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Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser

January 5, 1931 - October 13, 2020

Percy Schmeiser, farmer known for fight against Monsanto, dead at 89. Schmeiser is remembered by his son as a dedicated father who loved taking his grandchildren fishing. Schmeiser, who had Parkinson's disease, is survived by his wife, Louise Schmeiser. 

John Schmeiser told CBC News his father died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday afternoon at the age of 89. Schmeiser had Parkinson's disease.

The Saskatchewan farmer became famous in the late 1990s after agrochemical giant Monsanto took him to court. The company had found its genetically modified canola in Schmeiser's field, but he had never paid for the right to grow it. Schmeiser insisted the seeds had blown onto his field in the wind and that he owned them. Monsanto sued him, and in the end, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the farmer had knowingly violated Monsanto's patent. 

As the world media descends on Percy Schmeiser and his battle with Monsanto, neighbours and scientists question the validity of his defence. Schmeiser's son John said the court case was only one part of his life, as it happened when Schmeiser was getting ready to retire. John said he'll remember Percy as a dedicated father, grandfather and businessman. 

"I am privileged to this day to be his son," John said. "Growing up, it was very, very evident right from the beginning about how concerned he was about his community and his family." Schmeiser served on town council in Bruno, Sask., for several years, both as mayor and as a councillor. He also ran a couple of businesses and ran a farm, John said. "We were always busy," John said. "And he always made time to be with family. And when grandchildren started to rise, it just took it to another level for him because he had more children to be around."

Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser’s battle with Monsanto, which went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, has been turned into a Hollywood movie called Percy. Although the movie is endorsed by Schmeiser’s family, there are concerns about its accuracy. Zakreski saw the movie at the Calgary Film Festival with Schmeiser's son, John, and said it was a strange and surreal experience. Though he said the film got more things right than wrong, there were some aspects where the director took artistic license. "The trial was a lot more intense and a lot more dramatic than it was portrayed," he said. "It took place in Saskatoon on a larger scale and it drew an incredible amount of interest. There were media scrums going into and out of court. It was a very high pressure situation."

"He was just an extraordinary person. I haven't met someone like him … an example for us all."

John said memories about his father that stand out are his passion for fishing and sharing his skills. "He would go to great lengths to take his grandchildren, when they were four, five, six years old, he would take them fishing. And he just loved doing that," John said. "For all of us, that was a very, very special thing and it was so important to him." Schmeiser would be filled with pride when he saw his grandchildren catch their first fish, John said. "I don't know who had a bigger smile, [Schmeiser] or one of his grandchildren," John said. "For him, that was just an incredible sense of accomplishment, to see them catch fish."

John said he hopes his father is remembered as that dedicated grandfather, passionate fisher and someone who would do anything to see his community succeed. Schmeiser would be there for his customers at the farm equipment dealership at any time, and even in retirement watched the weather to make sure they had a good harvest, John said. 

Schmeiser is survived by his wife Louise. The two had just had their 68th wedding anniversary on Oct. 2. John said they met at a dance in Bruno, Sask., and lived there their entire lives. Now, Bruno is home for him and his siblings forever, he said. 

In a video recorded in September 2020, the Schmeisers thanked people for their support through the legal battle and for the opportunity to have their story told in a recently released movie called Percy. (Mongrel Media/Vimeo)


Source: Saskatchewan

Remembering Percy Schmeiser

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Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen

January 17, 1934 - October 12, 2020

Bernard S. Cohen, who won a landmark case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of laws forbidding interracial marriage and later went on to a successful political career as a state legislator, has died. He was 86. Cohen and legal colleague Phil Hirschkop represented Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and Black woman who were convicted in Virginia in 1959 of illegally cohabiting as man and wife and ordered to leave the state for 25 years. It resulted in the Supreme Court's unanimous 1967 Loving v. Virginia ruling, which declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

Cohen died Monday of complications from Parkinson's disease at his home in Fredericksburg, said his son, Bennett Cohen.

Bernard Cohen had a great sense of humor and liked to ride motorcycles and fly planes, his son said. “He was a bit of a risk taker, and I guess that's in line with the risks he took in his younger professional life,” Bennett Cohen said.

Bernard Cohen and Hirschkop were ACLU volunteer attorneys only a few years out of law school when they took on the case. Mildred Loving was referred to the ACLU by then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to whom she had written seeking assistance. “We would pinch ourselves and say, ‘Do we realize what we’re doing?' We're handling one of the most important constitutional law cases ever to come before the court," Cohen said in a documentary about the case that aired on HBO in 2012.

