Miscellaneous Animal People Obituaries

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Jim Lewallen, 43, president of Florida Voices for Animals since 1990, reportedly died by suicide on January 8 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The father of two vegetarian daughters, recalled longtime friend Marilyn Weaver, Lewallen "began his involvement with animal rights after seeing a World Day for Animals in Laboratories demonstration at the University of South Florida in 1988. His forte was advertising, through billboards, movie theatre ads, airplane banners, and TV spots. Despite his preference to avoid public speaking, he was the FVA media spokesperson and hosted the local animal rights TV show. He was the animal rights attendee at the USF laboratory medical ethics committee meetings, frequently eliciting a conscience in the researchers. He also fed and sterilized several feral cat colonies in the Tampa Bay area, and had just finished a book about animal rights."    (2002)

Thomas Sebeok, 81, died of leukemia on December 21 at his home in Bloomington, Indiana. A longtime Indiana University professor of semiotics, the study of signs and symbols, Sebeok wrote Speaking of Apes (1979), "debunking" the reported success of experiments with teaching great apes such as the chimpanzees Nim Chimsky and Washoe and the gorilla Koko to use sign language. Speaking of Apes appeared just as the biomedical research community was becoming nervous about the growth of the animal rights movement. His work was instrumental in terminating federal funding for language research involving apes, which tended to raise public awareess of their sentience and ability to suffer. Although Nim Chimpsky was saved by the intervention of the Fund for Animals, Washoe was saved when researcher Roger Fouts formed Friends of Washoe, and Koko was saved when researcher Francine Patterson formed the Gorilla Foundation, other "talking" primates disappeared into the NIH Regional Primate Research Center inventories, and are believed to have perished in experiments.    (2001)

Robert Guglielmo, 54, and Stephen Wilcox, 49, died on January 26 after falling through the ice of Tillson Lake, near Gardiner, New York, while attempting to rescue their two golden retrievers, who survived. The men were housemates.   (2002)

Ron Milstein, 54, of Queens, a longtime vegetarian animal rights activist known for his calligraphic greeting cards bearing pro-animal quotations from Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Leonardo da Vinci, and others, was killed on September 11 at his job as a temporary worker for Fiduciary Trust at 2 World Trade Center.    (2002)

Matthew Williams, 12, died of smoke inhalation on January 13 in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a futile attempt to save his crated basset hound Addy from a housefire.    (2002)

Phil Caidin, 77, died of cancer on February 17 in New York City. An air gunner in World War II, Caidin worked in sales for many years at Gimbels, but discovered his true calling as "The Birdman of Central Park," as the National Enquirer called him, when in 1957 his first bird, a white albino parakeet, flew out an open window into Riverside Park. During the next 40 years Caidin rescued more than 100 parakeets, "dozens" of lovebirds, and seven parrots who were at large in New York City parks, along with a Peking duck and countless dogs and cats. The duck made headlines in 1983, as Caidin waded into freezing ponds in midwinter day after day to feed and befriend him. A 23-day pursuit of a 20-inch-tall conure and a yellow-headed Amazon parrot made The New York Times in 1994. "I always got the bird," Caidin laughed when asked about the rescue by ANIMAL PEOPLE [newspaper]. "Of course," he added, "some people say that's easy to do in New York City, especially if you're jaywalking." One day in 1976, Caidin remembered, he was bird-rescuing in Central Park and, "I heard some guy shouting over at the American Museum of Natural History. So I walked over to hear what he was shouting about, and that turned out to be Henry Spira." Caidin learned that Spira was shouting about cruel experiments on cats going on inside, and started shouting too. Caidin remembered the experiments being stopped in 1977 as one of the happiest days of his life. That was the first time that public protest ever stopped an animal experiment, and was the beginning of the modern animal rights movement.   (2002)

Andrea Konci, 53, died from a stroke on January 19 at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. A top insurance sales agent in her professional life, she took a forced early retirement after suffering the first of a series of brain seizures, and devoted the remainder of her life to feral cat rescue and primate advocacy.   (2002)

