Obituaries [Dec. 2008]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2008:


Right: Ray Fadden about 50 years ago with his pet porcupine
Needles. “Dad had the knack of picking up Needles,” recalls son
John Fadden. “One evening when the light wasn’t good, he picked up
a wild porcupine by mistake. He wondered why he put up such a fuss.
He even put him in his huge chicken wire-covered teepee cage. Later,
the real Needles roamed home, and Dad realized his mistake. Needless
to say he let the other one free, and he hurried away as fast as he
could, which wasn’t too fast, as you know. When he was young,
Dad had an un-descented skunk too,” John Fadden added. “The skunk
lived in his camp/shack in back of the house, he told me.”

Ray Fadden-Tehanetorens, 98, died on November 14, 2008 at
the Iakhihsotha nursing home in Akwesasne, the Mohawk nation located
on either side of the U.S. and Canadian border near Massena, New
York, and St. Regis, Ontario. Born in a farmhouse five miles east
of Onchiota, New York, Fadden met his wife Christine Chubb, who
survives him, while teaching elementary school at the Tuscarora
Reservation, near Niagara Falls. He also met and began helping
Clinton Rickard, founder of the Indian Defense League of America.
Moving to the St. Regis Mohawk School in Hogansburg, New York,
Fadden taught science to generations of young Mohawks by emphasizing
outdoor nature study. Not harming or disturbing animals was central
to his teaching. “He loved animals and passed that tradition on to
my sons, myself, and many, many others. He also was a strong
advocate for First Nations People, and we continue to carry on his
work at the museum he created,” e-mailed his son, artist and
longtime ANIMAL PEOPLE reader John Fadden-Kahiones. At 90, recalled
songwriter Roy Hurd, Fadden admitted, “I’m slowing down. I’m only
feeding the birds at 200 places in the woods instead of 300.”
Recalled Plattsburgh Press Republican staff writer Robin Caudell,
“In the early 1940s, Fadden created the Akwesasne Mohawk Counselor
Organization, designed to educate Mohawk children about Native
history, woodcraft, and Mohawk tradition, and to develop a
positive self-image.” As appropriate educational materials were not
available, Fadden published 27 relevant pamphlets and 40 charts
himself, many of them still in print in editions produced by other
publishers. Fadden founded the Six Nations Indian Museum near
Onchiota in 1954. Fadden taught seventh grade science at Saranac
Central School from 1957 to 1967, operating the museum each summer,
then retired to focus on teaching museum visitors. Wrote Doug
George-Kanentiio, “Without Tehanetorens there would not have been a
White Roots of Peace, an Akwesasne Notes, CKON Radio, Indian Time,
Freedom School, or Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs. There would be
no land claims. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne would still be the
St. Regis Band Council. Akwesasne as a place of power would not be.
We would still be calling ourselves the St. Regis Indians. The new
scholarship which is finally seeing us as we were, and are, would
not have taken root. He inspired students from everywhere.” But a
fiercely expressed central part of his message was less amplified.
“Folks out there always heard his message about First Nations
people,” affirmed John Fadden, “but didn’t really hear the animal
part. He undeniably was an advocate for animals, trees, waters,
sky, clouds, rocks–all of it. Animals and birds were his first
love since he was a kid. He learned that traditionally among most
Native Nations there was a respect for nature, i.e., birds,
plants, four-leggeds, etc., and that’s what directed him toward
that history and culture.” Fadden taught that harming animals in any
way for fun or profit is profane. Mohawk participation in commercial
fur trapping was the sin that destroyed the Six Nations, along with
their wildlife family, Fadden believed. A lifelong opponent of
hunting and trapping, who for decades fed bears at remote locations
to keep them from being shot for seeking food in proximity to humans,
Fadden emphasized that it is today moral opposition to sport and
commercial hunting, trapping, whaling, and sealing –often
rationalized by association with traditional Native American
practice–that most honors Native American religious belief. Ray
Fadden in a 1989 discussion over his woodstove urged ANIMAL PEOPLE
editor Merritt Clifton to found a newspaper for people who care about
animals in the spirit of Akwesasne Notes, the First Nations
newspaper that both Ray and John Fadden helped to found, describing
ANIMAL PEOPLE in concept three years before it existed