Before arguing the case before the Supreme Court, Cohen said he tried to explain to Richard Loving the legal doctrines he would use. “He was very country, sort of rough,” Cohen told the Associated Press in 1992. “He just said, ’Tell them I don’t understand why if a man loves a woman he can’t marry her no matter what her color.'”

Following the landmark case, Cohen continued a legal career, but also veered into politics. He was elected to the House of Delegates in Virginia in 1979 representing the Alexandria area, and served eight terms. During a 16-year career in the state House of Delegates, Cohen ran as “an unabashed liberal” and reveled in introducing controversial legislation. In 1983, he sponsored a resolution in favor of a nuclear freeze that won passage in the House but stalled in the Senate after a Reagan administration official testified against it. Cohen blamed the defeat on “kooks in the defense Department.” He successfully advocated legislation banning smoking in public places in an era when the tobacco industry was a political powerhouse in Richmond.

Brian Moran, who succeeded Cohen in the legislature and is now Virginia's secretary of public safety and homeland security, said Cohen opted to retire in 1995 because he had grown weary of campaigning — arthritis made shaking hands painful, and he'd come to loath door-knocking after getting attacked by a dog.

Bennett Cohen said his sense was that the civil rights cases of the 1960s weren’t on people’s immediate minds in the ’80s and ’90s, when his father was active in politics. The Loving case, though, had a huge resurgence in public interest in the last decade, in part driven by the documentary and the 2016 Hollywood feature film “Loving,” but even more so by the parallels people saw between the Loving case and the debate over same-sex marriages.

Bennett Cohen noted that on Monday, the day his dad died, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris talked about the Loving case during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett.

Remembering Bernard Cohen

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Josephine 'Jo' Crack

Josephine 'Jo' Crack

December 31, 1969 - October 11, 2020

Josephine Crack, better known as ‘Jo’ was born in 1935 into a hard-working and highly respected family of grocers in the village of Lound, near Lowestoft. She had an older sister, Rosalie, who was disabled, and her life was centred at home and the small village school where she thrived.

Following her early education Jo went on to the grammar school in Lowestoft and it was a visit from the school’s headmaster which persuaded her parents that Jo had the potential to go to university. Jo headed to University College London where she studied German and earned her degree and certificate in education. She went on to spend a year in Germany and when she returned to England her first teaching post was in Rochester, Kent.

Then, in 1965, Jo moved to Maidenhead and started work at Maidenhead High School, now known as Newlands Girls’ School, as a German teacher. Jo stayed at the school for 27 years, seeing its gradual conversion to comprehensive schooling and its change of name to Newlands School in 1973. During this time she became deputy head, a post she later shared with joint deputy head Janet Longstaff. Janet said: “She was lovely to work with, really supportive, sympathetic, she was great.”

According to Janet, Jo was also an excellent teacher, producing ‘very successful’ exam results, as well as being principled. “She always claimed to be firm and fair, but she was always great fun and very sociable,” said Janet.

“She taught my sister an awfully long time ago, but when I told my sister she’d died, she said ‘Jo’s lessons were such fun’, she said ‘we would all end up giggling and Jo would be giggling too’.

Jo and Janet became good friends, and Celia Phillips, a fellow teacher, was another very good friend Jo met at school, the pair going on to share a flat and then a house together. Throughout her life Jo cherished friendships, and kept in touch with school friends, family friends, foreign friends, village friends and colleagues.

She also loved music and literature, and enjoyed sport, from playing hockey at school, to badminton in her thirties and short tennis following her retirement in 1990. As a spectator, eventing and horse riding came first for Jo, followed by football, golf and snooker. Although she liked to travel and explore different countries, in her retirement Jo was happy with spontaneous days out and short breaks in England.

Jo had Parkinson’s and moved to Boulters Lock Residential Care Home in Sheephouse Road in 2015.

She died at the home on Sunday, October 11.


Remembering Josephine 'Jo' Crack

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Jane Darrah Gates

Jane Darrah Gates

March 6, 1942 - October 3, 2020

Mercer Island, Washington - Jane Gates, age 78, passed on peacefully, surrounded by family, on October 3, 2020. Jane was known for her laugh, dry Midwestern one-liners, and her ability to make every moment a teaching moment.

