Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2006:

Harry Rowsell, 84, died on February 3, 2006. From 1968
to 1992 Rowsell served as founding director of the Canadian Council
of Animal Care, formed to supervise animal welfare in laboratories.
He also served as a member of the Scientists Center for Animal
Welfare board of trustees, 1983-1986. The SCAW Rowsell Award is
named in his honor. A veterinary pathlogist, Rowsell witnessed the
Atlantic Canada seal hunt in 1973, as a member of the Canadian
Ministry of Fisheries’ Seals & Sealing Committee. “It’s a hell of a
thing,” he testified afterward. “Stop telling people to write
letters to Canada and Norway,” Rowsell advised activists. “Tell
them instead to start a worldwide campaign against wearing fur.”
Rowsell “brought many reforms to Canada on animal experimentation,
and on the use of animals in education. He was a great friend of
[Animal Welfare Institute founder] Christine Stevens, and a major
influence on me,” In The Name of Science author Barbara Orlans told
ANIMAL PEOPLE.

Prahlad Gowala, of Golaghat, Assam state, India, “died
young on January 6, reporting against the wildlife crimes of
so-called protectors who have turned predators,” colleague Azam
Siddiqui told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Reported The Hindu, “Journalists sat
in protest wearing black masks, boycotting the Kaziranga Elephant
Festival,” held a few days later, “demanding justice for the
murder of Goala, a correspondent for the regional daily Asomiya
Khaba in Thuramukh. Married and the father of a 14-month-old girl,
Goala was run down by a car while traveling on a motorcycle. He was
then repeatedly stabbed by several men and died of head injuries.”
Nambar Reserve senior forest ranger K.Z. Zaman Jinnah “was arrested
on suspicion of hiring men to kill Goala,” The Hindu added. “Jinnah
made death threats against Goala and his family after Goala wrote a
series of articles a week before, accusing him of corruption and
misconduct.” The Telegraph, of Calcutta, reported that “The
journalist was knocked down by Jinnah’s vehicle.”

Vaughn Brady, 71, of Armstrong Township, Pennsylvania,
on February 15 tried to rescue a calf who had fallen through ice on a
pond, but died with the calf when his safety rope pulled loose.

Coretta Scott King, 78, widowed by the 1968 assassination
of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., died on January 30,
2006, in Atlanta. After the assassination, Mrs. King raised their
four children, including son Dexter Scott King, now also a
prominent civil rights leader, and continued as many of her late
husband’s projects as she could. Through the influence of
comedian/activist and animal advocate Dick Gregory, Dexter Scott
King became a vegetarian in 1987. Mrs. King followed him into
veganism in 1995. Longtime friend Barbara A. Reynolds and others
close to her emphasized her vegan beliefs in published remembrances.

James W. Fitzgerald, 88, died of cancer on January 16 in
New London, Connecticut. “At a cocktail party in Annapolis in 1964,
Fitzgerald mentioned to a Navy admiral that dolphins, who rely on
natural sonar for hearing and navigation, might prove useful in
warfare,” Washington Post staff writer Joe Holley recounted. “The
admiral introduced him to a CIA specialist in underwater combat. As
Fitzgerald’s wife recalled, the CIA sent him to Key West, where he
set up a classified laboratory to study whether dolphin hydrodynamics
could be applied to the design of submarines, torpedoes, and
missiles, and whether the animals could be trained to perform
missions. Working with a half-dozen dolphins, he and his associates
learned that dolphins could be used to seek underwater mines, attach
explosives and eavesdropping devices on enemy ships, and help divers
recover lost items.”

John L. Behler, 62, died from congestive heart failure on
January 31, 2006, at home in Amawalk, New York. Behler joined the
Bronx Zoo staff in 1970, becoming curator of herpetology in 1976.
In 1979 Behler and F. Wayne King co-authored the National Audubon
Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians. “Behler
made impassioned efforts to preserve rare species of tortoises in
Madagascar as well as turtles and alligators in China, even as he
advocated for less colorful creatures found in ponds and bogs in New
York State,” recalled Jeremy Pearce of The New York Times. “In the
early 1990s he warned about the increasing trade in wild Asian
turtles in China,” but instead of working to discourage turtle
consumption, Behler endorsed farming turtles. Turtle farming now
provides legal cover to poachers, who are as active as ever,
typically now marketing their prey as “farmed.”