Marie Pappalardo, 53, an avid cat rescuer in Paramount, California, who once talked her way into the stall of the Triple Crown-winning racehorse Affirmed just to hug him, was a passenger aboard American Airlines flight 175 out of Boston on the morning of September 11, and was killed when terrorists flew it into the World Trade Center.    (2002)

Stephen J. Gould, 60, died on May 20 from abdominal mesothelioma at his home in Manhattan. Intensely interested in paleontology from age 5, when he first visited the American Museum of Natural History, Gould met Niles Eldridge in the mid-1960s, when both were graduate students in paleontology at Columbia University. Together they developed the punctuated equilibrium theory of evolution, continuing to work together long after Gould earned his Ph.D. in 1967 and moved on to teach at Harvard for the remainder of his life. Gould and Eldridge, now staff paleontologist for the American Museum of Natural History, jointly published the punctuated equilibrium theory in 1972. Gould went on to become one of the most successful popularizers of scientific concepts ever, writing on topics ranging from baseball to classical music, and occasionally scoffing at the animal rights movement on behalf of fellow scientists, but always returned to fossils, his first interest. Harvard University Press in March 2002 published his 1,433-page Structure of Evolutionary Theory, which he called the summation of his life's work.    (2002)

Bill Peet, 87, died on May 11 (2002) at his home in Studio City, California. Joining Disney Studios in 1937, at age 22, Peet initially helped to animate Donald Duck cartoons; based the character sketches for the baby elephant hero of Dumbo (1941) on his infant son Bill Jr.; planned the Br'er Rabbit sequences in Song of the South (1946); and developed the battle among the mice Jaq and Gus and the cat Lucifer in Cinderella (1950). His first screenplay was 101 Dalmatians (1961), the success of which coincided with an economic collapse in the fur industry. Each re-release and sequel has preceded at least a significant fur sales slump. Despite a stormy relationship with Walt Disney, upon whom Peet based the character of Merlin in The Sword In The Stone (1963), Peet remained with Walt Disney Inc. until 1967, when he completed the character sketches for The Jungle Book shortly before Disney died. Peet debuted as an author of children's books featuring animal characters in 1959, with Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure (1959), about a lion who loses his mane. His most successful of 35 titles was Chester the Worldly Pig (1978). 

Peter Hoffman, 80, died on March 19 in Chennai, India. Recalled the Animal Welfare Board of India newsletter, "Hoffman was a close associate of Rukmini Devi Arundale, founding chair of AWBI. An American by birth, he adopted India as his country. He was a staunch vegetarian and animal welfarist. He is survived by his wife Sarada, son Krishna, and daughter Geetha."    (2002)

Norma Ann Henry, 62, died from an apparent heart attack in April at her private animal shelter in Escondido, California, leaving 38 cats and eight dogs. Representatives of the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas and the Feral Cat Coalition told Brian E. Clark of the San Diego Union-Tribune that they expect to be able to place all of the animals in new homes. William Emeral Deters, whose age was variously listed as 63, 69, 70, and 72, his Thai housekeeper Ratchanee Sonkhamleu, 26, her three-year-old daughter Athitaya, Hmong worker Laeng sae Yang, and a Thai worker known only as Subin were massacred on May 10 at the Highland Farm and Wildlife Refuge in Phop Phra, Tak, Thailand, near the Burmese border. Police charged former employee Maung Htwe, 19, with the murders, and charged his brother Than Saw Htaik, 23, as an accomplice, along with their friends Ma Kyi, Thein Zaw, and Soe Moe. Maung Htwe, a Burmese citizen, worked for three years at the refuge, police said, but was fired in February after becoming a drug addict. He allegedly broke into Deters' quarters to steal firearms, but was caught in the act and shot all the witnesses he knew were present, but overlooked Dutch visitor Abraham Wilhelm Everardus Osterloh, 24, who hid in the bathroom and then called police. Maung Htwe will reportedly face the death penalty. Deters, who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, left the military to become general manager of the Lockheed Co. computer department. Becoming a Buddhist, Deters married Poranee Chotiros, 54, and relocated to her native Thailand in 1990. Their plan was to live quietly in retirement, but their home became a gibbon sanctuary in 1991 after Poranee saw a young gibbon who was suffering from a bullet wound and bought him from the Hmong hunters who shot him. The sanctuary currently houses 36 gibbons, 11 of them disabled, plus many other primates, dogs, peacocks, rabbits, turkeys, geese, and exotic birds of various species, wrote Supamart Kasem of the Bangkok Post. Poranee told Kasem that she intends to continue to operate the sanctuary.    (2002)