Jane was born on March 4, 1942, in Wichita, Kansas, to John and Joanne Darrah, the second of five kids, sister to Tom, Cindy, Jody, and Bo. After graduating from Wichita High School in 1960, Jane got a degree in Education in 1964 from Kansas University. She also majored in having fun as a member of Pi Beta Phi.

Jane then headed to California to teach and met Navy man and future attorney, Mike Gates, at a party. Jane and Mike were married June 28, 1966, and shared a life of laughter, love and fun for nearly 55 years.

As mom to Kim and Adam, the kids remember mom as in charge of everything, the "mayor of Arden Park" and excessively generous. As Nana to Kim and Ron Thunen's children, Ella, Charlotte and Maddy and Adam and Silvia Gates' children, Zephyr and Colton, Jane found her true calling.
Jane taught first, second, and third graders for nearly 20 years. Described as a book-loving Mary Poppins, students continued to track down Mrs. Gates for many years.

Ever the Midwesterner and a 30-year resident of Sacramento, Jane loved her retirement life split between Palm Dessert and Mercer Island, Washington.
Jane was a consummate do-er, effortless entertainer, gardener and gourmet cook. She enjoyed a strong cup of coffee, a Manhattan cocktail, and anything sweet. Jane loved playing games with friends, from tennis and golf to bridge and mahjong. Jane was famously the queen of the frugality and the thrifty bargain.

Jane and Mike were perhaps happiest when travelling the world. From Europe to China to Washington, DC, Jane's warm smile and engaging personality started many great conversations throughout the years. Jane was easy to be around.

Jane suffered and died from Multiple System Atrophy.

Remembering Jane Darrah Gates

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Michael Whishaw

Michael Whishaw

August 29, 1936 - September 27, 2020

Michael was born in England on August 29, 1936 and passed away at 84 peacefully in his sleep early September 27, 2020 in La Quinta, California due to Parkinson’s Disease.

He was a very gentle, kind, and humble Gentleman whose passion was sailing, fishing, garden design, cooking, ceramic repair and loved building Department 56 Christmas Villages. He was a great Host who loved entertaining family and friends. 

He is survived by his wife, Jan, his three children in England, Nick (Tania) Whishaw, Catherine Whishaw, James (Newby) Whishaw and his stepdaughter Jacquie McClure.  His 5 grandchildren Tim, Natasha, Telisa, Jack and William, who all live in England.

He was in sales all his life and loved public speaking.

Michael, you will be deeply missed but your legacy will continue through your loving wife, your children, and your grandchildren, and by all the people that your wonderful life has touched.

A Memorial Mass is scheduled for October 24, 2020 at Sacred Heart Church at noon.

In lieu of flowers, may we suggest donations be made in Michael’s memory to Parkinson’s Resource Organization,74-090 El Paseo #104, Palm Desert, CA 92260 www.parkinson’

Remembering Michael Whishaw

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Reverend Robert Graetz

Reverend Robert Graetz

May 16, 1928 - September 20, 2020

The Rev. Robert Graetz, the only white minister to support the Montgomery bus boycott and who became the target of scorn and bombings for doing so, died Sunday at his home in Alabama. He was 92.

Graetz died from complications of Parkinson’s disease, said Kenneth Mullinax, a friend, and family spokesman.

Graetz was the minister of the majority-Black Trinity Lutheran Evangelical Church in Montgomery, Ala. He was the only local white clergyman to support the boycott. He and his wife, Jeannie, faced harassment, threats, and bombings as a result.

Sparked by the December 1955 arrest of Rosa Parks, the planned one-day boycott of Montgomery City Lines became a 381-day protest of the segregated bus system that ended with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.

The parsonage where the Graetzes lived was twice hit by bombs, once when they were away and again in 1957, not long after the boycott ended, in a wave of attacks by white supremacists on civil rights leaders and churches. Four Black churches and the home of the Rev. Ralph Abernathy were also bombed on Jan. 10, 1957. The Graetzes were at home with their children at the time, including their then-9-day-old baby.

One bomb blew out the windows of the home. A second bomb, a package of 11 sticks of dynamite wrapped around a small box of TNT, was at the parsonage earlier that night but failed to explode.

In his book, “A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation,” Graetz described how during those years of danger he played a game with his children in which he encouraged them to duck behind the sofa if they were told to hide because of a strange noise outside.  

Despite the scorn, violence and threats he and his wife faced, Graetz wrote they would not change a thing if they were given the opportunity.

