Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2012:

Obituaries

 

“I come to bury Caesar,  not to praise him.  The evil that men do
lives after them.  The good is oft interred with their bones.”
–William Shakespeare

Lynn M. Gorfinkle, 64,  of Redding,  Connecticut,  died on
December 25,  2011 in Danbury Hospital.  The longtime president of
the Animal Rights Alliance of Fairfield County,  and active in cat
rescue with her friend Natalie Jarnstadt of Project Save A Cat,
Gorfinkle was best known for opposition to deer hunting and culling.
Gorfinkle “would not, if she were stranded on a desert island with
only a rabbit, eat that rabbit in order to survive,”  wrote Rob
Inglis of Yale Daily News in 2006.  “She thinks that modern-day
American sport hunters–especially deer hunters–are morally
deficient and probably ‘hung like hamsters.'”  Hunting media
denounced Gorfinkle from coast to coast three years later,  after a
bowhunter wounded a deer who fled to the Gorfinkle property before
dying.  Her husband Mike Gorfinkle refused to allow the hunter to
retrieve the deer. “If someone’s going to eat that deer,  I want it
to be natural predators,  not some hunter,”  Lynn Gorfinkle told
reporters.  Coyotes dragged away the carcass about two weeks later.

Elizabeth Ann Murphy Lemlich, 83,  of Bellevue,  Ohio,  died
on November 2,  2011 of a respiratory ailment.  “Shy,  tiny and
usually quiet,  she picketed companies for animal testing,  sprung
animal traps during walks through woods near her Bellevue home,  and
adopted cats nobody else wanted,”  recalled Sharon Coolidge in the
Cincinnati Enquirer. “She was always very peaceful,”  affirmed her
husband,  Robert Lemlich,  85,  whom she dated for 19 years before
their 1975 marriage,  “but one thing she would not tolerate was
abusing animals in her presence.”  A former schoolteacher in Dayton,
Kentucky,  and Cincinnati,  Mrs. Lemlich later wrote a book about her
teaching experience.

Eldon Hughes, 80,  died of prostate cancer on December 4,
2011 at his home in Joshua Tree,  California.   Active in the Sierra
Club and desert habitat advocacy for most of his life,  Hughes “was
first moved by the desert in the late 1930s,  when his mother  took
him camping in Palm Canyon near Palm Springs and to Death Valley,”
recalled David Danelski of the Riverside Press-Enterprise.  “Dubbed
by many the ‘John Muir of the desert’ for his work to preserve wild
lands,”  Danelski wrote,  “his work spurred passage of the California
Desert Protection Act of 1994,  which created the 1.6-million-acre
Mojave National Preserve. He and his wife took five baby desert
tortoises to the Oval Office when President Bill Clinton signed the
bill.”

Walter Rave, 66,  died on Dec-ember 10,  2011 of burns
suffered three nights earlier in a fire at his home in Takoma Park,
Maryland.  “For decades,  the bearded six-foot-three-inch Vietnam vet
was a fixture in Takoma Park,  an imposing figure who brandished a
bloodied fox pelt clamped in a steel leg trap that he swung from a
long chain as he walked,”  wrote Steve Hendrix of the Washington
Post.  Humane Society of the U.S. factory farming campaign manager
Paul Shapiro was among the activists who were with Rave when he died,
Hendrix noted,  adding that “Ingrid Newkirk,  co-founder and
president of PETA,  called Rave’s hospital room twice to say goodbye.
Rave,  one of the group’s first volunteers,  designed the first PETA
T-shirt,  she said.”

Pak Mahmud, 52,  a caretaker at the Selamanik Zoo in
Banjarnegara,  Central Java,  Indonesia,  forgot to lock a cage door
and was killed on December 12,  2011 while putting down food for a
tiger.

Ramdass, 52,  forest-watcher-in-charge in Hulikal East,
near Conoor,  India,  in the Nilgiris Hills,  was on November 19,
2011 trampled by one of two female elephants,  who along with a calf
had strayed out of protected habitat in the Kallar Forest about six
months earlier.  The elephants had been recently harassed by
forest-watchers and villagers who sought to return them to the forest.

Jason Mendes-Pinto,  a teacher and herpetologist in his early
twenties,   died of leptospirosis on December 27,  2011 in Santarem,
Para,  Brazil.  How he contracted leptospirosis,  carried by
spirochetes most often found in rat urine,  is unknown.  He was
author of four published scientific papers,  with publication of four
more pending.

Marius Els, 40,   a retired South African army major turned
farmer in the Free State province,  was killed in the Vaal River on
November 12,  2011 by his pet hippopotamus Humphrey.  Rescued from a
flood on the Vaal in 2005,  Humphrey was sold to Els at the age of
about five months.  Els,  who also kept a giraffe and a rhinoceros,
swam with Humphrey and rode on his back,  despite many warnings that
hippos cannot be successfully domesticated.  Humphrey earlier in 2011
chased golfers at a nearby course,  treed a man and his grandson who
were canoeing on the Vaal,  and allegedly killed calves belonging to
Els’ business partner.

Richard Gerbasi, 55,  director of operations for the
Connecticut Humane Society,  killed himself on December 12,  2011.
“Richard was the former vice president of operations and field
services at Lollypop Farm,  the Humane Society of Greater Rochester,”
recalled Alice Calabrese,  president and chief executive officer of
the organization.  “He was also a member of the National Animal
Rescue & Sheltering Coalition board,”  having cofounded the
organization after meeting the other cofounders during Hurricane
Katrina disaster relief operations.  In addition,  Calabrese said,
Gervasi “was a volunteer board member of Rochester’s Project Exile,
and in the past volunteered for Horses Friend,  working with at risk
children and horses. He was also one of the key individuals in
developing the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators directors of
operations meetings,   which later developed into annual management
conferences.”

Jenna O’Grady Donley, 26,  of Sydney,  Australia,  was on
December 7,  2011 fatally trampled by a Bornean pygmy elephant at the
Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu,  Malaysia.  Donley had paused
on a hike to photograph the bull elephant,  who was in musth.
Donley’s friend Ashley Kelly,  25,  and a Tabin Wildlife Resort tour
guide escaped.  A former sanctuary volunteer in South Africa,  Donley
was to receive her veterinary degree from Sydney University on
December 16.  She had earned academic honors for her thesis on renal
failure in big cats.

Tavus Momberg, 29,  a guide at the Makweti Safari Lodge
between Vaalwater and Lephalale,  South Africa,  was fatally trampled
on November 6,  2011 by an elephant he tried to photograph about 200
yards from the lodge.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

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