Obituaries [March 2010]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2010:

Godofredo Stutzin, 93, died on February 11, 2010 at his
home in Chile. Born in Germany, originally surnamed Lipinski,
Stutzin fled to Chile in 1935, at age 19. Becoming an attorney,
Stutzin founded the Union of Friends & Animals in 1955, and the
National Committee for the Defense of Fauna & Flora in 1967. For
decades Stutzin served as Chilean representative to the Animal
Welfare Institute, the International Primate Protection League, and
the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Stutzin was
perhaps best known for his 1976 effort to protect Lake Chungara,
located at the highest elevation of any lake in the world, but his
first concern was animal welfare. As well as advocating for fish in
the wild, Stutzin spoke forcefully and often against both
recreational fishing and keeping pet fish. “Stutzin almost
single-handedly created the modern environmental/animal protection
movement in South America,” recalled ANIMAL PEOPLE web producer
Patrice Greanville. “He was my friend, one of those that neither
distance nor time could diminish in affection or stature.”

Jack Faxon died on January 5, 2010. He had been under
treatment for cancer. Jack and Sheila Faxon, his wife of many
years, were involved in animal, environmental, peace, and
vegetarian activism in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts for more
than 40 years.

Cole McFarland Jr., 59, died of a heart attack on December
28, 2009 in Thousand Oaks, California, while exercising his dogs
at a park near his home. McFarland on June 10, 1985 dived across
railway tracks in Carlsbad, California, to push his dog Nobel out
of the way of an Amtrak passenger train, and lost his left leg just
below the knee. The incident led indirectly to seven years as
executive editor and photographer for the Animals Voice magazine,
founded in 1984 by Laura Moretti, who has continued the publication
in web format after discontinuing the printed periodical. After
Animals Voice suspended publishing in print format in 1992,
McFarland served for several years as managing director of the
Labette Humane Society in Parson, Kansas, where he was among the
first humane society directors in the U.S. to promote neuter/return
of feral cats.

Patti Lewis, 75, died from complications of diabetes on
January 15, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founding the Humane
Society of Charlotte in 1978, Lewis in 1982 opened the first
low-cost dog and cat sterilization clinic in the Carolinas, against
strong veterinary opposition. By 1989 the volume of animals killed
in local shelters had fallen by 60%, and the rate of shelter killing
per 1,000 humans in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area remained below
half the North Carolina state rate even as the state rate fell 80% by
the end of her tenure. The Humane Society of Charlotte did
relatively little sheltering until 1991, when Lewis leased a former
city shelter, converting it into a no-kill adoption center. Under
Lewis, the Humane Society of Charlotte was chiefly funded by a
thrift store. By 2003 the thrift store revenues were no longer
enough to subsidize the growing demand for humane society services.
Clients reportedly waited up to six weeks for sterilization
appointments. A year of public controversy over Lewis’ management
style led to her forced retirement in mid-2004.

Ron Telles, 55, an administrative support staff member
since 2008 at the Clatsop County Animal Shelter in Warrenton,
Oregon, died of a heart attack on January 27, 2010.
Gus Thornton, 76, died on January 24, 2010 at his home in
Medfield, Massachusetts. Raised on an Oklahoma farm, Thornton
earned his veterinary degree at Oklahoma A&M College, then took an
internship in 1957 at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston, operated
by the Massachusetts SPCA. Promoted to chief of staff in 1966,
Thornton “quadrupled its veterinary staff, instituted a residency
program, and built the country’s first veterinary intensive care
unit,” according to his MSPCA biography. Thornton also helped to
create the World Society for the Protection of Animals in 1981, by
merging an MSPCA subsidiary, the International Society for the
Protection of Animals, which had earlier absorbed subsidiaries of
the Humane Society of the U.S. and Royal SPCA of Britain, with the
Dutch-based World Society for the Protection of Animals. Thornton
later served two terms as WSPA board president. Becoming president
of the MSPCA in 1989, Thornton retired in 2002. MSPCA annual
income more than doubled during his tenure, and net assets nearly
doubled.

Charlie Wilson, 76, died on February 10, 2010 in Lufkin,
Texas. A Texas member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973
to 1996, Wilson was best known for his support of the Afghan
mujahedeen during their struggle against Soviet occupiers in the
1980s, dramatized by Tom Hanks in the 2007 film Charlie Wilson’s
War. Wilson entered politics in his mid- teens, as the film
depicted, after a city official in Trinity, Texas killed his dog
with broken glass mixed into the dog’s food. Running against the
official in the next election, Wilson drove 96 voters from poor
neighborhoods to the polls, winning by 16 votes. Wilson’s cat
Khyber, adopted from the Angelina County Animal Shelter in Lufkin,
Texas, was among the most popular residents of the Rayburn House
Office Building from 1986 until her death in 1994.

