Human Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2001:


John C. Lilly, 86, died September 30 in Los Angeles. After
researching the physiology of high-altitude flight during World War
II, Lilly did investigations preliminary to space travel, inventing
the isolation tank in 1954 to simulate weightlessness. Seeking to
explore methods of communicating with aliens, Lilly founded the
Communi-cation Research Institute on St. Thomas to study dolphins as
aliens-surrogate, and became a frequent visitor to the Miami
Seaquarium, where he profoundly influenced apprentice trainer Rick
Feldman, known since 1970 as dolphin freedom advocate Ric O’Barry.
A chapter of O’Barry’s 1988 autobiography Behind The Dolphin Smile is
titled “The Lilly Factor.” At first awed by Lilly’s discoveries
about dolphin intelligence, O’Barry later developed deep misgivings
about his use of vivisection. After O’Barry began releasing
dolphins, they went different ways. Lilly wrote 19 books,
including Man and Dolphin and The Mind of the Dolphin, claimed he
could understand dolphin language while on LSD, and promoted the
notion of humans and cetaceans enjoying a spiritual bond. His work
inspired the films The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Altered States
(1980), and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).

Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, 88, died on June 20 at the 540-acre
Unexpected Wildlife Refuge in Newfield, New Jersey, which she began
with her late husband Cavit Buyukmihci in 1961. Recalled her son
Nedim Buyukmihci, DVM, founder of the Association of Veterinarians
for Animal Rights, and husband of Animal Place sanctuary founder Kim
Sturla, “In 1970 Hope created Beaver Defenders, the first major
beaver protection organization in the world. She and my father were
instrumental in banning leghold traps in New Jersey. She wrote the
books Unexpected Treasure and Hour of the Beaver, and co-authored
Beaversprite: My Years Building an Animal Sanctuary with Dorothy
Richards. The refuge is now managed by Sarah Summerville, a family

Ron Blakely, 69, founding director of the Sedgewick County
Zoo in Wichita, died at home of natural causes on October 2.
Recalled Lori O’Toole Buselt of the Wichita Eagle, “Blakely,
nicknamed Mr. Zoo, came to Wichita in 1967 from Chicago with a
vision of building from scratch a zoo that showcased animals’ natural
habitat. Blakely found an empty milo field in northwest Wichita,
and three years and $4 million later, the zoo was opened.” He
retired in 1990.

Joseph Slowinski, “one of the world’s leading venomous snake
experts,” employed by the California Academy of the Sciences in San
Francisco, died on September 12 “while working in Myanmar, Burma,
after being bitten by a snake during a scientific field trip,” CAS
announced. “Details of what exactly happened are still trickling
in.” Slowinski had been studying the reptiles of Burma since 1997.

Robert Stevens, 63, died from anthrax on October 6, the
first known victim of bioterrorism believed to have been directed at
news media and politicians by associates of the terrorists who
hijacked airliners on September 11 and crashed them into the World
Trade Center and Pentagon. Photo editor for The Sun, a supermarket
tabloid published by American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida,
Stevens emigrated from England to take the job in 1973. For about 20
years his main hobby was fishing, but eventually neighbor Susan
Carmichael got him interested in cat rescue. “I helped him trap
feral cats, and we had them neutered,” she told Jo Thomas of The
New York Times. Added Thomas, “He made shelters for the cats out
of picnic tables, and went with her to feed colonies of restaurant cats.”

Angel Juarbe, 35, rescuer of eight stray dogs, who
returned from a wildlife-viewing safari to Tanzania in 1998 just two
days before terrorists trained by Osama bin Laden bombed the U.S.
embassy there, was among the firefighters with Ladder Company 12 in
Chelsea who died on September 11 when the World Trade Center
collapsed. He had just won $250,000 and a new Jeep from a Fox
network game show.

Nancy Farley, 45, a Jersey City cat rescuer, died on
Sepotember 11 at her job with Reinsurance Solutions Inc. on the
94th floor of 1 World Trade Center.

Timothy O’Sullivan, an employee of the Wildlife Conservation
Society, died on September 11 at the World Trade Center. “In honor
of his memory,” WCS said, “we will donate to the recovery and
relief effort all gate proceeds received on Saturday, September 29,
at the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, and the Central Park,
Prospect Park, and Queens Zoos.”

Catherine L. Loguidice, 30, a Brooklyn cat rescuer, died
September 11 at her job as a Cantor Fitzgerald bond trader on the
105th floor of 1 World Trade Center.

Jean A. Andrucki, “a committed member of the
<> community,” died September 11 at her job in the
New York/New Jersey Port Authority treasury office at the World Trade

Colin Bonnett, 39, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a
Barbados-born equestrian, cat rescuer, and former veterinary
assistant, died on September 11 at his job as a Marsh & McLennan
telecommuications expert in the World Trade Center.

Laura Rockefeller, 41, of White Plains, New York, is to
be memorialized with a bench at the dog run in Riverside Park, New
York City. She died on September 11 while directing a seminar for
Risk Waters at Windows on the World in the World Trade Cente. She
left two cats, Uff and Parker, and a German shepherd mix, J.T,
who reportedly still runs to the door looking for her at each
approach of a car.

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