Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2008:
Tom Lantos, 80, died on February 11, 2008. A longtime
animal advocate, Lantos chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee in the
U.S. House of Representatives. For details of his life and deeds,
see the ANIMAL PEOPLE editorial for March 2008, Tom Lantos: a
Wilburforce for our time.

Fred Bergendorff, 63, died on January 27, 2008 in Brea,
California, after a four-month struggle with a neurological illness.
A longtime marketing director for radio KNX in Los Angeles,
“Bergendorff created the TV show Pet Place in the early 1990s,”
recalled <www.thepetplace.org>, “first on the cable system in Long
Beach and then on KDOC-TV, where it continues today with new host
Mickey Laszlo. A radio version began in 2006 on KGIL. It continues
with Marie Hulett as host.” Pet Place showcases shelter animals
available for adoption. Both versions are produced by Gary Lycan.

Galyani Vadhana, 84, Princess of Narathiwat, Thailand,
elder sister of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, died on January 2,
2008. Born in England, Princess Galyani studied in Switzerland,
then returned to Thailand as a professor of French language, history
and literature at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Princess
Galyani in 2002 became royal patron of the National Elephant
Institute in Lampang, and adopted three elephants, Phang Phra Thida
Juthanant, 14, Phang Wanalee, 10, and Phang Aleena, four, who
shared her birthday. “With the Princess’ support,” recalled Lampai
Intathep of the Bangkok Post, “the National Elephant Institute
established Thailand’s first elephant hospital, which provides free
medical treatment for sick and injured jumbos,” as well as operating
a breeding program, and in April 2007 introduced “elephant therapy”
to assist autistic children.

Janez Drnovsek, 57, the vegan former president of Slovenia,
died on February 23, 2008 at his home in Ljubljana. As prime
minister of Slovenia, 1991-2002, Drnovsek led an almost bloodless
transition to national independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia,
avoiding the warfare that engulfed Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, and
Serbia. Developing cancer in 1999, Drnovsek became a vegan in his
quest for a cure. He found that giving up meat soon increased his
sensitivity toward animals. “If a person’s conscience is highly
developed, that person will not kill or be cruel to animals,”
Drnovsek told Damjan Likar of the Slovenian Society for the Rights &
Liberation of Animals in December 2005. “Hunting, which is by
definition chasing and killing animals, is of course, completely
unethical,” Drnovsek added. Of animal testing, Drnovsek said,
“You have to ask yourself would you like it if you were the subject
of such testing. During World War II my father was an inmate at the
Dachau concentration camp, where he was subjected to medical
experiments. He didn’t like it one bit. Some people would say it is
necessary for the progress of science, but I am sure that in most
cases alternative methods can be used.” Of Christmas feasts,
Drnovsek said “Jesus would turn in his grave if he knew that mass
slaughter of animals is carried out every year in his name. It is
very difficult to imagine that he would accept millions of living
creatures being killed in his honor.” Reminded Drnovsek in April
2007, in one of his last public statements, “The Easter Holidays
are near. Let’s spend them in peace and good company. You can
renounce the ham. Chocolate eggs should be sufficient for an Easter
atmosphere.”

Dale Hylton, 77, died on February 1, 2008 in Decatur,
Illinois, shortly after relocating from Canby, Oregon. Hired in
1964 as first assistant to Frank McMahon, the first investigator for
the Humane Society of the U.S., Hylton left a job in electric
lighting sales to shed light on the traffic in dogs and cats to
laboratories. His work led to the introduction of kennel licensing
in Pennsylvania and contributed to the passage of the federal
Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, which in 1971 was amended
into the present Animal Welfare Act. Later in 1966, recounted HSUS
historian Bernard Unti, a dog dealer who had been convicted of
cruelty as result of Hylton’s findings “filed charges against Hylton
under an obscure 1894 statute originally intended to prevent
strikebreakers from misrepresenting their identities. The offense
carried a maximum penalty of $1,000 and one year in jail. Although
HSUS was prepared to defend him, Hylton pleaded guilty to save
costs, in a country courthouse packed with dog dealers, some of whom
made little effort to conceal the firearms they were carrying. After
HSUS agreed to pay Hylton’s fine of $250 plus $160 in court costs),
the judge quickly ordered him and his supporting witnesses into
private chambers, where he showed them an outside exit and told them
to leave town immediately.” Hylton next investigated rodeo abuse,
but was frustrated by defendants fleeing the jurisdictions where he
filed complaints. “Cowboys seem to be very brave when it comes to
jerking an animal around on the end of a rope, but not when it comes
to facing a magistrate,” Hylton observed. Hylton later served as
interim director of the HSUS office in New Jersey, then was founding
director of the National Humane Education Center, built and operated
by HSUS at Waterford, Virginia, on property acquired by Edith
Goode, founder of the Edith J. Goode Residuary Trust for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. With Phyllis Wright, then
heading Washington Animal Rescue League and later head of companion
animal programs at HSUS until her death in 1992, Hylton campaigned
to replace electrocution, decompression, and gassing of homeless
animals with sodium pentobarbital injections. Hylton told Unti that
a gas chamber and decompression chamber installed at the National
Humane Education Center were never used. The center handled animal
control for Loudoin County, Virginia, and was turned over to county
operation in the mid-1970s. Working with children’s book author Jean
McClure Kelty and Unexpected Wildlife Refuge founder Hope Sawyer
Buyukmihci, Hylton attempted to incorporate the programs of the
Kindness Club into HSUS. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder
Paul Watson credits the work of the Kindness Club and founder Aida
Fleming, of New Brunswick, as important influences in his early
life. While the Kindness Club eventually continued as an independent
project, current HSUS West Coast regional director Eric Sakach
became involved in humane work as a member during Hylton’s tenure.
The newsletters Hylton and colleagues created to address students of
different age levels evolved into HSUS Kind News, distributed by
subscription to classrooms throughout the U.S. Hylton, Wright,
Franz Dantler, Pat Parkes, and HSUS board member Anna Fesmire went
on to form the HSUS shelter accreditation program. Hylton retired in
1998.