Shane Acton, a 12-year friend of Zancudo Asociacion Para Proteger Animales founder Katherine Gibson, died from lung cancer in March at her home in Zancudo, Costa Rica, which doubles as the ZAPPA office and dog-and-cat sterilization clinic. "He found watching the mini-clinics at my house almost as interesting as football, so when he died," Gibson wrote, "he had me sell his sailboat," to use the proceeds to further benefit animals.    (2002)

Patricia Trotta, 59, who lived in a rusting Quonset hut in Marshfield, Massachusetts, with rescued animals including dogs, cats, sheep, and a pony, died in October 2001, leaving an estate worth more than $100,000 to the Marshfield animal shelter.    (2002)

Dale Hyldahl, 69, an assistant dolphin trainer for three years at Marineland of Florida during the late 1950s, died on April 20 in Arlington, Washington.    (2002)

Roseanne Cory, 37, of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, drowned on May 5 in the Schuykill River, after jumping out of a boat to try to save her dog, Lucy, who survived. She and her companion George Lester Beckelheimer had recently lost two other dogs­­one to an accident, one to theft.    (2002)

Elissa Angell died on January 22 in Denver, remembered by the Humane Activist newsletter of the Humane Society of the U.S. as co-organizer with her husband Robert of the 1996 ballot initiative that "amended the Colorado constitution to ban the use of steel-jaw leghold traps and other inhumane traps." A retired librarian and schoolteacher, Mrs. Angell personally gathered 3,500 of the 100,000 signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot. "The Angells were also centrally involved with the successful 1992 statewide ballot initiative to restrict black bear hunting," the Humane Activist said.    (2002)

Agatha Abruzzo, 81, former president of the Gloucester County SPCA, died in January at her home and animal shelter in Woolwich, New Jersey, which until her death "was believed to be run by the Gloucester County SPCA," wrote Philadel-phia Inquirer reporter Sara Isadora Mancuso. "Abruzzo never received SPCA funds to care for the animals," Mancuso was told by New Jersey SPCA president Charlie Gerofsky. Instead, "She often dipped into her own pockets to pay for vet care and food, and received donations, but never legally incorporated during the 30 years that the Gloucester County SPCA operated under a state SPCA charter." In recent years Abruzzo suffered from a heart condition, and the animal care and sanitation seriously deteriorated. A new Gloucester County SPCA incorporated in March 2002, headed by Geralynn Castano.    (2002)

William George, M.D., in his early eighties, died at the Hamad General Hospital, Qatar, on June 1. George was a longtime member of the International Primate Protection League advisory board. "I first heard of him when I read his devastating critique of the gruesome cat experiments at the American Museum of Natural History back in the 1970s," recalled IPPL founder Shirley McGreal. "I could not believe that a medical doctor could be so compassionate, and suspected that the critique was a fake. I checked with the coalition formed by late Henry Spira to protest against the cat experiments, and was told that Dr. George practised in Miami. I was in Miami soon afterward and called him. His pro-animal actions were too many to list, but two stand out. First, in the 1980s he posed as a Middle Eastern medical researcher seeking endangered primates for research. He successfully exposed a Belgian animal dealer for ape smuggling. Second, as late as September 2001, long after he was diagnosed with the cancer that took his life, he joined in a campaign to return to Africa two chimpanzees who were confiscated in Qatar. He got up from his sickbed to see the animals off as they were flown to new homes at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia. Dr. George always supported generously overseas rescue centers," McGreal continued, "including Limbe in Cameroon," which is a special project of IPPL. "Dr. George was a dermatologist," McGreal added. "During one visit to IPPL, he removed a small growth from the finger of an adult female gibbon who was not anesthetized­­no mean feat. He attended several biennial IPPL Members' Meetings, the most recent being in March 2002. He was very, very ill, but decided that he just had to be with his primate and human friends here in Summerville one last time."   (2002)