Mona Lefebvre, 93, died on August 1, 2008 in Topeka,
Kansas. Born in Egypt, of French parents, she came to the U.S. via
marriage. Living first in Pennsylv-ania, she was appalled by
U.S.-style sport hunting. In the early 1970s, when most major U.S.
humane societies were reluctant to confront hunting, Lefebvre began
collecting promises from leading humane organizations that they would
at least work to abolish chase pens and “canned hunts,” in which the
hunted animals have no chance to escape. Twenty years later, as a
charter subscriber to ANIMAL PEOPLE, Lefebvre wrote that the
promises had not been kept. Some progress has been made since then.
Chase pens and canned hunts have been banned or restricted in several
states. The federal Lacey Act, governing interstate transport of
wildlife, is now more strictly enforced, after the growth of
recognition that transporting raccoons, foxes and coyotes to be
killed in chase pens has spread several rabies outbreaks, and that
hauling deer and elk from game ranches to canned hunts has spread
chronic wasting syndrome to wild populations. Disengaging from
public activism, Lefebvre meanwhile rescued several coyotes from
chase pens, returning most to the wild. One she named Cheyenne
proved to have been so habituated to human care that he became her
longtime household companion, even learning to use a flush toilet.

Ron Davis, 52, died on November 6, 2008, in East Lansing,
Michigan, from pancreatic cancer. President of the American
Medical Association from July 2007 to July 2008, “Ron was always a
strong advocate of preventive medicine and compassionate medical
practice,” recalled Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
founder Neal Barnard, M.D., who had interviewed Davis as a guest on
PCRM’s Doctor’s Forum. Director of the Office on Smoking and Health
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1987 to 1991,
Davis from 1991 to 1998 served as founding editor of the journal
Tobacco Control. His AMA obituary recalled that among his scientific
papers were several exposing “the link between passive smoking and
cancer in pets.” Davis during his tenure as AMA president joined
then-American Veterinary Medical Association president Roger Mahr to
develop and introduced the One Health Resolution, calling on
veterinarians and physicians to collaborate in disease research and
health initiatives. “Ron not only advocated One Health principles
within AMA, but he personally represented AMA on the AVMA One Health
Initiative Task Force and contributed materially to the development
of the Task Force recommendations,” recalled colleagues Laura H.
Kahn, M.D., Bruce Kaplan, DVM, and Thomas P. Monath, M.D. in a
joint statement.

Robert J. Crossman, 29, of Syracuse, New York, was
electrocuted in front of his nine-year-old daughter on November 3,
2008 while holding a ladder to help another man rescue a cat from a
tree. The climber was uninjured. The cat descended on her own.

Herminio Rodriguez Palma, 26, a keeper at Bioparque
Estrella, northwest of Mexico City, was fatally mauled on November
10, 2008 when a tiger escaped from an unlocked cage. The tiger was
located and killed the next morning.
Robert H. Foote, 86, died on October 27, 2008 of lung
failure, in Ithaca, New York. Raised on a dairy farm, Foote
joined the Cornell University animal science faculty in 1950. At
Cornell he worked closely with Samuel Leonard, Sydney Arthur Asdell,
and Glenn Wade Salisbury, who all preceded him in death, in
reproductive research which included developing human and animal
birth control methods; advancing the use of artificial insemination,
superovulation, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer; and
cloning. Among the first researchers to study DNA, Foote “also
conducted the early research that led to the understanding that all
female mammals are born with a finite number of eggs that are
depleted over a lifetime by degeneration and ovulation,” remembered
Newsday. Notorious vivisectors to some, who pioneered some of the
techniques that have made factory farming possible on the present
scale, Leonard, Asdell, Salisbury, and Foote also contributed to
developing some of the most widely used alternatives to using animals
in research, and in finding non-surgical methods of sterilizing

Nordin Montong, 32, of Sarawak, Malaysia, employed since
June 2008 as a cage cleaner at the Singapore Zoo, on November 13,
2008 jumped into the white tiger exhibit, pulled a bucket over his
head, and was fatally mauled by two tigers. Montong reportedly
displayed abnormal behavior before the incident, complained of
insomnia, and told other workers that they would not be seeing him

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.