OBITUARIES (Sept. 2013)

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2013: (Actually published on October 8,  2013)


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

Donald Low, M.D., 68, died of a brain tumor on September 18, 2013 in Toronto. Co-author of nearly 400 peer-reviewed articles for scientific and medical journals, Low was best known for advising against panic responses to zoonotic disease outbreaks, including occasional appearances of raccoon rabies in Toronto, and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which hit 375 Torontonians in 2003, killing two and causing 27,000 people to be quarantined. As a researcher, Low focused on flesh-eating diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant forms of streptococcus bacteria. In 2000 Low was named to a 19-member Canadian government Advisory Committee on Animal Uses of Antimicrobials and Impact on Resistance and Human Health. In August 2002, with Low as spokesperson, the committee reported that routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture was creating precisely the conditions that could be expected to incubate devastating antibiotic-resistant diseases. The findings and regulatory recommendations of the committee, however, have largely been ignored.

Bil-Jac founder & fur farmer William H. Kelly

William H. Kelly,  95,  cofounder with his brother Jack of the Bil-Jac dog food company,  died on September 27,  2013.  Born in Perry, New York,  Bill Kelly relocated with his family to Thompson,  Ohio in 1922,  where his father began raising foxes and mink.  The family fur farm later moved to Medina,  Ohio.

Bill Kelly recalled to Library of Congress American Folklife Center researcher Tom Swope in 2004 that he first made dog food during World War II military service with the U.S. Army Air Force,  after visiting an Army kennel near the Kelly fur farm where about 40 dogs were suffering from diarrhea and roundworms.  Obtaining supplies and a recipe from his father,  Kelly changed the dogs’ diet and resolved the problem,  he said,  “in about five days.”

Kelly’s father closed the fur farm soon after the war due to failing health.  Using the equipment formerly used to make mink food to make dog food,  Bill and Jack Kelly started the Bil-Jac company in 1947––and as a sideline made food for mink farms,  too,  in Norway as well as the U.S.  By 1980 the Kelly Mink Farm in Medina was back in pelt production,  as a partnership among Bill Kelly and his sons Raymond, Bob,  and Jim,  who have continued in both the fur trade and the dog food business.

Kenya SPCA inspector Juanita Carberry,  88

Juanita Carberry,  88,  died in London on July 27,  2013.  Born in Nyeri,  Kenya,  Carberry was ostensibly the daughter of 10th Lord Carberry of Castle Freke,  an Irish expatriate known for violent and sadistic behavior,  and later for pro-Nazi leanings. Her mother,  a flyer, fatally crashed when Carberry was three.  Later in life Carberry came to believe that her actual father was Jamaican-born coffee planter Maxwell Trench,  a belief shared by his son,  Dan Trench.

Carberry in 1971 revealed to British journalist Cyril Connolly that in 1941,  when she was 15,  Sir Jock Delves Broughton took her to visit his stables in Karen,  Kenya,  and during the visit told her that he had shot the 22nd Earl of Erroll,  who had been having an affair with Broughton’s wife.  A tape recording made by Dan Trench in 1987,  released in 2007,  affirmed Carberry’s story.  Broughton was tried for the murder,  was acquitted,  and soon afterward committed suicide.  Carberry had been questioned about the case,  but did not testify.

Enlisting in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in 1943,  Carberry served as a dispatch rider, joined the Merchant Navy in 1946,  and upon retiring in 1963,  set up a photo safari business in Mombasa,  taking clients to Uganda, Tanzania, the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi,  and doubled as a livestock inspector for the Kenya SPCA.  Her work for the KSPCA continued into the tenure of present KSPCA director Jean Gilchrist,  who arrived in 1988,  though Carberry “had basically retired from active service,”  Gilchrist told ANIMAL PEOPLE.

Moving to London,  Carberry authored a memoir,  Child of Happy Valley (1999).

Bird & tiger conservationist Zafar Futehally,  93

Zafar Futehally,  93,  died of a bronchial infection on August 11,  2013.  Associated for 60 years with the Bombay Natural History Society, Futehally headed the society from 1959 until 1973.

Also in 1959 Futehally founded Newsletter for Birdwatchers,  a periodical influential in the growth of the Indian conservation movement.  Futehally continued as editor until 2003.  After Newsletter for Birdwatchers folded in 2004,  Futehally served as emeritus editor of a successor periodical,  Indian Birds,  arguing to little avail that bird-feeding should be banned because it creates nuisance,  breeds ill-will toward birds,  and contributes to the spread of avian diseases.

Futehally also had leadership roles at various times within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,  the World Wildlife Fund,  Project Tiger,  and the Bangalore Environment Trust.

Futehally in the early 1970s endorsed a proposal by Dillon Ripley of the Smithsonian Institution to radio collar tigers for study,  in opposition to the IUCN and WWF.  Futehally and Ripley believed this would demonstrate that tigers had become endangered.  WWF-USA was at the time headed by C.R. “Pink” Gutermuth,  who opposed efforts within India to ban tiger hunting and within the U.S. to ban imports of tiger pelts.