Dorothy Spelko, 86, died on May 22 in Euclid, Ohio. A founding member of Citizens for Pet Responsibility, Spelko "was one of Euclid's first animal control officers," for whom a municipal shelter built in 1983 was named, and for 55 years "rescued stray and homeless animals in and around Cuyahoga County," recalled friend Beverly Ankert. "She recently cofounded the Spelko-Pal Chow Animal Rescue Group," Ankert added, "and was actively helping with the animals until April."   (2002)

Dorothy Reynolds, 86, died on November 29, 2001, in Jackson, Michigan. Reynolds in 1960 learned that Jackson County Animal Control was using strychnine to kill homeless dogs and cats. She complained to the Cascades Humane Society, but found them killing animals in a gas chamber. Both shelters also sold dogs and cats to laboratories. Reynolds formed the Jackson Animal Protective Association to pressure them into reform. She also clashed often with local hunters and trappers, including rock-and-roller-turned-hunting-promoter Ted Nugent. By her later years, Reynolds had outlived virtually all of her old foes and her local supporters as well. Younger activists and humane workers who did not recall the conditions she fought against during the 1960s and 1970s were bewildered by her lingering vehemence.   (2002)

Milton C. Shedd, 79, died from cancer on May 27 in Newport Beach, California. Originally an investment banker, Shedd was involved in marine conservation most of his life, "but his most famous project was SeaWorld San Diego," Associated Press recalled, which "began as a plan by four fraternity brothers to open a restaurant with a marine show. With an initial investment of $1.5 million, SeaWorld opened in 1964," soon after the debut of another Shedd project, the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. Shedd later led the expansion of SeaWorld to Orlando, Florida, and Akron, Ohio. The Akron site was recently sold to Six Flags Inc.  (2002)

Caroline Knapp, 42, died on June 3 from lung cancer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just six weeks after she was diagnosed and three weeks after her marriage to companion Mark Morrelli. A columnist for the Boston Phoenix, 1985-1999, Knapp enjoyed her first big success with her 1996 memoir Drinking: A Love Story, about her life as a "high-functioning alcoholic" and anorexic. The affection and loyalty of her dog pulled her back from the brink of self-destruction. "I am in love with my dog," Knapp confessed in her most popular book, Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs (1998). "I'm 38 and I'm single, and I'm having my most gratifying relationship with a dog. But we all learn about love in different ways, and this way happens to be mine."   (2002)

Emanuel Rodrieguez, 56, of Margate, Florida, was killed in front of his wife on June 18 when he left their car to try to remove a turtle from Boynton Beach Boulevard and was hit by a car driven by Rochelle Roth, of Boynton Beach. The turtle survived.   (2002)

Joe Watson, home developer and board president of the Pets 'n' Friends animal rescue society in Apple Valley, California, died on May 28­­the day Pets 'n' Friends received notice that it had until June 30 to relocate from the warehouse it has occupied since 1996, to make room for a stereo store.   (2002)

Jayne Paulette, 84, died on June 5 from cardiac arrest in St. Louis, Missouri, where she was born and lived for most of her life. "Jayne served for many years as secretary of the Simian Society of America and was among the first to advocate that Simian Society members should not acquire individual monkeys as pets, while still helping primates in private hands," recalled Primarily Primates president Wally Swett. "She was a staunch supporter of Primarily Primates," Swett added, "for all of its existence, and served as Primarily Primates vice president for several years preceding her death."   (2002)

Charles Vorhees, 85, died on June 10 in Hopedale, Ohio. Brother of Helen V. Brach, who married into the Brach candy fortune, Vorhees served as vice president when she formed the Helen V. Brach Foundation, a major funder of animal welfare projects, and succeeded to the chair after she disappeared in 1977 while personally investigating a gang who killed horses to enable the owners to collect insurance. The case was finally cracked in 1994. The ringleader, Richard Bailey, was convicted of killing Helen Brach, other ring members were convicted of four previous murders, and at least 25 other people were convicted in connection with the horse killings. Charles Vorhees' son Charles Allen Vorhees is also a longtime Brach Foundation board member.   (2002)

