Human obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2004:

Shelby Dow, 56, died on December 24, 2003 in Teaneck, New
Jersey, of a coronary occlusion. Starting as a sheriff’s deputy in
Salt Lake County, Utah, Dow transferred to animal control and in
1978 became animal control director. “Shelby and I worked together
when the National Animal Control Association was getting organized,
and collaborated on a 1981 research study of why people relinquish
animals to shelters,” recalled longtime friend Phil Arkow. After a
stint as vice president of NACA, Dow spent two years with the
American Humane Association. “In 1985, he was recruited as vice
president of the American SPCA in New York City,” the Salt Lake
City Deseret News recalled. “There he oversaw operations in all five
boroughs.” Dow eventually left employment in animal welfare, but his
“commitment to animals continued until his death,” the Deseret News
continued. “He was a consultant to Psychologists for the Ethical
Treat-ment of Animals, and had just organized Animal PAC,” to
promote pro-animal condidates. “His family will continue Animal PAC
in his memory,” the Deseret News said.

John Werler, 81, died of cancer on March 21 in Houston.
Born in Germany, Werler emigrated to New Jersey with his family in
1926. Seeking to discourage Werler from zoo work, his father
burned his books about animals, but Werler took a job at the Staten
Island Zoo anyway. After Coast Guard duty during World War II,
Werler spent nine years at the San Antonio Zoo, moved to the Houston
Zoo in 1956, and directed the Houston Zoo from 1963 to 1992. The
Houston Chronicle credited Werner with introducing professional staff
in place of hiring through political patronage. “He allowed me to
organize animal rights events at the zoo entrance in the early
1980s,” ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett recalls. Credited with
discovering 12 reptiles and amphibians previously unknown to science
in Central America, Werler and Texas A&M University professor
emeritus James Dixon co-authored Texas Snakes: Distribution,
Identification, and Natural History (1992).

David Quigg, 52, of Lexington, Massachusetts, died on
March 8 from complications of major surgery. Quigg was remembered
by the Boston Globe as “an animal activist, environmentalist, and
vegan,” who often tabled on animal issues with his wife Holly

Robert L. Fischer died of a heart attack on October 27,
2003. “He was the founder and executive director of the Golden State
Humane Society in Long Beach and Garden Grove, California, for 30
years,” wrote assistant director Terry Fitzpatrick. Despite the
loss, Fitzpatrick said, the two Golden State clinics achieved
Fischer’s 2003 goal of sterilizing 10,000 dogs and cats.

Patt Davis, 77, died in her sleep on March 22 in Dallas.
Born Patricia Lundstrom in Manistique, Michigan, she arrived in
Dallas to attend flight school during World War II. “While in
Dallas, she met and later married her flight instructor, R. McCree
Davis, of the pioneer Texas banking family,” recalled the Dallas
Morning News. She founded the Garland Humane Society in 1971, which
became the Humane Society of Greater Dallas; cofounded the Texas
Humane Information Network; cofounded The Association of
Sanctuaries; and was a longtime board member and volunteer with many
other humane organizations. Her second of three children, Cile
Holloway of Frisco, Texas, followed her in a lifelong commitment to
humane work in a variety roles with numerous organizations.

Ruth Violet Hogan, 87, died on November 23, 2003, in New
Port Richey, Florida. As a member of the Humane Committee of New
Jersey, Hogan circa 1957 coined the phrase “ABC for Animal Birth
Control” to promote dog and cat sterilization. Relocating to Florida
in 1968, Hogan continued in humane work as a volunteer for Friends
of Animals and the SPCA of Pinellas County until 2001.

Father Jerome Charles Britt, 47, died in his sleep on March
27 in Burlington, Ohio. Britt, pastor of the Immaculate Heart of
Mary Church, was known for his four dogs, three of them pound
rescues, and for his blessings of animals.

Mary Hanmer, 88, died on March 19 in Palmetto, Florida,
her home for seven years. Hanmer was involved in dog rescue for
about 40 years in Hart, Michigan, longtime friend Alice Szuhai told
the Oceana Herald Journal. From 1972 until circa 1995 Hanmer
operated the now defunct K9 Halfway House Adoption Center in Hart.

Ross Witham, 86, the “Turtle Man of Martin County,
Florida,” died on February 27. Witham began hatching baby green sea
turtles in 1957, as a Florida Department of Natural Resources marine
biologist stationed at the House of Refuge Museum on Hutchinson
Island. Supplied with eggs by sea turtle conservationist Archie
Carr, Witham restored green sea turtles to the region by releasing
more than 18,000 hatchlings. By 2000, 471 green sea turtle nests
were found on Hutchinson Island, up from just one when Witham

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