Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who Has Died Since 18 November 1978?

The normally comprehensive folks over at Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple, sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, and starring Rebecca Moore and Fielding M. McGehee III, have left a few interesting omissions on their page, Who Has Died Since 18 November 1978?

As the page's preamble tells us:
Since 18 November 1978, numerous people associated with Peoples Temple and Jonestown have died. Each death permanently removes part of the Jonestown story, and makes it more imperative to recover that which remains.
To which I can only say, honey--that's life. It's true for each of us, death diminishes our ability to tell a good story, and if the Jonestown "survivors" haven't said their piece in the past 35 years, than incipient Alzheimer's won't help with the consistency problem.

Forty-eight of the stories will go something like this: I happened to be sleeping in an eight-bedroom villa in Georgetown on the night my community in Jonestown is said to have savagely and willfully and incomprehensibly engaged in a smash-up of volitional either-or murder-suicide, with the most egregious perpetrators of death being the last, unobservable ones to go.

________________________________________________


Moore-McGhee list the deaths of a dozen Guyanese figures, some of whom are very tangential to the Jonestown story. They overlook the Guyanese Minister of Information, who worked in the trenches, starting Monday morning, November 20, 1978, when she supposedly broke the news of the mass cult ritual death at a news conference. Apparently, within six months of her Jonestown experience, Shirley Field-Ridley had retired from public life, which is an especially human reaction to events. But within three years, she was, inexplicably, dead at age 45:
June 28, 1982, New York Times - AP, Shirley Field-Ridley, 45, Held Posts in the Guyana Cabinet

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, June 27—Shirley Field-Ridley, a former Cabinet minister and a leading activist in local and Caribbean women's organizations, died Saturday, family members said today. She was 45 years old.

Relatives said she complained of not feeling well early Saturday morning and was rushed to the Georgetown hospital, where she died. No cause of death has been reported.

She was the wife of Hamilton Green, one of Guyana's three Vice Presidents. Her first marriage was to P.J. Patterson, who later became a Cabinet minister in Jamaica.

A London-trained lawyer, Miss Field-Ridley held several Cabinet posts. She was Minister of Information when more than 900 American cultists died in a mass murder-suicide at Jonestown in 1978. She retired from active politics about three years ago.
________________________________________


Even Forbes Burnham's sudden death at age 62, despite his reputation as a heavy smoker and drinker, was viewed with some skepticism. A web page by an anonymous author, Who Killed Forbes Burnham?, makes explicit the sense of monkey business around his minor throat surgery leading to his unexpected death
Today marks sixteen years since Forbes Burnham died mysteriously at the Georgetown Hospital. Burnham lived a controversial life, died in controversial circumstances and even before he made his last breath, said something controversial. On his hospital bed, he asked for a taste of condensed milk; an item he had banned in Guyana.
Lest we be left in a state of befuddlement, the New York Times obit writer, Richard J. Meislin, thoughtfully helps us make sense of the situation:
Despite his railing at the vestiges of British colonialism, Mr. Burnham was a heavy smoker of John Player Specials cigarettes. He was said by diplomats to be suffering from diabetes and to be a heavy drinker; even pre-noon visitors to his modest, book-lined office in Georgetown were invited to join him in one or more glasses of Guyanese rum. [Leader Dies; Successor is Sworn In]
I personally smoke Marlboro cigarettes, and the habit has absolutely nothing to do with cowboys or roaming the wild west. For a lawyer educated in London I wouldn't expect Burnham to smoke Gauloises, so Meislin's writerly public relations spin could be seen as overreaching, while the Los Angeles Times, just matter-of-factly quotes a public relations man:
There was no official government announcement Tuesday providing details of the nature of the throat operation, but one source said it was to remove a polyp.

The president was said to have had an ailing heart for several years. According to some unconfirmed reports, he also suffered from diabetes.

Jack Galinas, a New York public relations man who worked for Burnham, said he had heard that the president suffered some sort of a "scare" about his heart about 3 1/2 years ago. "I remember they were trying to get him to take it easy," Galinas said. [Guyana's President Burnham Dies at 62]

The Associated Press said he "died Tuesday at the age of 62 while undergoing what had been described beforehand as minor throat surgery,"...but his heart "proved unequal to the strain of the operation."  [Guyana leader dies in surgery]







___________________________________________

We're certainly not in conspiracy territory with a Forbes Burnham, but with one listing of Moore and McGehee's we go straight to vistas of grassy knolls. It's one of their few working links, to a Spartacus Educational page for Laurence Stern, an editor for The Washington Post who co-authored the Insta-Book Guyana Massacre with Charles Krause, which was issued on Dec. 3, 1978. Stern died on August 11, 1979, and given his high-level conspiratorial background (Stern supposedly had the goods on the killers of President Kennedy) and with friends and associates who mean serious business, a strong case for involuntary assisted suicide is made.