Frank Inn, 86, whose given name was Frank Freeman, died on July 27 in Sylmar, California. As a child, Inn was hit by a car, pronounced dead, and survived only because an embalming student detected a faint heartbeat before injecting him with formaldehyde. Confined to a wheelchair while recovering, he amused himself by training a puppy named Jeep with food rewards. As a young "gopher" for MGM Studios, Inn impressed animal trainer Henry East when Jeep quickly learned a stunt sequence that East could not get a dog to do. East hired him as an assistant. Inn hit the TV bigtime training Cleo the basset bound on the Jackie Cooper show People's Choice during the 1950s, and trained Arnold Ziffel the pig for the 1960s sitcom Green Acres, along with nearly 500 animals used in episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, but he enjoyed his greatest success with Benji, a charismatic little mutt he adopted from the Burbank Animal Shelter in 1960. Benji initially performed in the 1960s TV series Petticoat Junction, but leaped to stardom 14 years later in first of the series of eight hit movies and 13 episodes of a TV show bearing his name. Karl Lewis Miller, trainer of the animals used in the Babe films, was among many Hollywood trainers taught by Inn, who when not training animals to perform, trained dogs to help the disabled and promoted shelter adoptions.   (2002)

Karen Vowell, 35, of Lynnwood, Washington, was killed near the Edmonds beach on July 19 when she tried to pull her dog Betty Boop from in front of an Amtrak train. Betty Boop survived uninjured.   (2002)

James Karaffa Gregory, 50, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Indiana Province, Kenya, and formerly a priest in South Bend, Indiana, U.S., was trampled on June 25 by a giraffe while hiking at the Aberdare Country Club, 100 miles north of Nairobi. The giraffe believed to have attacked him later leaped off a cliff and died when approached by investigators.   (2002)

Sean Mckeown, 58, died on July 11 in Stanford, California. As reptile curator for 20 years at the Chafee Zoo in Fresno, California, and the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii, Mckeown was distinguished as the first person ever to breed endangered Madagascar ploughshare tortoises in captivity, and started the first breeding program for Madagascar boas. He wrote numerous books and more than 100 published articles about reptile care.   (2002)

Elizabeth Yunker Hilton, 49, was found shot to death on June 6 near the body of her husband, Jack Lacy Hilton, 56, a former patrolman for the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department, whom the Madison County Sheriff's Department believes killed her and then himself at their home in Little Sandy Mush, North Carolina. A registered nurse, Mrs. Hilton kept more than 120 pets, including dogs, cats, chickens, geese, a peacock, a turkey, two donkeys, and several llamas, cows, pigs, goats, horses, and sheep. Most were rescue cases. The animals are believed to have been auctioned off by the court-appointed executor of the Hiltons' estate.   (2002)

Russell Aitken, 92, died on August 11 at his home in Newport, Rhode Island. An associate editor of Field & Stream 1948-1952, Aitken was among the wealthy trophy hunters who created the World Wildlife Fund to encourage developing nations to fund their conservation programs through hunting revenues, rather than banning trophy hunting as both India and Kenya did soon after winning independence from Britain. The Bronx Zoo seabird colony is named for Aitken, who also donated heavily to the National Audubon Society.    (2002)

Galen Rowell, 61, his wife Barbara Cushman Rowell, pilot Tom Reid, and friend Carol McAfee, all of Bishop, California, were killed in an August 11 light plane crash. A professional nature photographer since 1972, Rowell produced 16 books of photos, including a 1986 best seller.    (2002)

Deborah Marie Krantz, 37, died on August 19 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Krantz volunteered for the Ingham County Humane Society and was wife of Michigan Federation of Humane Societies & Animal Advocates president Scott Harris. She left a daughter, Madison, and a son, Sawyer.    (2002)

Betty Roy, a cofounder in 1992 of the Riverlands SPCA in La Place, Louisiana, and previously a longtime volunteer for the Jefferson SPCA, died on August 16.    (2002)

Michael Hoyle, 44, of Pinellas Park, Florida, and his dog of seven years, Bonnie, died together from smoke inhalation in an August 18 mobile home fire.    (2002)


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