Human Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2002:

William George, M.D., in his early eighties, died at the
Hamad General Hospital, Qatar, on June 1. George was a longtime
member of the International Primate Protection League advisory board.
“I first heard of him when I read his devastating critique of the
gruesome cat experiments at the American Museum of Natural History
back in the 1970s,” recalled IPPL founder Shirley McGreal. “I could
not believe that a medical doctor could be so compassionate, and
suspected that the critique was a fake. I checked with the coalition
formed by late Henry Spira to protest against the cat experiments,
and was told that Dr. George practised in Miami. I was in Miami soon
afterward and called him. His pro-animal actions were too many to
list, but two stand out. First, in the 1980s he posed as a Middle
Eastern medical researcher seeking endangered primates for research.
He successfully exposed a Belgian animal dealer for ape smuggling.
Second, as late as September 2001, long after he was diagnosed with
the cancer that took his life, he joined in a campaign to return to
Africa two chimpanzees who were confiscated in Qatar. He got up from
his sickbed to see the animals off as they were flown to new homes at
the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia. Dr. George always
supported generously overseas rescue centers,” McGreal continued,
“including Limbe in Cameroon,” which is a special project of IPPL.
“Dr. George was a dermatologist,” McGreal added. “During one visit
to IPPL, he removed a small growth from the finger of an adult
female gibbon who was not anesthetized–no mean feat. He attended
several biennial IPPL Members’ Meetings, the most recent being in
March 2002. He was very, very ill, but decided that he just had to
be with his primate and human friends here in Summerville one last
time.”

Dorothy Spelko, 86, died on May 22 in Euclid, Ohio. A
founding member of Citizens for Pet Responsibility, Spelko “was one
of Euclid’s first animal control officers,” for whom a municipal
shelter built in 1983 was named, and for 55 years “rescued stray and
homeless animals in and around Cuyahoga County,” recalled friend
Beverly Ankert. “She recently cofounded the Spelko-Pal Chow Animal
Rescue Group,” Ankert added, “and was actively helping with the
animals until April.”
Dorothy Reynolds, 86, died on November 29, 2001, in
Jackson, Michigan. Reynolds in 1960 learned that Jackson County
Animal Control was using strychnine to kill homeless dogs and cats.
She complained to the Cascades Humane Society, but found them
killing animals in a gas chamber. Both shelters also sold dogs and
cats to laboratories. Reynolds formed the Jackson Animal Protective
Association to pressure them into reform. She also clashed often
with local hunters and trappers, including
rock-and-roller-turned-hunting-promoter Ted Nugent. By her later
years, Reynolds had outlived virtually all of her old foes and her
local supporters as well. Younger activists and humane workers who
did not recall the conditions she fought against during the 1960s and
1970s were bewildered by her lingering vehemence.

Milton C. Shedd, 79, died from cancer on May 27 in Newport
Beach, California. Originally an investment banker, Shedd was
involved in marine conservation most of his life, “but his most
famous project was SeaWorld San Diego,” Associated Press recalled,
which “began as a plan by four fraternity brothers to open a
restaurant with a marine show. With an initial investment of $1.5
million, SeaWorld opened in 1964,” soon after the debut of another
Shedd project, the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. Shedd later
led the expansion of SeaWorld to Orlando, Florida, and Akron,
Ohio. The Akron site was recently sold to Six Flags Inc.

Ioan Bodoga, 46, keeper of a four-year-old bear named
Serban at the Oradea Zoo in Romanaia since the bear was born, was
fatally mauled and reportedly partially eaten by the bear in early
June, soon after the bear was separated from his mother.

Qi Jinshou, a zoo bear-keeper in Hangzhou, China, was
fatally mauled on May 25 while cleaning two bears’ cage. Co-worker
Hu Shunliang was critically injured in attempting to rescue him, but
was reported out of danger by May 27.

Bhim Dev Varma, a former member of Animal Welfare Board of
India, remembered by the AWB as “father and benefactor to all the
homeless dogs of Khan Market, Golf Links, and Lodhi Park” in New
Delhi, died on April 9. “His wife Reeta is carrying on his
mission,” the AWB said.
Caroline Knapp, 42, died on June 3 from lung cancer in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, just six weeks after she was diagnosed
and three weeks after her marriage to companion Mark Morrelli. A
columnist for the Boston Phoenix, 1985-1999, Knapp enjoyed her
first big success with her 1996 memoir Drinking: A Love Story,
about her life as a “high-functioning alcoholic” and anorexic. The
affection and loyalty of her dog pulled her back from the brink of
self-destruction. “I am in love with my dog,” Knapp confessed in
her most popular book, Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between
People and Dogs (1998). “I’m 38 and I’m single, and I’m having my
most gratifying relationship with a dog. But we all learn about love
in different ways, and this way happens to be mine.”

Emanuel Rodrieguez, 56, of Margate, Florida, was killed
in front of his wife on June 18 when he left their car to try to
remove a turtle from Boynton Beach Boule-vard and was hit by a car
driven by Rochelle Roth, of Boynton Beach. The turtle survived.

Joe Watson, home developer and board president of the Pets
‘n’ Friends animal rescue society in Apple Valley, California, died
on May 28–the day Pets ‘n’ Friends received notice that it had until
June 30 to relocate from the warehouse it has occupied since 1996,
to make room for a stereo store.

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