Human Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2004:

Ronald Reagan, 93, U.S. President 1980-1988, died on June
5, 2003 at home in Los Angeles. Recalled Best Friends Animal
Society cofounder Michael Mountain, “Dwight Eisenhower put in the
White House putting green, and had the squirrels trapped and removed
because, he said, they were ruining it. Jimmy Carter also tried to
relocate them because they were damaging the trees. But Ronald
Reagan would squirrel away acorns that he collected from Camp David
and keep them in his desk drawer, and the squirrels would sit
outside the Oval Office waiting for a handout. Some would eat the
acorns right out of his hand. George H. Bush scrapped the Reagan
policy and announced that the squirrels were “history,” sending his
dog Millie to chase them away. Bill Clinton continued the Bush
policy. The current President Bush has allowed his dogs to chase
them, too.” Reagan introduced 25 years of White House antipathy
toward the Endangered Species Act, which he considered an intrusion
on private property rights, but endorsed the Doris Day Animal
League, in honor of his co-star in several films, near the end of
his years in public life.

Lynda Pilger, 39, was killed and her dog Bear was
critically injured on May 27 in Portland, Oregon, when hit by a car
driven by Eric Heinrich, 24. An administrative assistant for the
Animal Legal Defense fund, Pilger “led a campaign for a ballot
measure to prohibit the use of leghold traps, and had testified
before the Oregon legislature and the Oregon Fish & Wildlife
Commission on behalf of animals,” wrote April Simpson of the
Portland Oregonian. Heinrich was arrested for alleged criminally
negligent homicide and reckless driving, but the charges were
dismissed. The Multnomah County district attorney’s office was
awaiting results of a blood test before deciding whether to charge
him with drunk driving.

Judy Thurman, 49, of Roanoke, Virginia, drowned on June
19, 2004, while trying to rescue one of her two small dogs. The
dog had fallen from a pontoon boat rented by Thurman and Brian Amos,

Uraiwan Sansern, 18, an employee of the Sriracha Tiger Zoo
in Chon Buri, Thailand, was fatally mauled while feeding six tigers
on April 30 after she hit a tiger with a stick to make him sit for a
tourist’s photo.

Sandra D. Hoffman, 60, died on May 18 from lymphoma in
Bucks County, Pennsylvnaia. Hoffman and her mother Goldie
Abramowitz in the early 1970s founded the Animal Lovers Association,
to promote pet sterilization and do foster/adoption. They disbanded
the organization shortly before Abramowitz died in 1996.
Kay Hiscocks, staff ecologist for the Lion Sands Lodge in
the Sabi Sands game reserve near Kruger National Park, South Africa,
was trampled on May 4 by a cow elephant from a herd she was trying to
shoo away from the lodge buidlings. Other lodge staff shot the
elephant to try to save Hiscocks.

Alexander F. Skutch, 99, author of more than two dozen
books about birds and natural history, died on May 12 at home in
Costa Rica. “In addition to his books,” Jeremy Pearce of the New
York Times remembered, “Dr. Skutch wrote essays and philosophical
studies in which he defended his theory of biocompatibility, or what
he called ‘the harmonious association of diverse species.'” He
removed snakes and hawks from his property to protect birds, but
claimed he had “never intentionally killed a wild or domestic bird.”

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, 97, died on May 17 2004 in
East London, South Africa. Named curator of the East London Museum
at age 24, she remained in that post until 1973. In 1938 she
recognized a coelacanth, previously known only from fossils more
than 70 million years old, in a pile of freshly landed fish on the
East London dock. Quickly purchasing and preserving the coelacanth,
she then summoned Dr. J.L.B. Smith of Rhodes University to verify the

Cat Margetts, 27, a Calgary veterinary student, escaped
from a 4 a.m. housefire on May 25 for long enough to yell to
neighbors for help, then returned to the burning building to try to
save her pets. Firefighters found Margetts beside the body of her
German shepherd Admi. Five other dogs and two cats died. Two dogs

Wanda Williams, 84, died on May 27 in Benton, Arkansas.
The widow of former Army Lieutenant Colonel Shrable Williams of the
82nd Airborne Division, Wanda Williams became involved in animal
rescue by sheltering abandoned dogs and cats in her basement while
her husband was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Eventually
Williams and Richard G. Knight, DVM, cofounded the Cumberland
County Humane Society. “Retiring” to Arkansas, Williams went on to
cofound the Saline County Humane Society, serving as volunteer
director of the society’s animal orphanage for most of the rest of
her life.

Geraldine Hayward, 85, founder of the DeKalb County Animal
Welfare League in Genoa, Illinois, died on May 29. The league has
operated from a barn on Hayward’s property since inception, housing
about 30 dogs and 65-70 cats at a time, including animals impounded
by DeKalb County Animal Control.

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