OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:

Don Davis, 68, died June 5 in
Colorado Springs. Born in Columbus, Ohio,
Davis was son of the Columbus Zoo director
(his father) and gorilla keeper (his mother.)
Accepted for membership by the American
Zoo Association at age 17, Davis became
director of the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville,
Indiana, in 1955, and after establishing his
credentials, became associate director of the
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs
two years later, stepping up to director in
1962. During his tenure, which ended in
1981, he “expanded the zoo’s facilities, started
its now-famous giraffe collection, and
pushed its primate and hoofed animal collections
to world fame,” Denver Zoo executive
director Clayton Freiheit told Ovette Sampson
of the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph.

Frank Awbrey, 65, died on May
31 of liver cancer. Remembered longtime colleague
Ann E. Bowles, senior staff biologist
at the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute in
San Diego, “His career in bioacoustics
spanned 42 years,” beginning with studies of
frog sounds at Texas A&M University.
Relocating to San Diego State University in
1964, and later spending 21 years with the
Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, Awbrey
studied “acoustical measurements of sonic
booms and seal-control devices, bioacoustics
of Antarctic killer whales and leopard seals,
auditory threshholds of beluga whales, and
acoustic techniques to reduce fishery impact
on marine mammals,” Bowles remembered.
Awbrey in 1990 founded the Environmental
Trust, Bowles said, “to protect what remains
of undeveloped native habitat in the San Diego
area.” His final project, she noted, was “a
groundbreaking effort to measure the longterm
population level effects of aircraft noise on
endangered passerines (songbirds).”

Roger Quillen, rescuing cats in
Charlestown, Rhode Island, for about 15
years, died on May 30. Quillen discovered
the plight of homeless cats in 1983, after buying
the now defunct Rathbone’s Fish Market.
His adopted cat population rose as high as 200,
and he still had 80 cats at his death, wrote Sara
Olken of the Province Journal-Bulletin, along
with “three dogs, five turkeys, 20 seagulls,
12 peacocks, and assorted chickens.” Friends
took about two dozen of the cats after Quillen
died. His widow Lynn Quillen pledged to
“keep those who have no place to go.”

Roger Lacey Stevens, 87, longtime
treasurer of the Animal Welfare Institute
and Society for Animal Protective Legislation,
and husband of AWI founder and president
Christine Stevens, died on February 2. AWI
“was founded in 1952 as result of his intervention
in the National Society of Medical
Research’s effort to destroy the organized
humane movement,” recalled AWI colleague
John Gleiber. “After the Second World War,
the NSMR launched an aggressive attack on
humane society shelters, forcing them in state
after state to surrender dogs and cats to experimental
laboratories for painful tests. AWI was
founded to fight the NSMR’s animal seizure
bills, and to advance the welfare of animals
by reducing the sum total of pain and fear
inflicted on animals by humans.” Born in
Detroit, Stevens dropped out of the University
of Michigan in 1930 after his family suffered
severe financial losses due to the Great
Depression, and “worked for the next five
years as a gas station attendant and on the
assembly line at Ford,” Gleiber recalled.
“Periodically he sold his own blood to meet
living expenses. From these experiences, he
became a labor union supporter and a lifelong
Democrat,” of sufficient prominence that he
became founding chairman of the Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts, appointed in
1961 by President John F. Kennedy. He
retired from that post in 1988.

Carroll Soo-Hoo, 84, longtime
patron of the San Francisco Zoo, died in June.
“One of 11 children of a Chinese immigrant
family,” according to Irma Lemus of the San
Francisco Examiner, “Mr. Soo-Hoo was born
in San Rafael, California, and attended
Berkeley High School. He studied electrical
engineering at U.C. Berkeley,” before World
War II disrupted his education, and spent the
next 28 years as a senior technician and
instructor of instrumentation for nuclear submarines
at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in
Vallejo. Shrewdly investing his Navy wages,
Soo-Hoo donated 40 animals worth more than
$350,000 to the San Francisco Zoo between
1958 and his 1967 marriage to Violet SooHoo,
a teacher at Galileo High School in San
Francisco. Among the donated menagerie
were “gorillas, Barbary apes, cheetahs,
Siberian tigers, a jaguar, zebra, hippopotamus,
orangutan, spotted hyena, wild dogs,
wolves, ostriches, and kookaburras,” according
to Lemus, all bought “with the understanding
he could visit and play with them.
Mr. Soo-Hoo had his own key to the gorilla
compound.” After his marriage, Soo-Hoo
stopped donating animals, but continued to
contribute electronic and photographic equipment––and
time. Said San Francisco Zoo
director David Anderson, “I remember the
last day I saw him, about a month ago. He
would come on the weekends with his bullhorn
and tell people not to yell at the animals.”