“The privilege of standing up for righteousness and justice and love is greater than any other reward we might have received,” Graetz wrote.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said Graetz “lived what he preached.”

“Rev. Robert Graetz and his wife, Jeannie, stood against hate and put their lives in danger because the cause, of their all-Black congregation and the community itself, was just,” Reed said.

Tafeni English, the director of the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center, called Graetz a “remarkable civil rights and social justice leader.”

“Rev. Graetz was a kind and gentle soul, who along with his revered wife, Jeannie, dedicated his life to creating Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community,” English said.

Graetz is survived by his wife and several children.

Remembering Reverend Robert Graetz

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Dale Walsh

Dale Walsh

February 20, 1937 - September 19, 2020

Philip Dale Walsh, 83, of Sioux City, passed away Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, at his residence.

Services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, with the Rev. David Hemann officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. today, with the family present 5 to 8 p.m. and a vigil service at 7 p.m., at Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel. Online condolences may be given at

Dale was born on Feb. 20, 1937, on the family farm near Kimball, S.D., the son of Philip and Frances (Blasius) Walsh. Dale graduated from Kimball High School and the University of South Dakota. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and was discharged with an honorable discharge on Dec. 31, 1966.

Dale married Patricia Fillmer on Aug. 10, 1963 at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City. He worked as a salesman for Vita Craft, and then at MCI for a number of years before starting his own business, the Walsh Upholstery Shop. Dale worked up until Parkinson's made it too difficult.

He enjoyed camping, being with his family, and watching sports. Dale was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Walsh of Sioux City; children, Renee Scholler of Sioux City, Jeff Walsh of Sergeant Bluff, Denise Berger of Sergeant Bluff, and Kelly Walsh of Sioux City; six grandchildren, Alexander Berger, Aaron Berger, Austin Walsh, Andrew Walsh, Katie Scholler, and Kandi Scholler; and two brothers, Robert (Janice) Walsh of Minden, Neb., and Thomas (Barb) Walsh of Sioux Falls, S.D.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Philip and Frances Walsh; a brother, Kenneth Walsh; and a sister, Vivian Geppert.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the medical professionals, including Hospice of Siouxland.

Remembering Dale Walsh

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Constance Buchanan

Constance Buchanan

June 19, 1947 - September 16, 2020

Constance Buchanan, a former director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School who developed the program into a permanent part of the School and University, died September 16, 2020. She was 73. A faculty member and associate dean at HDS for 20 years, Buchanan is credited with leading the Women’s Studies in Religion Program (WSRP) into an internationally recognized center for research on faith, gender, race, and sexual orientation.

Buchanan became director of the WSRP in 1977, and had the foresight to reach outside academia to find philanthropic women with passions and interests that intersected with the WSRP's mission, even though many of them had no direct Harvard connections.

“She really invented the WSRP out of whole cloth. There was a nascent program before she came to HDS, but there was no precedent for what she created. That was the challenge: How do you create a new academic field where there was nothing?” said Ann Braude, who succeeded Buchanan as the second long-term director of the WSRP. “She had to be able to imagine what was possible, and she had to be able to inspire people to believe that women could have a voice where they had none. She was the catalyst who could both imagine and could bring it to fruition. That took intelligence, commitment, vision, and, more than anything, faith in other women.”

During her time at Harvard, Buchanan also spent six years as a special assistant to University President Derek Bok. She contributed to his University-wide project on improving the quality of teaching and learning.

"You had the utmost confidence in her sincerity of purpose and the extent of her dedication to the improvement of education," Bok said in a 2017 profile of Buchanan. "It was a pleasure to work with someone who shared the same values as I did. Intelligence and knowledge are important, but that inner commitment and dedication to the ultimate goal of education makes a decisive difference."

For Clarissa Atkinson, a former WSRP Research Associate who later became a faculty member and associate dean for academic affairs at HDS, Buchanan was both a close colleague and a close friend. The two had offices on the third floor of Swartz Hall (then Andover Hall) and not only worked together often on matters related to the WSRP, but also “laughed uproariously.”

“Connie had an extraordinary ability: when she listened to people talk about their work, she paid such close attention that she drew from them ideas about that work that they had not been aware of before Connie recognized them,” said Atkinson. “She perceived aspects and connections and links that we might never have found on our own. I'll remember her for that, and much more.”

