OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1997:

A. Peter Rasmussen, 76, died of
lung cancer on August 19. Born in Utah,
after service in the Army he became a professional
singer and toured the country. The last
25 years of his life were devoted to animal
welfare. Having traveled to Africa, he met
Joy Adamson, whose life was subject of the
movie Born Free, and soon after became one
of the founding members of the U.S. Born
Free Foundation chapter. He was involved
with Tippi Hedren’s ROAR Foundation,
which funds the Shambala Preserve, housing
more than 60 wild and exotic cats. Since the
early 1980s he had worked as secretary to
Gretchen Wyler, president of The Ark Trust
Inc., and became its secretary when the organization
was formed in 1991. “To me,”
Wyler told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “the loss is
profound. He gave the phrase ‘Take a letter’
new meaning. When I said, ‘Take a letter,’ I
meant, ‘Take it home and answer it.’ He
knew my thoughts, and often he expressed
them better than I could.” Peter was the official
secretary of all 11 Genesis Award celebrations,
an annual event honoring the
media, presented by The Ark Trust.

Karl F. Koopman, 77, bat expert
for the American Museum of Natural History
1961-1985, after stints at Queens College,
the Academy of Natural Sciences in
Philadelphia, and the Field Museum of
Natural History in Chicago, died September
22 at home in Manhattan.

Diane L. Louik, 54, president of
the interior design firm Urban Essence
Designs Inc., longtime active volunteer for
the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition and
organizer of Friends of the Glencoe Deer in
hopes of halting cull hunts, died September 9
in Chicago while helping to organize a live
music benefit for CHARC. The show went
on, dedicated to her memory.

Marjorie Harris Carr, 82, leader
of the successful 1962-1972 fight to halt construction
of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal,
the first female wildlife technician in Florida
(1936), widow of sea turtle conservation pioneer
Archie Carr, and mother of wildlife
ecologist Archie Carr III of the Wildlife
Conservation Society, died October 10 of
emphysema in Gainesville, Florida. After
Archie Carr and University of Florida biochemist
David Anthony became aware of the
ecologically destructive aspects of the canal
project, Anthony remembered, “We had to
form Florida Defenders of the Environment
because Audubon, national and state, got
nervous about our activism.” Marjorie Carr,
who was at home raising five children, took
over the campaign to protect her husband’s
academic career. Usually describing herself
as “Just a poor little housewife from
Micanopy,” as Anthony recalled, Marjorie
Carr won the respect of authorities including
the late President Richard Nixon with her
tenacity and informed debating style, inspiring
a generation of women to take up political
activism for animals and habitat.

James Miller, 56, a retired printer,
was killed October 19 when after escaping
his burning apartment in Clay, New
York, he ran back in to try to save his pet
Rottweiler, who died with him.

Kimbo, Belgian Malinois, age 4,
on October 7 became the first police dog
killed in the line of duty in Hollywood,
Florida, shot at point-blank range by triple
murder suspect and fugitive Mark Samuel
Chong, 38, whom Kimbo had just flushed
from hiding. Kimbo’s handler, Kevin Keitz,
returned fire, killing Chong. Kimbo was
buried with police honors.

Finna, 21, male resident orca at
the Vancouver Aquarium since he and his
female companion Bjossa were captured off
Iceland in 1980, died on October 6 after two
weeks of treatment for an unidentified infection.
Aquarium veterinarians said neither
Bjossa nor Whitewings, the Pacific whitesided
dolphin who shares the tank, show
signs of having acquired the infection––but
Bjossa is showing signs of pregnancy.
Whether she actually is pregnant won’t be
confirmed until about Christmas, senior scientist
John Ford said. Bjossa has given birth
three times, but her first calf died after 22
days in 1988, her second died after 97 days
in 1992, and her thir didn’t survive birthing
in 1995. Following her third failed pregnancy,
the Vancouver Aquarium put Bjossa on
an experimental birth control program, and
sought unsuccessfully to trade Finna for a
suitable female companion. Bjossa was taken
off birth control in April 1996.

Butterscotch, also known as
Courthouse Cat, age 8, died October 6 of
cancer in International Falls, Minnesota. A
stray who wandered into the Koochiching
County Courthouse at about five months old,
Butterscotch proved invaluable as a calming
influence at trials, especially in cases involving
children, often approaching distraught
people for rubbing and petting. Irate lawyers
simmered down in his presence. “Twenty
years from now,” predicted auditor’s office
staffer Vicki Gianque, in an extensive page
one obituary by Laurel Beager of The Daily
Journal of International Falls, “no one is
going to remember any of us who worked
here, but they’ll remember that cat.”

James E. Rooster, longtime pet of
Tom Stephens and dawn greeter of Ybor City,
Florida, who was killed in a May dog attack,
was memorialized on October 13 by his hen
companion and two chicks, 100 humans, a
Dixieland band, and David Stewart’s dog
Oscar, who did not commit the murder.

Kubandu, 14, the Franklin Park
Zoo gorilla who pelted Boston mayor Thomas
Menino, city councillor Charles Yancey, and
state senator Dianne Wilderson with feces at
a January 1997 press conference, died
October 9 after failing to revive from anesthesia
given to him to facilitate a physical exam.

Twiggy, 29, one of the oldest
Masai giraffes on record, died October 14 at
the Cleveland Metropark Zoo.

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