Stern & Company must have a lot on their minds tending to the oligarchy and its image. Stern wrote an article for The Washington Post titled Behind Psychological Assessment's Door, A CIA Operation, published on June 21, 1974, which surely ranks as the most privileged piece of C.I.A. dirt I've ever read. (They kindly provided me the text.) Despite that access, and Stern's trustworthiness to do a rewrite job on what was essential a work of fiction, an awful lot of heart and soul comes through with these guys.

Looking at the Jonestown massacre as a media event of manipulated reality much like September 11th was, both of which had an authentic component consisting of a ritual outpouring of demonic energy, maybe Stern wasn't up to the task of keeping it a secret. I don't think it's occurred to his surviving colleagues and associates to make a link with Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple yet. I have the same sense with Larry Stern as with Shirley Field-Ridley, that facing the horror in combination with the lies changed them---from my perspective, for the better---which left them as loose ends or loose cannons.

But let me make my case further with a second co-author of Charles Krause's: Ernest Tidyman, who had the screenwriting credit on "The Guyana Tragedy - The Story of Jim Jones," the 1980 Irene Cara, Ned Beatty made-for-T.V. blockbuster that made a superstar out of Powers Boothe. This was of course based on the Insta-Book by Krause and Stern, although I'd bet anything that Stern's estate didn't share in the royalties.



TV Movie - 192 min - Biography | Drama - 15 April 1980 (USA)
Writers: Ernest Tidyman (teleplay), Charles A. Krause (book)



July 16, 1984, New York Times, Obituaries, Ernest R. Tidyman, Screen Writer, Dies at 56, [Text]
Ernest R. Tidyman, author and screenwriter whose screenplay for the movie "The French Connection" won him an Academy Award, died Saturday in Westminster Hospital in London of a perforated ulcer and complications. He was 56 years old and lived in New Preston, Conn.

Mr. Tidyman was in London for a production meeting about a film to be made in Europe. Sue Hyman, his agent, said he was admitted to the hospital Thursday and died in the intensive care unit.

In 1969, Mr. Tidyman became a screenwriter. Three years later, he won an Oscar for "The French Connection," which was released in October 1971. He had already achieved major prominence as screenwriter of the first of the "Shaft" series, which came to the screen in July 1971.
O.K., I won't belabor the part about polyps and perforated ulcers, except to say that these men didn't wake up and think "this is the day I'm going to die," but then neither did Andy Warhol and we have New York Hospital to thank for that. Something else strange is going on here. Although Tidyman wasn't a young man, wouldn't you say his screenwriting career was rather meteoritic? He achieved "prominence" in July, 1971 and by October he's about to hit the absolute apex that comes with the following February's Oscar ceremony.
Mr. Tidyman had written seven novels on which the films "Shaft," "Shaft's Big Score" and "Shaft in Africa" were based.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People gave him an award for the series. The series was also noteworthy because three writers - Stirling Silliphant, Roger Lewis and Mr. Tidyman - formed the company that produced the film for M-G-M.
Maybe I'm just jealous, but this sounds like Jim Jones' success story. And while it takes talent and charisma to achieve the kind of rapid success Jim Jones did, it also took some sort of conspiracy in support, which favored him, starting with his first synagogue in Indianapolis. That was why Jones seemed so confused when it all began to fall apart at the end. He had started to believe his own publicity.

But look! The coup de gras! The New York Times!
Mr. Tidyman was born on Jan. 1, 1928, in Cleveland. After quitting school at 14, he began a 25-year career as a journalist, working first for The Cleveland News as a police reporter. He then worked for six other newspapers, including The New York Post, before coming, in 1960, to The New York Times. At The Times, he worked on various desks and was an assistant women's editor.

Mr. Tidyman is survived by his fourth wife, Chris Clark Tidyman, and four sons, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Adam and Nicholas.
And all this horny acting out with second, third and fourth wives. Is it a prerequisite? It's almost as bad as Leo Ryan lying back in bed with his girlfriend for the cameras.