After Gutermuth was in 1973 elected president of the National Rifle Association,  Ripley arranged his ouster from WWF.

The Indian ban on tiger hunting and the U.S. listing of tigers as an endangered species soon followed,  but the radio collaring project eventually went ahead only in Nepal.

Sherri Holmes helped to introduce rear-facing horse trailers

Sherron “Sherri” Holmes,  66,  died of cancer on July 31,  2013 at her home in New Zealand.  Sherri Holmes and her sister Odessa followed their father David James Holmes into equestrian competition and,  eventually,  into rethinking and re-engineering horse trailer design.

The sisters were in their teens when their father suffered an almost fatal crash while hauling a standardbred mare.  Facing oncoming traffic in a conventional horse trailer,  the horse tried to bolt,  throwing the trailer off balance.

Recounted Odessa Holmes many years later,  “The rig overturned as it approached a bridge,  nearly plunging into a river.”   David Holmes,  an automotive engineer,  realized that a rear-facing trailer would prevent this type of accident and many others,  and could provide a more secure footing to the horses.  Five years after David Holmes built his first rear-facing horse trailer,  with the back door doubling as a platform that enabled horses to turn around and back in,  the rear-facing Kiwi Safety Trailer debuted in 1967.  Similar trailers are now sold by several different manufacturers around the world.

Following their father’s design principles,  Sherri and Odessa Holmes in recent years introduced an improved rear-facing trailer they call Equi Balance,  which Odessa pledged would “challenge the global transport legislative environment.”

Anna Roberts,  86,  who cofounded Compassion In World Farming with her husband Peter Roberts in 1967,  died on August 9,  2013. Recalled CIWF president Philip Lymbery,  “As dairy farmers in the 1950s, they came under increasing pressure to adopt the intensive farming model.  Anna was the first to protest,  highlighting the implications for the animals of the new cages and crates. They stopped farming, although they continued to home hens rescued from battery cage farms for several years. The couple also began to sell meat substitutes. When Peter failed to persuade any of the major animal welfare organizations to take up the issue of factory farming,  they decided to set up their own group,  which became the international organization that it is today.”

Kasereka Kipako,  34,  a ranger at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2010,  was on August 3,  2013 ambushed at his post by suspected members of the Mai-Mai militia.  Kipako apparently fought off the attackers but suffered fatal wounds. The Thin Green Line Foundation and The Gorilla Organization pledged to help Kipako’s pregnant wife and three children during the next several years.

Marshall Lee Harris,  55,  a 19-year employee of Dallas Animal Services,  known for his drawings of dogs and cats,  died on July 16,  2013 at the Baylor Heart Hospital in Plano,  Texas.

Cameron Rusby,  87,  died on September 6,  2013.  A British Royal Navy officer from 1945 to 1982,  retiring as a vice admiral and with a knighthood,  Rusby headed the Scottish SPCA from 1983 to 1991,  was a member of the World Society for the Protection of Animals board of directors from 1986 to 1998,  was a director of Freedom Food Ltd. from 1994 to 2000,  and was also a past chair of the British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

Don Elroy,  60,  longtime director of the Tennessee Network for Animals,  died on August 29,  2013 in Sevierville,  Tennessee.   Raised in Kankakee,  Illinois,  Elroy arrived in Tennessee early in a long career as singer,  songwriter,  musician,  actor,  and director,  and remained there for most of the rest of his life.  An energetic investigator of zoos,  circuses,  and exotic animal trafficking,  Elroy frequently contributed news tips and sometimes letters to the editor to ANIMAL PEOPLE.  Introduced by ANIMAL PEOPLE to Linda Howard (1967-2006),  who was conducting parallel investigations in San Antonio,  Texas,  Elroy and Howard often worked in electronic partnership until her death.  Elroy later worked briefly for the Humane Society of the U.S. and Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

Rosemary Mirko,  55,  who in 1997 founded the Town Cats shelter in Morgan Hill,  California,  died of cancer on July 7,  2013 in nearby Gilroy.  Mirko was succeeded as Town Cats president by Patricia Abreu,  a 10-year volunteer who previously served as a volunteer,  board member,  and eventually president at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.

Robert Cyril Stebbens,  98,  died on September 23,  2013.  An Emeritus Professor of Zoology and Emeritus Curator in Herpetology at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California,  Berkeley,  Stebbens was author and illustrator of eight herpetological field guides, including the Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles & Amphibians.

Linda Hochstetler,  65,  a waitress for 40 years at local restaurants in Constantine, Indiana,  known for animal rescue and advocacy,  was killed by a car on August 3,  2013 in nearby Middlebury while trying to rescue an injured groundhog. A Youtube page has been built as a belated homage to her lifelong devotion to animals.

Xavier Shelby,  21,  of North Hollywood,  California,  was killed by a bus on August 14,  2013 while trying to rescue his pit bull puppy from traffic.  The puppy had run into the street while chasing a ball.

Lisa M. Myer,  55,  an antique dealer prominent in dog rescue,  on August 1,  2013 killed herself in Farmingdale,  New Jersey.

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