OBITUARIES

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1999:

George E. Brown Jr., 79, a liberal
Democrat who was elected 18 times to the
House of Representatives by the California
36th District, died on July 15 of postoperative
infection after heart surgery. Brown,
remembered Adele Douglass, Washington
D.C. director for the American Humane
Association, “was responsible for the 1985
amendments to the Animal Welfare Act.
With then-U.S. Senator Robert Dole, he had
introduced similar legislation in previous
Congresses. As chair of the Agriculture
Subcommittee that had oversight of the
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service, Brown held hearings on pet theft,
and was a strong supporter of Animal
Welfare Act enforcement. He was always a
friend to animals.”

Martha Grinder, a University of
Arizona Ph.D. candidate noted for research
on urban coyotes, was killed on July 14 by a
hit-and-run driver while jogging with her
nine-month-old daughter in Tucson. Though
urban coyotes do eat cats when they can
catch them, Grinder’s work “showed that
coyotes are not eating cats and dogs and little
kids” as their primary diet, said her thesis
advisor, Paul Krausman. Rather, Grinder
established via radio-collar monitoring and
scat study that urban coyotes eat mainly mice
and rabbits, also their major prey in the
wild––and that they seem to do well enough
in cities that they tend to maintain a significantly
smaller range. Grinder had trouble
finding funding for her research, Krausman
recalled, because it wasn’t crisis-oriented.
“The funding agencies are involved in crisis
management,” he said. “Unless there’s a
problem, they’re not going to fund it.”

Ann Florio, 70, suffering from
Parkinson’s disease and heart trouble,
hanged herself on August 2 at her Queens
apartment. Peter Florio, 75, her husband of
more than 45 years, pleaded not guilty to
second-degree manslaughter on August 6 for
allegedly tying the rope to a ceiling beam and
fashioning the noose, then leaving the apartment
for five-and-a-half hours. The Florios
were remembered by neighbors for mutual
devotion and for feeding stray cats.

Joan Wight, widow of James A.
Wight, DVM, author of All Creatures Great
And Small and other books under the name
James Herriot, died on July 14 in Yorkshire,
England. Meeting her future husband when
she brought him first an injured calf and later
a sick dog, Joan Wight was the real-life
model for the character Helen Herriot.

Raja J.K. Atal died in June at
home in Jaipur, India. Sent alone to England
at age 8 to get his education, Atal returned to
India as a forester and shot 16 tigers for
allegedly eating people during the next nine
years, before becoming a diplomatic aide to
Mohandas Gandhi in negotiating Indian independence.
“He was present when Gandhi
was assassinated and commented that it was
one of the worst moments of his life,”
recalled Help In Suffering managing trustee
Christine Townend. Atal continued in diplomatic
service for most of the rest of his life,
but found his real calling in work on behalf
of children and animals. A former sport
hunter, in mid-life “he began to find hunting
repulsive,” Townend said, “and, thinking of
the cruelty of the slaughterhouse, became a
vegetarian,” causing him some difficulty at
formal occasions. Atal became a Help In
Suffering trustee at invitatation of fellow
trustee Janine Vogler in the mid-1980s, and
after two years of effort, recruited Townend
from Australia to run the Jaipur animal hospital
and sanctuary in 1992.

Thomas L. Kimball, 81, CEO for
the National Wildlife Federation 1960-1981,
died from a stroke on July 20 at his home in
Roseville, California. NWF president Mark
Van Putten remembered Kimball for leading
NWF in uniting hunters, birdwatchers, and
general conservationists in the alliance which
established the present prevailing models of
wildlife management.

June V. Justice, 26, remembered
by her landlady Audrey Walters as “a loving
person who wouldn’t want anything to die,”
carried her oldest son Andrew, 7, from their
home in Columbus, Ohio, on August 2 after
he accidentally set fire to a couch with a cigarette
lighter, but burned to death after
returning inside in an apparent attempt to
save their two adult pit bull terriers and a litter
of eight puppies. Her daughter Ashley
Tanner, 6, and younger son, Donald, 5,
were not home at the time.

Ricky G. Rhoades, 43, of Evansville,
Ohio, drowned on July 23 while saving
his dog from fast-moving water in the
Wabash River near New Harmony.

Bertram E. Smythies, 86, author
of The Birds of Borneo (1960) and The Birds
of Burma (1941), died on July 27 in Kent,
England.

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