OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

Roger Tory Peterson, 87, whose
field guides made birdwatching accessible to
millions, died July 28 at his home in Old
Lyme, Connecticut. Born in Jamestown,
New York, where he later founded the Roger
Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History,
Peterson became obsessed with birds at age 11
when his teacher, Blanche Hornbeck, started a
Junior Audubon Club. The prevailing method
of ornithology was then to shoot birds and
study their corpses. Objecting, Peterson saved
his earnings as a newspaper boy to buy a camera,
then demonstrated the advantages of photographing
birds instead. As color photography
had not yet been developed, Peterson
took up painting and drawing to fully illustrate
his discoveries. Publishers insisted his
first pocket-sized Field Guide to the Birds
would flop, but Houghton-Mifflin finally took
a chance on it in 1934. The initial guide covered
only birds native to the eastern United
States. Peterson soon produced a companion
guide covering birds of the western U.S. The
two guides have now sold more than seven
million copies in four editions. Peterson was
working on new updates at his death. In all,
Peterson authored or edited nearly 50 books––
and, though he considered himself chiefly a
painter, did pioneering field research on the
effects of the pesticide DDT for the U.S. Air
Force, late in World War II, which contributed
to the 1972 U.S. ban on DDT. The
ban is credited with saving many birds from
extinction. A longtime supporter of Friends of
Animals, Peterson lent his influence to campaigns
against hunting, trapping, and especially
the killing of feral mute swans, whom
he argued were no threat to native bird life.

Ronald Smith, 49, of Frankley,
Birmingham, England, noted in his neighborhood
for kindness toward animals and children,
suffered fatal head injuries on August 5
in defending his two miniature Vietnamese
potbellied piglets from a street gang armed
with clubs and knives, who threatened to set
the piglets on fire. Smith bought the piglets
for his wife Margaret in June, to replace a
fullsized potbellied pig who was apparently
poisoned circa Christmas 1994, after occupying
the Smith garden for about six months.
Smith’s son Joey, 20, initially confronted the
gang, but was chased down the street. Smith
was reportedly struck by a missile, hit his
head on a curb when he fell, was stomped by
as many as four young men, and died in his
wife’s arms minutes later.

Harald N. Johnson, 89, pathologist,
died August 28 in Weymouth,
Massachusetts, near his longtime home in
Scituate. Working for the Rockefeller
Foundation, Johnson in 1938 was among the
first humans to test the yellow fever vaccine
that earned a Nobel Prize for developer Dr.
Max Theiler. Johnson next fought the dog
rabies outbreak that terrorized Alabama,
1938-1945, and a bat rabies epidemic that
afflicted cattle in Mexico in 1944. Catching
infected bats for study, Johnson was bitten on
the finger, lost 66 pounds, and became a
quadriplegic with a rabies-like disease that was
never identified, but he recovered––though he
walked with a cane for the rest of his life––to
discover the strain of the rabies virus used in
Imrab, the vaccination that in the 1960s all but
ended serious rabies outbreaks among domestic
animals. Johnson turned to work on arthopod-borne
viruses in 1954, identifying
encephalitis strains carried by birds and mice,
after the Rockefeller Foundation sent him to
the newly formed California Department of
Health Services laboratory in Berkeley. He
retired in 1972, but produced scientific papers
until his death.

Melany Paula Campos, 60, who
with her sister Lelys Campos, M.D., cared for
an estimated 40 abandoned dogs in a reportedly
well-maintained private shelter at their Los
Angeles home, apparently suffocated on
August 20 when four big sacks of dog food fell
on top of her. “She was the best person,”
said Lelys Campos. “She was one of those
people who only did good.”

Jarrod Fontaine, 16, of Saratoga,
Arkansas, burned over 80% of his body on
June 3 in an unsuccessful bid to save his poodle
Cocoa from a house fire, died September 9
at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
The son of Saratoga volunteer fire chief
Marshall Fontaine, Jarod escaped the blaze
once, but ran back to find the dog.

Dalphine Holeman, 64, of
Wilmot, Nova Scotia, was killed by a car on
August 17 while trying to help an injured cat
in the road outside her home.

