Human obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2001:
Human obituaries

Charles Merieux, 94, died on January 20 in Lyon, France. Founder of the Institute Merieux, acquired by the Rhone-Poulenc drug empire in 1994, the virologist Merieux “had his first success working on an inoculation against foot-and-mouth disease, when he realized that the key was to grow it in a glass container rather than a live animal,” recalled New York Times obituarist Savannah Waring Walker. Merieux markedly improved the quality of vaccines and cut their cost, in monetary terms and in the animal lives needed to produce immunizing cultures. Among his innovations was the now standard human post-exposure rabies vaccine, developed with Hilary Koprowski, M.D. It replaced the vaccine invented by Louis Pasteur, which required 14 injections to the belly to deliver.

Don Richard Eckelberry, 79, died on January 14 from post-surgical respiratory failure. Born in Sebring, Ohio, Eckelberry formed a bird club in his early teens and wrote nature columns for two local newspapers. He met his wife of 54 years, fabric designer and painter Virginia Nepodal Eckelberry, when he took a class from her at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Making optical instruments in California during World War II, Eckelberry met National Audubon Society director John Baker, who in 1946 hired him to illustrate Richard Pough’s Audubon Bird Guide. Eckelberry later managed Audubon sanctuaries in Louisiana, Florida, and New Jersey, and in 1967 cofounded the Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad, but his main career for the rest of his life was painting birds for the Audubon magazine and 14 field guides.

Wes Collins, 73, died on January 17 in Summerville, South Carolina, after a prolonged illness. A veteran of U.S. Navy duty in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, Collins and his wife Mary founded the HELP no-kill shelter in Summerville after his retirement, with fundraising help from the nearby International Primate Protection League. “Wes was an absolute jewel,” IPPL founder Shirley McGreal told ANIMAL PEOPLE.

Dorothy Kaltenbach, 73, an active cat rescuer, died from an apparent heart attack on January 8 in Traverse City, Michigan.

Roger Caras, 72, died from complications of a heart attack on February 18 near his farm in Freeland, Maryland. Director of animatian at Michael Myerberg Productions and a publicist for Columbia Pictures in the 1950s, Caras wrote his first of more than 60 books about animals and habitat, Antarctica: Land of Frozen Time, in 1962, and became “house naturalist” for the NBC Today Show in 1964. Caras was publicist for Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke in 1965-1968, while they made the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1969 he started a radio series, Pets & Wildlife, aired at various times by CBS, NBC, and ABC, and in 1975 became ABC correspondent for animals and the environment, appearing often on ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, 20/20, and Good Morning America. Named president of the American SPCA in 1991, Caras ousted seven senior staff members for alleged corruption during the next three years. Under Caras the ASPCA in 1994 gave up the New York City animal control contract, which it had held since 1895. Caras retired from the ASPCA in 1999, and last year gave up his longtime role as announcer for the Westminister Dog Show due to failing health.

Darlene Snyder, 48, of Raymond, Nebraska, escaped on January 21 from the blazing mobile home she shared with her husband David, but burned to death when she ran back in to try to save several small monkeys. The Snyders had incorporated in 1992 as the Companion Animal Rescue Effort Society.

Shaw Mudge, 77, died at home in Shelton, Connecticut, on January 23. The founder of two successful aromatic compound manufacturing firms, Mudge was honored by the Animal Protection Institute in 1985 for his efforts to win endangered species protection for bears and wolves.

Jack W. Gualtiere, 33, drowned on January 28 in a frozen pond in Perry Township, Ohio, behind the school attended by two of his three young children. Gualtiere apparently rescued their black Labrador retriever mix from the pond but could not extricate himself. He and his wife Denise adopted the dog from a local shelter.

Nick van der Merwe, 55, died suddenly from the tick-borne disease Congo fever on January 20 at Windhoek, Namibia. “Nic and his wife Marieta together built the Harnas Lion Foundation, possibly the largest private wildlife care center in the Southern Hemis-phere,” Chris Mercer of the Kalahari Raptor Centre told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Mercer recently authored a book about Harnas. “He achieved more for wildlife than most well-known conservationists, yet was little known outside of Namibia. Today there are nearly 300 animals at Harnas, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs.”

Katherine Timmerman, 76, died on January 15 in Jacksonville, Florida, where in 1972 she founded the K&C Pet Rescue and Adoption Society.

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