Atkinson also described Buchanan as determined to include African American scholars as major figures in the WSRP initiative, and the African American experience as a major component of the program’s research and writing. Buchanan was “a stubborn and determined fighter for justice,” said Atkinson.

Buchanan’s scholarship included an examination of the link between motherhood and the welfare of American society to understand why fundamental social values are threatened. Her 1996 book, Choosing to Lead: Women and the Crisis of American Values, shows that while public debate often blames women for the nation’s “crisis of values,” women’s leadership actually has the potential to solve this crisis by redefining the American pattern of adult life and work.

In 1997, Buchanan left HDS to join the Ford Foundation, where she served as a senior program officer working in various fields, including religion, education, and media. Her contributions have had such an influence on HDS that members of the School community have recognized her multiple times. In 2005, as the School celebrated the 50th anniversary of women being admitted to HDS, Buchanan was fêted with a portrait displayed in the Braun Room of Swartz Hall.

Later, in 2017, HDS alumni honored Buchanan’s impact on WSRP, on the School, and on the study of religion by naming her one of that year’s Peter J. Gomes, STB '68 Honorees. “She made us understand that religion matters, that gender matters, and they matter in public and they matter in our world, and that we can use them to make the world better,” said Braude.

Remembering Constance Buchanan

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Ronald A. Zacky

Ronald A. Zacky

July 26, 1937 - September 11, 2020

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, mentor and friend Ronald Alan Zacky. He battled Parkinson's for many years, putting up a galant fight. We thank his caregivers, who also became friends, for their extreme devotion to his care; Albert, Mario, and Nana – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Born on July 26, 1937, at Cedars of Lebanon to Bertha and Harry Zacky, Ron was truly a native of Los Angeles.  After being raised on a chicken ranch on Sherman Way in Van Nuys, Ron decided to spread his wings, and fly the coop, joining the United States Army. While stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, he learned he was much more proficient with a pencil, than a rifle.  After being honorably discharged from the Army, Ron served in the Air Force reserves, from which he was also honorably discharged, before becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and started a thriving practice in Sherman Oaks, which he managed for over 40 years.  He married the love of his life, Sandra in 1962, and started a family, having three sons, Hayden, Mathew and Brent.  Even though Ron had only sons himself, he has 9 grandchildren, including 8 girls, and 1 boy.  He was a mentor to many, and counseled them on business, investments, and life.  Ron leaves behind his loving wife of 58 years, Sandra, and his sons Hayden (Michelle), Mathew, and Brent (Amy), and his wonderful grandchildren who he loved so much: Daniella, Sofia, Gabrielle, Grayson, Connor, Sara, Camille, Elizabeth, and Rachel.  We are going to miss you!  We hope you enjoy a "nemu" in heaven, while you are taking a "boodi" and then you can have a nice, long "foofi"  You deserve it!  We love you so much Pop! You will be sorely missed! 

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Eugene E. Loya

Eugene E. Loya

June 6, 1937 - September 3, 2020

Eugene E. Loya, age 83, resident of Lake Shore, passed away on Thursday, September 3, 2020 at Good Samaritan Society – Bethany. Gene was born on June 6, 1937 in Brainerd to Ernest and Elsie (Kruger) Loya.

Gene graduated from Brainerd High School and was on the basketball state championship team of 1954. After graduation, he attended the University of Minnesota where he earned his Doctorate in Dental Medicine. After school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Tinker Air Force base in Del City, Oklahoma. Eventually, Gene opened his own dental practice in Minneapolis which was later relocated to Nisswa. He was an avid fisherman until he found his true passion in golf. Him and his wife, Patricia, were longtime golf members at Madden’s. His children will miss him and remember him as a fun, yet always a practical father.

He is survived by his children, Kristi (Don) Nelson, Greg (Denise), Brad (Heather); grandchildren, Tyler and Brett Nelson, Kelly (Derek) Jackson, Blake Loya, and Caitlyn and Makenna Loya; great-grandson, Owen Jackson; sister, Darlene Bolme; sister-in-law, Karen (Roger) Johnson; and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 61 years, Patricia (Marttila) Loya; brothers-in-law, Robert Marttila and Jeff Bolme; and sister-in-law, Jackie Marttila.

Eugene Loya lived with Parkinson's disease 

Remembering Eugene E. Loya

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Contact Us

Physical Address
Parkinson's Resource Organization
74090 El Paseo #104
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Local Phone
(760) 773-5628

Toll-Free Phone
(877) 775-4111

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Updated: August 16, 2017