Obituaries [Jan/Feb 2000]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2000:

Alice Elizabeth Leigh Coldwell, 104, died November 5 in San Francisco. Born in Oakland, she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1917 and soon afterward married Cedric Sayle Coldwell, son of the founder of the Coldwell Banker real estate empire. A member of the St. Moritz Ice Skating Club, she cofounded the San Francisco Figure Skating Club; won the Women’s California Indoor Skating Championship in 1934, at age 39; and two years later won the California Indoor Figure Skating Pairs Championship. Her athletic energy carried over into her later interest in animal welfare. The Pets Unlimited adoption shelter and animal hospital she founded with her friend Carter Dowling in 1947 was the first no-kill shelter of serious size in San Francisco. It now has annual income of $4.3 million a year and assets of $2.7 million––making it, though only the third largest shelter in the city, larger than the biggest shelter in many other cities of comparable size.

Holly Keppel, DVM, 47, died of cancer on December 18 in Tucson. Born in California, she lived in Tucson from age 4 until after graduation from the University of Arizona. Earning her veterinary degree at Colorado State University in 1980, she practiced in Massachusetts before returning to Tucson in 1985 to found the Acoma Veterinary Clinic. As her business grew, Arizona S t a r writer Joe Burchall remembered, “the realization of her lifetime dream to provide a safe haven for animals began to take shape. She routinely refused to kill animals just because their owners found them inconvenient or didn’t want to deal with treatable ailments or injuries. Instead, she would get the owners to turn the animals over to her, treat them if necessary, and then offer them for adoption. Many of the least adoptable animals she simply took home herself. She was also a dedicated distance runner, bicyclist, and triathlete,” who completed a triathlon three months after enduring a double mastectomy, and won an 80-mile bicycle race “just months after completing a bone marrow transplant.” Becoming “Tucson’s first Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy-certified veterinarian,” according to Burchall, Keppel recovered enough from her first bout with cancer to start the Arroyo Verde Animal Clinic in 1997, and her own All Animals Sanctuary in early 1998. Recurring cancer forced her to close it in September 1999. Keppel was survived by husband Spencer Kolb; son Corey, 14; and daughters Tracy and Terri, 11 and 10.

Martha McKenney, 90, died in Tavernier, Florida, on December 22. The daughter of Miami Beach developer Harry Bastian, she and her late husband P.F. “Bud” McKenney saw their future after visiting Marineland of Florida soon after it opened to the public in 1938. They moved from Atlanta to Tavernier in 1942, hoping to convert a 40- year-old ditch dug for Henry Flagler’s “Railway to the Sea” into a three-acre marine amphitheatre. World War II delayed the opening until 1946. Initially a circus-like dolphin and sea lion show, Theatre of the Sea later began rehabilitating stranded sea turtles. It became a swim-with-dolphins facility in 1987.

Karen Bunting, chair of the Humane Massachusetts political action committee which in 1988 passed a statewide ban on body-gripping traps, and a past president of the Coalition to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation, died on November 29 of a heart attack at her home in Chilmark, Massachusetts. “She had a heart condition,” longtime friend Evelyn Kimber told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “which she had not revealed to her brother and his family, nor to her friends in the animal rights community.” Kimber remembered Bunting writing a letter to a newspaper in support of the unsuccessful 1988 Massachusetts Humane Farming Initiative. The paper dropped the “e” from Bunting’s use of the word humane. “Thus,” to Bunting’s lasting amusement, her letter was published calling for ‘human conditions’ for farm animals,” Kimber said. Current CEASE president Virginia Fuller recalled Bunting having “passion for animals of all kinds, feral cats and wildlife, especially.” Also a director of the no-kill Buddy Dog Humane Society and a member of the Massachusetts Rabies Advisory Committee, Fuller once found herself at wits’ end with a spaniel-cross named Annie who failed in at least three homes and was a twotime biter. Bunting took Annie home––and succeeded with her. But Fuller’s favorite memory of Bunting was the time her attention seemed to wander during a telephone conversation. Only then did Fuller learn she had called while Bunting was picking maggots out of a bite-wounded baby skunk.

