Notable deaths: Arnold Pinkney, Burton R. Lifland, Mike Strang

January 14, 2014
Arnold Pinkney
political strategist

Arnold Pinkney, a political strategist and civil rights activist who helped elect Ohio’s first black congressman and managed Jesse Jackson’s unsuccessful 1984 presidential campaign, died Jan. 13 at a hospice in Cleveland. He was 84.

His wife, Betty Pinkney, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Pinkney had a long career in Democratic political campaigns, including the 1968 campaign of Louis Stokes, who became Ohio’s first black member of Congress. He also advised Jackson, then-Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and then-Gov. Richard Celeste.

Mr. Pinkney was co-founder of Pinkney-Perry Insurance Agency, Ohio’s oldest and largest minority-owned insurance company.

Burton R. Lifland
bankruptcy judge

Burton R. Lifland, a federal bankruptcy judge who had presided over the Bernard Madoff bankruptcy case for the past five years, died Jan. 12, it was reported from New York. He was 84.

Clerk of Court Vito Genna announced the death. The cause was bacterial pneumonia, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Judge Lifland was the former chief bankruptcy judge in Manhattan and former chief judge of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. He was appointed in 1980 to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Cases he oversaw included Johns-Manville, Eastern Airlines, Singer, Bethlehem Steel and Bear Stearns Structured Funds.

Judge Lifland was a 1951 graduate of Syracuse University and a 1954 graduate of Fordham University’s law school.

Stephen Harbeck, president of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., called Judge Lifland an “extraordinary jurist” with an encyclopedic knowledge of law. SIPC played a role in the Madoff case.

Mike Strang
one-term congressman

Mike Strang, a Colorado Republican who served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, died Jan. 12 at his home in Missouri Heights, Colo. He was 84.

The Garfield County coroner’s office confirmed Mr. Strang’s death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Strang was elected to Congress in 1984 from the Western Slope, where he served one term. After he was defeated by Democrat Ben Nighthorse Campbell, he returned to horse and cattle ranching and consulting on natural-resource issues.

Mr. Strang, who was born in Bucks County, Pa., spent nearly all his childhood in Colorado. His parents scraped together enough money to buy a ranch in the foothills west of Golden early in the Depression. They operated the Ralston Creek Ranch, which depended heavily on a summer camp where kids from wealthy East Coast families paid to help with chores.

After Army service, Mr. Strang graduated in 1956 from Princeton University and worked as an investment banker in New York before moving back to Colorado.

Mr. Strang served in the Colorado legislature in the early 1970s and raised eyebrows when he introduced a bill to legalize marijuana. It went nowhere, but it didn’t harm his political ambitions. Colorado voters approved legalization last year.

— from news services

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