OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1998:

Mary Richard, 33, director of the
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Sanctuary in
Oyster Bay, New York, was killed late on
February 25 when her companion, sanctuary
operations manager Michael Brust, 23,
wrecked the sanctuary minivan. Brust,
whom Richard hired after he worked at the
sanctuary for several years as a teenaged volunteer,
was charged with driving while
intoxicated and driving with a suspended
license. Richard “was a bird watcher and
lover of nature since she was a child,” her
sister Christine Palmer told Al Baker of
Newsday. The National Audubon Society
hired Richard to run the sanctuary in 1991.
“It is the oldest Audubon sanctuary in the
U.S., so for her to be in charge of it was a
major accomplishment,” said National
Audubon Society president John Bianchi.


John Cowley, 74, a founding
member of the Irish Council Against Blood
Sports, who played farmer Tom Riordan in
the RTE soap opera The Riordans, 1964-
1979, died in early February. Born in Navin,
County Meath, Cowley dropped out of
school at age 13 in 1936 to help his father run
their family’s farm. Athletic skill at swimming,
hurling, football, and boxing took
him off the farm; toward the end of his
sports career, in 1956, he joined the Dublin
Globe Theatre company. He later toured
Australia and Europe with the Abbey Theatre
company, before finding stardom in television.
But his real life’s ambition, he told
friends, was to see hare coursing abolished.
“His activities as an anti-blood sports campaigner
made him unpopular in rural
Ireland,” Chris Dooley of The Irish Times
remembered. More than a match for hunting
thugs, however, he was known to wait all
night if need be to personally confront those
who tore down his posters.
Maya Wolf, 55, of Eugene,
Oregon, drowned along with her German
shepherd in the Willamette River on March 1.
Because Wolf’s wallet was found nearby on
the shore, and because Wolf was last seen
chasing the dog, police believe Wolf died in
attempting to save the dog from the cold,
fast-flowing current.
Anton Winston Bakker, 22, was
killed on February 15 when he slipped down
80-foot Tanque Verde Falls near Tucson,
Arizona, while trying to rescue a friend’s
Labrador retreiver. There was no word as to
the fate of the dog. At least 30 other people
have been killed in accidental plunges at the
falls since 1970.
Samuel A. Corson, 88, died on
January 20. Born in Russia, Corson came to
the U.S. in 1925 with facility, which he
maintained, in ten different languages common
to eastern Europe. Known in scientific
circles for research into the biophysics of the
brain, Corson met his wife and longtime
research partner Elizabeth O’Leary Corsons,
who survives him, when he was teaching at
the University of Minnesota and she was
among his graduate assistants during the
1950s. Later moving to Ohio State
University, the Corsons moved away from
work based on dissection after discovering
the value of dogs in comforting psychiatric
patients while investigating the possibility of
psychologically treating hyperactive dogs.
During the latter third of his life, recalled the
Columbus Dispatch, Corson was “widely
credited for pioneering and popularizing petassisted
therapy.”
Matilda, 48, a Nile hippopotamus
who lived at the Oklahoma City Zoo from
Christmas Eve 1953 until March 1, 1998,
died of a heart attack two days later near
Tallahassee, Florida, as she and Norman,
her 30-year-old companion, were being
trucked to a new home at the soon-to-open
Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom theme park.
Believing the concrete floors and cold winters
of the hippos’ Oklahoma City habitat
wasn’t good for them, zoo executive director
Stephen Wylie had been trying for five years
to relocate Matilda and Norman to a climate
and facilities more like those of Africa.
Qiang Qiang, 30, one of the
longest-lived pandas on record, died on
January 28 at a panda breeding center in
Chengdu, Sichuan province, where she was
taken for emergency treatment after spending
22 years at the Shenyang Zoo. Keepers said
Qiang Qiang began showing signs of senility
at age 20, the average panda lifespan, the
Xinhua News Agency reported.
Red, 30, remembered by the San
Francisco SPCA as “a magnificent chestnut
gelding” who, riden by Sergeant Earl
Opendike, “served with distinction on such
diverse beats as Chinese New Year parades,
security patrol at Candlestick Park, and
crowd control during rock concerts and political
demonstrations,” was euthanized on
January 22 at the SF/SPCA horse retirement
ranch in Sonoma County. “Red will also be
remembered,” the SF/SPCA announcement
said, “for the courage with which he coped
with the blindness that overcame him in his
retirement. Over the years, Red had three
equine companions––General, Slammer,
and Gus––who protected him from other
horses and made sure he didn’t run into any
fences.” Opendike, also now retired, visited
Red one last time the day before the euthanasia.
“Red’s passing leaves eight horses currently
in residence at the ranch,” the
announcement concluded. “The SF/SPCA
has been caring for retired San Francisco city
work horses since 1918.”
Siku, age 2, a walrus rescued
from ice floes off St. Lawrence Island in May
1996, along with two other orphaned Pacific
walrus pups, died on February 26 of an
intestinal blockage apparently caused when
she used her tusks to dislodge a piece of
caulking from her pool, then ate it.
Mikail, 16, polar bear resident at
the Tulsa Zoo since arriving from the
Moscow Zoo in 1984, was euthanized on
March 2 due to kidney failure––just a year
after the zoo competed a $653,000 renovation
and expansion of his quarters. The zoo
expects to acquire a new male companion for
Mikail’s surviving mate, Marushka, who
came from the Moscow Zoo with him.
Prince Charles, 16, a white
Bengal tiger believed to have been the first
exhibited on the west coast, born at the
Cincinnati Zoo but resident at the San
Francisco Zoo since 1981, died unexpectedly
on February 6.
Vengeance, 25-plus, the second
longest-lived redtailed hawk on record, died
Christmas Eve at the Quail Hollow State Park
in Lake Township, Illinois, her home since
1983. A gunshot victim who could not be
returned to the wild because of the extent of
her injuries, she previously lived at Houston
Woods State Park near Cincinnati.

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