Myrtle Katherine “Kay” Huffendick, 97, a longtime volunteer for the Progressive Animal Welfare Society in Lynnwood, Washington, died from a stroke on December 12. She left a $2 million trust fund formed to benefit 23 charities, mostly pertaining to animal protection. Her cocker spaniel, 17, reportedly died a few days later.

Chan Yow Cheong, a longtime virologist and microbiologist at the National University of Singapore, died on December 4 after a three-year battle with liver carcinoma. His bulletins issued via the ProMED electronic bulletin board on emerging zoonotic diseases frequently helped inform ANIMAL PEOPLE coverage of such topics as the 1998-1999 outbreak of Nipah virus in Malaysia and the emergence of hantavirus circa 1994.

Tan Sri V.M. Hutson, 80, died on December 19 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Born in Ireland, Hutson served with the British army in India and Burma, 1942-1945, then emigrated to Malaysia as a junior planter for Socfin Co. Ltd., a firm he eventually directed until his 1977 retirement. Drafted by the Malayan Agri-Horticultural Association to set up a temporary petting zoo for its annual fair in 1957, because he had some cattle handling experience, Hutson went on to cofound the Malaysian Zoological Society in 1961, sharing his bachelor home with a tiger, eight crocodiles, two dogs, and a cat until with government help the society opened Zoo Negara two years later. Within 18 months it was among the most-visited zoos in the world. Hutson remained as MZS chair until his death.

Phoebe Snetsinger, 68, of Webster Groves, Missouri, was killed in a November 23 van crash while birding in Madagascar. Battling malignant melanoma since 1981, when she was told she had less than a year to live, Snetsinger had verifiably sighted 84% of the 10,000 currently identified bird species, 2,000 more than anyone else ever has. Only 8,500 species were known in 1965, when she started. Her detailed notes often helped ornithologists to identify lookalike subspecies.

Anita Finch, 33, a Los Angeles Zoo trainee who was just three days away from taking her final examination to become a keeper, died alone in her Van Nuys mobile home on December 15, evidently from a bite by a Gaboon viper. Finch was found to have been illegally keeping 12 snakes, 10 of them poisonous, plus six piranhas.

Harold Glen Kelso Jr., M.D., 70, of Washington Township, Ohio, former president of the Montgomery County Medical Society and of the township school board, drowned on Christmas Day near his home when he fell through thin ice while trying to rescue his schnauzer. Tracks leading to a hole in the ice were the only trace found of the dog.

Daniel Brian Denny, 25, of Seneca, South Carolina, died of smoke inhalation in a mobile home fire on December 17 while attempting to save his Labrador retriever. The dog was found dead beside him.

Ho Ka-kin, 24, of Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong, on November 29 helped his girlfriend, a neighbor, and the neighbor’s daughter, 6, to escape a 1:30 a.m. fire in the shops where they slept, but was killed when he returned to the building to get his two dogs.

Anthony W. Shannon, 74, director of the Saginaw Children’s Zoo 1967-1981, died from cancer in Saginaw on December 29. Previously a police officer, Shannon was credited with much improving the animal care conditions and exhibits, but his attitudes were paradoxical: he cheerfully shared his rumpus room with monkeys in cold weather, before they got their own heated facilities, but also for 31 years held an annual pig roast for the zoo staff with no apparent awareness that the sentience and intellectual capacities of monkeys and pigs are approximately equal.

Arthur R. Watson, 84, director of the Baltimore Zoo from 1948 until 1980, died on December 6 in Dickeyville, Virginia. Watson expanded the zoo collection from just 169 animals to more than 1,000, representing about 200 species. He hosted This Is Your Z o o, a local TV show, 1949-1959, and in retirement founded Arthur Watson’s Zoos, a chain of four stuffed toy shops.

William Appelhof, DVM, 82, who worked for the Detroit Zoo from 1946 until 1982 and became the zoo’s first full-time veterinarian in 1950, died on December 5 in Grand Rapids of a pulmonary embolism. An account of his career published at his retirement recalled as a highlight the time he gave an enema to a hippopotamus.

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