Kay Barnett, 88, died May 24 in
Columbus, Ohio, where she and her husband
of 53 years, Colonel Ralph Barnett, who survives,
were long active together in humane
work. Memorials were directed to the adopt-acage
program of the Cat Welfare Association,
which the Barnetts joined in 1949.

Theodore F. Schmidt, 82, longtime
officer and volunteer fundraiser for the
Thurston County Humane Society in Olympia,
Washington, and an energetic independent
animal protection lobbyist, died August 18.
Fond rememberances reached A N I M A L
P E O P L E from both TCHS and Jeanne
Werner, executive director of the Humane
Society for Tacoma and Pierce County.

Brother Adam, 98, perhaps the
world’s leading expert on honey bees, died
September 1 in a nursing home near the
Buckfast Benedictine Abbey in southwestern
England. Born as Karl Kehrle in Wurttemberg,
Germany, Brother Adam was sent to
the Buckfast Abbey by his mother at age 12,
in 1910. He took full vows and became the
chief abbey apiarist in 1919. By the 1930s he
traveled as far as North Africa in search of
new bee strains, and from 1950 to 1981
researched in North Africa, the Middle East,
and Mediterranean Europe. As recently as
1988, porters carried him up 19,340-foot Mt.
Killimanjaro to inspect wild beehives. Thennewly
appointed Buckfast abbot David
Charlesworth halted the abbey’s involvement
in research––and Brother Adam’s career––in
1992, to emphasize honey production instead.

Mervyn Cowie, 87, the Britishborn
longtime Kenyan who formed the
Kenyan national park system, died on July 19
in Suffolk, England, his home since leaving
Kenya in 1979. The son of a Scots trophy
hunter who settled in Kenya to ranch and sell
real estate, Cowie grew up in the bush, but
earned an accounting degree from Oxford in
1932. Returning to Kenya after graduation,
he found familiar wildlife habitat overrun by
cattle. He argued for the formation of preserves
without success until 1937, when in a
sarcastic open letter signed “Old Settler” he
proposed killing all wildlife to make way for
cattle. Some farmers endorsed the scheme,
but the idea of starting national parks caught
on. After World War II military duty, Cowie
set up the park system for the colonial government
in 1946, remained chief park administrator
after Kenya won independence from
Britain in 1963, and retired in 1966.

Tara Kent, 25, of Tucson, was
killed by an unidentified hit-and-run driver late
July 21 when she ran into the street in front of
her apartment to help an injured dog.

George Speidel, 84, died on
August 15 in Tyler, Texas. Raised in
Brookfield, Illinois, Speidel helped build the
Brookfield Zoo, became a guard there when it
opened in 1934, and married director Edward
Bean’s daughter Mary in 1939. After running
the Racine Zoo for a year, Speidel in 1947
became head of the Washington Park Zoo in
Milwaukee, renamed the Milwaukee County
Zoo in 1962 after Speidel won construction of
a new facility. The Speidel family lived on
site, with an animal nursery in their home.
Under Speidel’s direction, the Milwaukee
County Zoo was named the best in the U.S. by
Saturday Review (1972), Better Homes and
G a r d e n s (1977), and the authors of a 1978
guidebook called The Best. Speidel retired
that year to become vice president of zoological
planning and development for the architectural
firm McFadzean & Everly. That job took
him to Tyler, where he was a consultant to the
Caldwell Zoo from 1984 on. Son George
Speidel Jr. followed him into zoo work.

Melvin Belli, 88, virtual inventor
of the personal injury lawsuit, died July 9,
leaving $10,000 to each of his four dogs,
Rhumpy, Ozzie, Momba, and Skye. Belli,
who declared personal bankruptcy in 1993,
left the rest of his estate to an undisclosed
charity. Though rarely involved in animalrelated
cases, Belli was reputedly keenly
interested in animal rights.

Pippin, 16, who followed her
grandsire Benji into screen acting, died July
16 in London. Given to Trainer Ann Head by
Benji’s trainer, Frank Inn, of Hollywood,
California, Pippin starred in two daytime serials
and numerous commercials.

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