A Celebration of Life

We recently threw a party for the chimpanzees in remembrance of one of their long-time supporters, Dr. John White. His daughter sponsored a party for the chimpanzees to be held on the one year anniversary of his passing. Dr. White was especially fond of tie-dye, so the theme for the party was bright colors.


At the end of the day I e-mailed his daughter, Kathryn, to let her know how things had gone. She had been able to view the party using the chimpanzee’s webcam but I wanted to give her the insider’s scoop and let her know how much they thoroughly enjoyed the celebration of her father’s life.


This was my e-mail to her…


“The chimpanzees LOVED the party. We put out tons of mangos, papayas, clementines, grapefruits, plums, peaches, frozen blueberries, raspberries and pineapple, granola, and juice boxes.

Everyone was food squeaking and smiling. Loulis ran outside with bags of fruit in his hands and Tatu chased him with a juice box in her mouth and one in each hand. Dar stayed behind and made sure he found every berry in the room.

Tatu had so much fun she decided to spend the night in the party room. We are going to have a big mess to clean up tomorrow morning!

We took pictures and will be posting them to the blog sometime soon. Can you tell me a little bit about why your father was such a big supporter of Friends of Washoe so I can include it in the description of the party?”


This was his daughter’s response…


“Thank you so much for letting me know the party went well. It sounds like a perfect tribute to my father’s remarkable life.

To answer your question, my father was an Anthropologist/Archaeologist — he was an expert in evolutionary biology, ancient cultures, and N. American Indians. He was also an animal lover. He believed that primates hold a special place in this world and deserve respect beyond that of even other animals. Although it isn’t always popular in the scientific arena, my father believed that chimpanzees should be afforded basic-human rights status. He was angered that chimpanzees are exploited for experimentation and entertainment purposes. He believed science had no purpose without ethics supporting it and that it was unethical to use chimpanzees (and truly, he didn’t like any animal experimentation although he maintained it sometimes had a purpose).

I never knew my father to harm an animal. He died unexpectedly — and even that last night he refused to stay with me because he didn’t want his beloved dog to be lonely. He cooked for his dog — refused to let anyone hurt the geese on his property despite complaints about poop — fed the raccoons in the winter — and still has a murder of crows mourning his absence outside his home. Although he was a bigger than life person — animals always knew they were safe in his presence. And they were.

Thank you for making a bright spot in a sad time for all of us. I knew that only the Chimpanzees could do it justice.”








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