John Thorbjarnarson, 52, died on February 14, 2010 in New
Delhi, India. “Known and respected as one of the world’s premier
crocodilian biologists,” remembered longtime friend Chuck Schaffer,
Thorbjarn-arson had helped to establish conservation programs for
crocodiles, caimans, and alligators in all parts of their global
range. “Collapsing after giving a course at the Wildlife Institute
of India,” Schaffer wrote, “he was diagnosed with advanced
falciparum malaria, likely contracted on a recent trip to Uganda.”

Stephen Huneck, 60, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, shot
himself on January 7, 2010 in nearby Littleton, New Hampshire,
after laying off several employees at his economically struggling Dog
Mountain art studio and chapel. “A native of Sudbury,
Massa-chusetts, he started out whittling wooden sculptures and later
dog-themed furniture, like the pews in the chapel,” wrote John
Curran of Associated Press. Huneck built the chapel in 2000. Made of
wood from Huneck’s 175-acre Dog Mountain property, it features
“stained glass windows with images of dogs,” Curran said. Huneck
also produced three books about his dogs, illustrated with woodcut
prints.

Bernice Warrington, 85, a longtime volunteer humane
investigator in Fairfax County, Virginia, died on January 16, 2010
at her home in McLean. Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare has named
a bill to reauthorize the appointment of volunteer humane
investigators in her honor. Appointments were halted in 2003,
according to VVAW cofounder Lillian Clancy, due to opposition from
the Farm Bureau Federation.

John A. Caltabiano, DVM, 55, died of cancer on November 6,
2009. A longtime resident of Old Lyme, Connecticut, Caltabiano in
1980 founded one of the first small animal mobile clinics in
Connecticut. Financed by the Vernon A. Tait All-Animal Adoption,
Preservation & Rescue Fund of Westbrook, Connecticut, Caltabiano in
1997 put the Tait’s Every Animal Matters mobile neutering van on the
road. TEAM, continued by Caltabiano’s longtime partner Donna
Sicuranza, of Westbrook, has now sterilized more than 128,000 cats.
Caltabiano in mid-2008 began marketing FeralStat, a birth control
drug for feral cats, based on a synthetic progestin used for other
purposes for about 50 years. The product did not win the approval of
the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs. Similar to a
prescription product long available for dogs, FeralStat uses a
synthetic hormone that U.S. veterinarians prefer not to use because
of potentially serious side effects.

Sam Hamilton, 54, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service director
since September 2009, died on February 20, 2010 after suffering a
heart attack while skiing at Keystone, Colorado. A 30-year Fish &
Wildlife Service employee, Hamilton was best known for habitat
restoration work in the Everglades and in coastal wetlands after
Hurricane Katrina.

Grace Constance Throckmorton, 23, was killed in a December
1, 2009 car crash near Sherwood, Oregon, where she trained horses
for the DevenWood Equestrian Center. An animal advocate since
childhood, “Grace was a force–and a voice–for all animals,”
recalled Pasado’s Safe Haven, the designated recipient of donations
in her memory.

Cynthia Long, 75, of Putney, Vermont, was killed by a car
on January 30, 2010 while trying to rescue a cat who was stranded in
the median strip of U.S. 91 in Dummerston. A longtime vegan animal
advocate and rescuer, Long in 2009 won a struggle to adopt a cat
kept by a deceased woman who wanted the cat to be killed so that the
cat’s remains could be buried with her.

Bonnie Tonetti, 53, was killed by a pickup truck on
February 3, 2010 near her home in Port St. Lucie, Florida, along
with a golden retriever who was one of two dogs she was trying to
rescue from the road. Tonetti was a longtime employee of the Port
St. Lucie Hospital psychiatric admissions office.
Helen Zilke, 92, a Safeway produce buyer for 35 years,
left $1.1 million to the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society to help
build a no-kill shelter, the society learned in January 2010. Zilke
died in August 2009.

Norman Buwalda, 66, of Southwold, Ontario, on January 10,
2010 was fatally mauled while feeding his pet Siberian tiger.
Police said the same tiger mauled a 10-year-old boy in 2004.
Buwalda, who had other exotic pets, was chair of the Canadian
Exotic Animal Owners’ Association.

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