009 by Forbes, one of the “100 Most Influential People” in 2015 by Time Magazine among many other accomplishments. Ginsburg also received three honorary Doctor of Law degrees by Willamette University, Princeton University, and Harvard University.

Bader was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years in 2010. She is survived by her son, daughter, and four grandchildren.

Forrest Fenn

Author and Antiquities Dealer

August 22, 1930 — September 7, 2020

Forrest Fenn was a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, author, and art dealer. He was best known for his world-famous treasure hunt, often referred to as the Fenn Treasure. During his life, Fenn authored 10 books, served in the Vietnam War, and operated a successful art gallery.

Fenn grew up in Temple, Texas and was the middle child in his family. During his youth, Fenn enjoyed spending his summers at Yellowstone National Park. It was on these family vacations that he began his love for exploring as he explored the mountains and countryside. After completing high school, Fenn entered the Air Force in 1949, eventually becoming a pilot.

During his service, Fenn was stationed stateside, in Europe, and in Asia. He flew in the Vietnam War where he completed 328 combat missions and was shot down twice. His service led to him being awarded a Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, sixteen Air Medals, a Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

After retiring from the Air Force, Fenn began his career in art. This eventually led to him opening Fenn Galleries. After much success with the art gallery, Fenn was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. It was during this time he thought about his legacy and how he would leave his mark on the world. By 2010, he was already in the process of selling his art gallery and looking for his next adventure. It was during this time he came up with the idea for his world-famous Fenn’s Treasure.

Fenn self-published his first book, The Thrill of the Chase, in 2010. The book included his memoirs as well as a special poem that shared the clues to finding his treasure. Fenn’s Treasure was a chest he filled with a collection of jewels, gold, and artifacts he had collected during his life. The treasure was hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains with just 9 clues to find it from the poem in his book.

The treasure hunt brought explorers and treasure hunters from around the world to look for it. With an estimated value of $2,000,000 Fenn’s treasure was finally located in 2020 just months before his passing. To date, the location where the chest was found still is not known publicly.

Lou Brock

Professional Baseball Player

June 18, 1939 — September 6, 2020

Lou Brock was a professional baseball player who spent 19 years in Major League Baseball. Brock was best known for his base-stealing abilities and speed. During his career he broke Ty Cobb’s career base-stealing record as well as the league’s single season record for stolen bases. Besides just his base stealing accomplishments, Brock was also a six-time all-star and finalist for the MVP award in 1974.

Brock grew up in Collinston, Louisiana. As a boy, he was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. Brock did not play organized baseball until the 11th grade. Despite this, he learned much of his baseball knowledge from listening to games on the radio. After fearing he’d lose his academic assistance due to a low grade at Southern University in his first year, Brock decided to try out for the school’s baseball team to earn an athletic scholarship.

Brock struggled during his first year with the team but quickly progressed. In his sophomore year, he batted .500 and eventually won a national championship in his junior year. In 1959, he was selected to represent the United States at the Pan American Games.

After initially trying out for the St. Louis Cardinals, Brock was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 1960. He made his major league debut in the fall of 1961 at just 22 years old. While he had great speed and baserunning skills, the Cubs eventually gave up on his development and included him in a trade to the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1964 season. Despite the Cubs losing interest in him, the Cardinals specifically sought Brock to be included in the trade at the request of the team’s manager, Johnny Keane.

Once in St. Louis, Brock’s career was transformed. He finished the season batting .364 and helped the Cardinals come back to win the National League Pennant and eventually the World Series that year.

Over the next 15 years, he would win the World Series again in 1967 among many other accomplishments. His career accolades include being a six-time all-star, eight-time stolen base leader in a season, Roberto Clemente Award recipient, and hall of famer. He achieved 900 RBIs, 958 stolen bases, and 3,023 hits. In 1985, he was elected to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. He also had his number officially retired by the Cardinals and was elected to the team’s Hall of Fame as well.

Mike Sexton

Professional Poker Player and Commentator

September 22, 1947 — September 6, 2020

Mike Sexton was a professional poker player and commentator for the World Poker Tour. During his career, Sexton won money at 59 professional events including 23 final tables and one World Series of Poker Bracelet.

Sexton was born in Shelbyville, Indiana and attended Ohio State University as a gymnast. While at Ohio State, Sexton earned a degree in public recreation and often joked that he actually majored in poker due to how much he played. After university, Sexton join the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in 1970.

After completing his military service, Sexton worked as a salesman before realizing he could earn more money playing poker. In 1985, he moved to Nevada to pursue poker full-time. He would win his first and only World Series of Poker bracelet in 1989. During his career, Sexton won over $5,800,000 in tournament winnings. In 2009, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Many fans and professional players often referred to Sexton as “the ambassador of poker.”

In 2002, Sexton cofounded and launched the gambling platform Party Poker. The website grew to be one of the most popular gambling websites in the United States. Sexton would eventually sell his shares in the company a year and a half before it went public for $9 billion.

Besides just playing poker professionally, Sexton was also popular in the media. He wrote for the publications Card Player Magazine and the Gambling Times. Sexton also regularly appeared as a commentator at televised events for the World Poker Tour.

Outside of poker, Sexton was quite charitable during his life. In 2006, he donated half of his post-tax winnings at an event to five charities and pledged to do the same with all future winnings. He also went on to cofound the non-profit organization which helps create a way for poker players to donate their winnings to charities.

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