Roberta Keese, 63, died after a long illness on February 3
in Randolph, Massa-chusetts. Keese founded the no-kill Hilltop
Humane society in 1965, and headed it for the rest of her life.
“Back in 1991 when I was launching the Neponset Valley Humane
Society, Roberta was a huge help,” recalled Bonney Brown of Alley
Cat Allies. “She was an inspiration and truly a mentor to me.”
Peter Benchley, 65, died at home in Princeton, New Jersey
on February 11 from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The grandson of
humorist Robert Benchley and son of Nathaniel Benchley, author of
historical books for children, Peter Benchley worked for the
Washington Post and Newsweek, spent two years as a speechwriter for
President Lyndon Johnson, then published his best-selling first
novel Jaws, about a serial-killing great white shark, in 1974. He
later co-authored the screenplay for the Steven Spielberg film Jaws.
Benchley spent much of the rest of his life as an advocate of sharks,
hosting television programs, writing for National Geographic, and
serving on the Environmental Defense national council. “He cared
very much about sharks. He spent most of his life trying to explain
to people that if you are in the ocean, you’re in the shark’s
territory,” said his wife of 41 years, Wendy Benchley.

Kevin Li, 50, who for the last 10 years of his life led
efforts to restore purple martins to the Seattle area, died from an
apparent heart attack on January 28 while scuba diving near the
Keystone ferry dock on Whidbey Island, Washington. “While in high
school, he worked in the invertebrate lab at the Smithsonian.
Institution,” wrote Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Gordy Holt.
“He went on to participate in an Audubon Society puffin recovery
project in Maine. He counted fish in the Bering Sea, worked on a
lizard project in Honduras, and attached himself to a shrimp program
in El Salvador.”

Solomon Mthembu, 33, a game ranger at the Thanda Game
Reserve in Mkhunze. KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was killed on
February 18 by a raging elephant. Although Mthembu and two fellow
rangers who were on patrol with him all had weapons, none fired
them, said Thanda superintendent Jay Naicker.

Catherine “Dodie” Cariaso, 56, on January 12, 2006
“allegedly robbed a bank in Loveland [Colorado] and led officers on a
15-minute chase down country backroads, across the Larimer-Boulder
County line,” Chris Barge of the Rocky Mountain News reported. “It
ended when she pulled over, brandished a toy pistol that appeared to
be a revolver, and was shot dead.” Cariaso, an alleged puppy
miller whose American Kennel Club registration was cancelled, “was
jailed last year for 60 days after authorities found she had gone out
of town, abandoning 84 Labrador retrievers, 54 of them so sick they
had to be euthanized,” Burge recalled.

Gina Gracio of Escondido, Calif-ornia, founder of San Diego
Pet Rescue in Poway, was killed along with two small dogs in a
fiery January 12 head-on collision in Foster, just south of Poway,
when a tractor/trailer rig made a sudden stop and jackknifed into her
lane, hitting her car twice and flipping it over. Gracio
volunteered for other local organizations for four years before
starting San Diego Pet Rescue in 2002.

Mack “Jack” Slye Crippen, 77, died on February 9, 2006
from pneumonia in Reston, Virginia. By turns a dairy farmer,
cattle auctioneer, land developer, banker, and landfill operator,
Crippen took up fox hunting and steeplechase racing as he made his
fortune. He started the Reston Pet-a-Pet Zoo, later known as the
Reston Animal Park, in the late 1970s, then sold it in 1980. After
a 1999 relocation, it became the Leesburg Animal Park. Forced to
close a landfill he owned in Great Falls, Crippen in 1988 turned the
site into his second roadside zoo, called Lockmoor Park. “He served
for five years on the Fairfax County animal control board,” recalled
Washington Post staff writer Patricia Sullivan, but “Fairfax’s
animal warden hauled him into court because he lacked required
permits to own and breed exotic animals.” Crippen and his zoos were
unflatteringly depicted in Animal Underworld, by Alan Green (1999).

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *