Human obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July/August 2003:

Nathania Gartman,  55,  died on July 4,  2003 from cancer.  A
cofounder of the Best Friends Animal Society,  Gartman “was raised in
Alabama and Louisiana,  and often talked of the turbulence of those
early days of de-segregation in the South,  having witnessed racial
discrimination first hand in the schools she attended,”  recalled
fellow Best Friends cofounder Faith Maloney.  “She became a champion
for people of all colors and creeds.  As a young woman,  she felt a
strong calling to serve God,  and worked for a while with the Billy
Graham Crusades, playing the organ at events throughout the South.
Later,  as Daffydil the Clown,  she worked with abused and sick
children in hospitals and institutions all over the country.  At Best
Friends,  Nathania began working with local schools,  and later
helped launch Utah’s Week for the Animals,”  with art and literature
programs complementing humane presentations in schools statewide.
“She was particularly proud of her work with Genesis, a restitution
program for young people out of the Utah Department of Corrections,”
Maloney added.  “Her work quickly went beyond the state, first with
several projects in Arizona on the Navajo Nation,  and then into
national programs.  She served on the board of the Association of
Professional Humane Educators,  and became president of the
organization. Even as she battled the cancer that would end her life
too early, she never missed a board meeting.  Teaching young people
to love animals was her passion and her life.”

Edwin Smith,  DVM,  87,  died on June 27 of respiratory
failure after a long illness at his home in Pueblo,  Colorado.   In
May 1950 Smith offered free care at his Santa Fe clinic to any
animals who might be saved from the 17,000-acre Capitan wildfire in
southern New Mexico.  Finding an injured six-month-old black bear cub
clinging to a charred tree,  a firefighter dubbed him “Hot Foot
Teddy” and took him to New Mexico game warden Ray Bell.  Bell,  a
licensed pilot,   flew the cub to Santa Fe.  By the time Smith had
restored the cub to health,  he had become Smokey,  official mascot
of the U.S. Forest Service fire prevention program.  Sent to the
National Zoo in Washington D.C.,  the original Smokey died in 1976.
Smith visited him in 1962,  and in 1997  told the Pueblo Chieftan
that Smokey seemed to recognize and greet him.  Smith later treated
laboratory monkeys at Los Alamos,  helped to develop Purina Monkey
Chow,  sedated a deer for use in an accident scene in the TV program
Route 66,   treated the chow dogs of artist Georgia O’Keeffe,  and
drove a covered wagon alongside John Wayne in The Cowboys.

Benjamin Hernandez,  29,  a frequent petting zoo volunteer at
Rachel’s Country Corner in San Antonio,  Texas,  was fatally trampled
and gored on April 25 when he tried to clean a bison pen without
moving the bison to another pen first.  Several years earlier the
bison reportedly injured a man who tried to ride him.

Richard Pough,  99,  died on June 24 from brain cancer at his
home on Martha’s Vineyard,  Massachusetts.  Photographing the scene
of a bird massacre in 1932 at Hawk Mountain,  Pennsylvania,  Pough
in 1934 persuaded New York socialite Rosalie Edge to lease the
1,400-acre site and manage it for conservation.  She bought it
outright in 1938.   Pough meanwhile was hired by the National Audubon
society in 1936.  From 1938 to 1948 he produced a trio of bird guides
for Audubon that sold more than a million copies.  In 1945 Pough
warned in a New Yorker essay about the harm done to wildlife by DDT
and other pesticides,  17 years before Rachel Carson published Silent
Spring.  Pough in 1948 became chair of conservation and general
ecology for the American  Museum of Natural History,  supervising
construction of the Hall of North American Forests,  and joined the
Ecologists Union,  which in 1950 Pough and others reorganized as The
Nature Conservancy.  Pough served as TNC president until 1956.  He
later founded the Natural Areas Council and the Open Space Institute,
and was involved in the formation of the World Wildlife Fund.

Tom Smith,  38,   disappeared off Kaikoura,  New Zealand on
June 16 after he was hit by the tail of a humpback whale he was
trying to free from a craypot fishing line,  and is presumed to have
drowned.  The craypot line was reportedly his own.  The incident was
witnessed by 30 tourists aboard a nearby Whalewatch Kaikoura vessel.
Smith,  who ran a fishing charter business,  had saved two other
entangled humpbacks under similar circumstances,  and in 2001 was
honored for his actions by the New Zealand Royal SPCA.  He left a
pregnant wife and two children.

Johnny Wright Jr.,  51,  of Wortham,  Texas,  reportedly
despondent over the death of his dog,   on June 7 left a bar in
LaPlace,  Louisiana,  and walked– apparently deliberately–into the
path of a pickup truck on U.S. 61.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.