Jelica Mrkusic died on January 20, 2008, in Belgrade,
Serbia. “She fought selflessly for many years against cruelty to
animals, was influential in introducing laws to protect domestic
animals as well as pets, and was a founder of the monthly newsletter
of the Belgrade SPCA,” recalled her daughter, Marjanka Mrkusic
Brown.

Molly Keane, 42, of Berkeley, California, drowned on
February 16, 2008, at Gualala Point Regional Park in an
unsuccessful effort to rescue her dog from a riptide. The dog also
drowned.

Stella Brewer Marsden, 56, died on January 31, 2007.
Born in the Seychelles, where her father Edward Brewer was a forest
officer, she moved with her family to Gambia in 1957, then was
educated at boarding school in Wales. Returning to Gambia, Stella
Brewer in 1968 took over the care of an orphaned chimpanzee named
William. More orphaned chimps soon followed. Founding the
Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust in 1969, she initially kept the
chimps at the Abuko Nature Reserve. Following a 1973 internship with
Jane Goodall at her Gombe Stream research center in Tanzania, Stella
Brewer in 1974 tried to reintroduce some of her chimps to the wild at
Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal. “Much of the time she was
alone, and occasionally during the wet season, when streams became
impassible torrents, she was cut off for weeks. It was an
adventurous time: treed by buffalo, chased and stung by African
bees, stalked by lions,” recalls the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation
Trust web site. “The move to Niokolo Koba was financed by the
advance from the publishers of her book, The Forest Dwellers (1978).
The book was on the (London) Times’ best seller list for several
weeks and was translated into 16 languages. Subsequent royalties
sustained the project for some time,” the web site adds. “The late
Hugo van Lawick filmed and produced a documentary, Stella and the
Chimps of Mt. Asserik,” based on the book. After the reintroduction
failed, Stella Brewer in 1979 settled at the present Chimpanzee
Rehabilitation Trust location in the River Gambia National Park. The
sanctuary now houses 86 chimps, including 19 of the original
population, under direction of David Marsden, Stella Brewer’s
husband since 1977. The sanctuary also operates a village clinic and
a school for 300 local children. Her sister, Heather Armstrong,
formed the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust in 2002. Both sisters, and
Marsden, have contributed letters and guest columns to ANIMAL PEOPLE.

Stan Walker, 86, died at home on January 1, 2008 in Reno,
Nevada, leaving $5 million to the SPCA of Northern Nevada and about
$1 million to the Nevada Humane Society. Both bequests will fund
improvements in facilities, said SPCA of Northern Nevada executive
director Tom Jacobs and Nevada Humane Society executive director
Bonney Brown. Born in San Mateo, Calif-ornia, Walker signed in
1941 with the San Francisco Seals professional baseball team, and
played on option for Salt Lake City, Merced, and El Paso. World
War II duty with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific interrupted
Walker’s baseball ambitions, but he returned to pro ball with
Jackson, Natchez and Thibodaux in 1947 and 1949 before starting a
long career with United Parcel Service.

Markus Groh, 49, an Austrian attorney, was killed by a
shark on February 24, 2008 while diving off Great Isaac Cay in the
Bahamas with other members of an Austrian tour group. The group
reached the Bahamas aboard the Shear Water, owned and operated by
Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures in Riviera Beach. “Jim Abernethy’s
peers had warned him that his practice of taking divers to open
waters, dumping chum to bait the beasts and then sending in divers
without a steel cage would prove deadly some day,” reported Miami
Herald investigative team Adam H. Beasley, Alison Hollenbeck, Susan
Cocking, and Evan S. Benn. “Abernethy’s company has been cautioned
by the Bahamas Diving Association to use more care,” the Herald team
continued. “The diving association, of which Abernethy is not a
member, sent Scuba Adventures and other dive operators a
‘cease-and-desist’ letter last year, urging that cageless dives be
done only around safer shark varieties such as Caribbean reef sharks,
nurse sharks, black-tip sharks and silky sharks. The Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned shark-feeding dives in
2001.” George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack
File at the University of Florida, told the Herald that Groh was the
first known fatality associated with shark-watching. A different
Markus Groh, a musician in New York City, has performed in benefits
for shark conservation.

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