Snowball, 3, the hamster who
saved his human family from a housefire, died
of natural causes on May 20. In the early
hours of June 30, 1997, Snowball raised a
hue-and-cry in his cage to alert Meghan
Holman of Hamden, Connecticut, to flames
already licking through her second-floor bedroom
wall. Meghan, then 7, woke her parents,
Debbie and Scott Holman, and her sister,
Caitlin, then 12, who escaped with their
dog and cat but inadvertantly left Snowball
behind. He was found in the burnt rubble of
the home, suffering from dehydration and
smoke inhalation, nine days later.

Bulea, 13, the only male Pacific
whitesided dolphin at the John G. Shedd
Aquarium in Chicago, died of pneumonia on
May 29. Captured in Monterey Bay in 1988,
Bulea was kept for two years at a holding
facility in Santa Cruz, California, then
became one of the original occupants of the
Shedd Oceanarium when it opened in 1991.
He had reportedly been battling an antibioticresistant
infection since 1993. The losses of
Bulea and a baby beluga, who drowned just
moments after birth on June 23, revived criticism
from local activist groups, a target of
weekly protests during much of 1994-1995.

Zhuzhu, 31, one of the oldest pandas
in captivity, died June 8 at the zoo in
Guiyang, Guizhou province, China.

Solo, 4, a German shepherd searchand-patrol
dog handled by Robin Eckel of the
Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department in
Long Branch, New Jersey, was shot twice in
the head at close range on June 5 while searching
an apartment for criminal suspect Donald
Buntin. “The dog was hit and still moving forward,
still doing what he was trained to do,”
said Sheriff Joseph W. Oxley. “In all probability,
he saved the life of an officer.” Born in
Germany as Solo Vom Schlob Regendorf,
Solo was sold to a police dog trainer in
Indiana, who resold him to Monmouth
County for $5,000 in donated funds two years
ago. In 1997, Solo’s only full year of duty,
he located 16 criminals and 19 missing persons,
including an Alzheimer’s patient whose
wanderings had stumped other dogs. The
Associated Humane Societies donated $1,000
in Solo’s memory to start a fund to equip New
Jersey police dogs with newly developed bulletproof
vests, and Neptune Township tax and
finance department staff donated $800 to a
separate fund to outfit the Neptune police
dogs––Sadie, a bloodhound, and Dexter, a
German shepherd. Also in memory of Solo,
a bipartisan bill to increase the penalty for
killing a police dog to up to 10 years in jail
and a fine of up to $150,000 was introduced in
the New Jersey legislature, and is rated a
strong chance of passage.

Yogi, 8, a bloodhound handled by
police officer John Nichols in Aurora,
Colorado, was euthanized on June 19 after
losing a year-long struggle against cancer.
Yogi was most noted for discovering the
remains of murder victims Rhonda Lee
Maloney in 1994 and Alie Berrelez, 5, in
1993. Berrelez’ grandparents established the
ALIE Foundation in her memory, which has
thus far provided 95 bloodhounds to police
forces around the U.S.

Abdul, 17, a jaguar suffering from
an inoperable bladder tumor, was euthanized
on June 1 at the Little Rock Zoo, his home
since a 1996 transfer from the Akron Zoo.

Belleau Master Goldie, 27, a
Clydesdale horse donated to the Children’s
Zoo section of the Tulsa Zoo in 1985 by
Anheuser Busch Farms, was euthanized circa
May 15 due to complications of age.

Julie, an elephant aged around 45,
died in February at the Limssol Zoo, Cyprus,
where she paced her entire life, alone, around
a small concrete enclosure. Brought to Cyprus
by a British officer in colonial times, Julie had
once killed a keeper. She loved acacia branches,
but the current zoo veterinarian/director
refused to allow branches for her, or tires, or
a pool. Only after the Born Free Foundation
and British Broadcasting Corporation produced
a documentary which named Julie
“Europe’s Unhappiest Animal” was she at last
given a sun shade. She was euthanized after
her frame, riddled with osteoporosis, finally
gave out. Our cofounder was with her when
she was dying, and even then, hearing her
name, she moved her foot as if to get up.

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