Which reminds me--a very telling death out of order. Margaret Ryan, mother of Leo's five adult children, mugging for the funeral cameras. Leo had actually had another wife in between but that didn't work out. Maybe this was passable in the 1970's but that's because the book CoDependent No More hadn't been written yet. Was this a way of inserting herself back as the man's one true Catholic love, but did she get too nosy after the notoriety? The two diametric roles given the daughters---one Baba Ganush, cult flower-child, the other, Sapphic Mossad Anti-Cult Pronouncer, didn't come with a babysitting job and a mother-in-law apartment for her. Anyway, now we have acute asthma attack as the cause of death

August 30, 1981, Boston Globe - AP, page 1, Slain Legislator's First Wife Dies, 59,

BURLINGAME, Calif. --Margaret M. Ryan, 59, the first wife of slain US Rep. Leo Ryan, died Friday at Peninsula Hospital after suffering an acute asthma attack. Hospitalized in the morning, she slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness.

Mrs. Ryan, a native of McClellan, Iowa, was married 23 years to Ryan, a San Mateo Democrat, before their divorce in 1971. Ryan was shot to death Nov. 18, 1978, on a jungle airstrip while on a trip investigating conditions at Jonestown, Guyana. Former Peoples Temple member Larry Layton is now on trial in federal court in San Francisco, charged with conspiracy to kill the lawmaker.

Mrs. Ryan leaves two sons and three daughters. diigo,


August 31, 1981, New York Times - UPI, Margaret Ryan Is Dead at 59; Ex-Wife of Slain Congressman,

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30— Margaret Ryan, the first wife of Representative Leo J. Ryan of California, who was slain outside the People's Temple commune in Guyana in 1978, died Firday at Peninsula Hospital here. She was 59 years old.

Mrs. Ryan, who was married to the Democratic lawmaker for 23 years, was hospitalized Wednesday after suffering an acute asthma attack. She slipped into a coma and did not regain consciousness, doctors said.

She was born in McClellan, Iowa, and served as a Navy nurse in California in World War II. She married Mr. Ryan on Oct. 16, 1948, and filed for divorce in 1971. The Congressman later married again and was divorced before he and four other persons were shot to death in an airport ambush Nov. 18, 1978.

Mrs. Ryan is survived by her mother, two sons and three daughters. diigo,


One more literary reference

___________________________________________

August 16, 1985, New York Times, Obituary, Shiva Naipaul is Dead at 40; Wrote Books on Third Worlddiigo,

Shiva Naipaul, the Trinidad-born author and journalist, died of a heart attack Tuesday night in London, where he lived. He was 40 years old.

(He was the less well-known brother of V. S. Naipaul)

One of his reporting books, ''Journey to Nowhere,'' published here in 1981, described the mass suicide of the followers of the Rev. Jim Jones in the jungles of Guyana.

________________________________________



August 7, 1985, The Spokesman Review, page A13, Guyana leader dies during surgery, by Carl Blackman,
August 7, 1985, New York Times, Guyana's Leader Dies; Successor is Sworn In, by Richard J. Meislin, diigo,
August 7, 1985, Boston Globe - AP, page 3, Guyana's Leader, Forbes Burnham, Dies in Surgery, by Carl Blackman,
August 7, 1985, The Washington Post, page B6, Forbes Burnham, President Of Guyana, Dies at Age 62, by J.Y. Smith Washington Post Staff Writer,
August 7, 1985, Los Angeles Times, Guyana's President Burnham Dies at 62, by William R. Long, Times Staff Writer, diigo,
August 7, 1985, The Times Daily - AP, page A5, Guyana leader dies in surgery,
March 13, 1997, Miami Times, Death of Guyana President Cheddi Jagan marked end of an era, by Mohamed Hamaludin, 700+ words diigo,
December 24, 2002, The Independent, Obituary: Desmond Hoyte ; Cultivated and Austere Former President of Guyana Respected for His Statesmanship, by Colin Harding, 700+ words diigo,
October 10, 2003, AP Worldstream, Former first lady, vice president of Guyana dies, age 72, 367 words
diigo,
June 25, 2008, Los Angeles Times, page A2, Guyana's first socialist leader, [Arthur Raymond Chung,] From Times Staff and Wire Reports, diigo,
_________________________________________


The following is a list of people whose obituaries were published in the newspaper cited after each reference. Please note: the dates indicate the day the obituary was published and its location, rather than the date of death. These obituaries can be also found on the web at various proprietary news services, such as Lexis-Nexis. The people are listed in alphabetical order, not in chronological order of their deaths.

Paula Adams, Temple leader and companion to Laurence Mann (10/26/83, Washington Post)

Monica Bagby, whose alliance with Vernon Gosney led them to approach Leo Ryan with a request to leave Jonestown – and who herself was wounded along with Gosney during the Port Kaituma shooting – died on June 14, 2009. A memorial tribute site for her – under her adopted name of "Monika Sharron Bagby" – is here.

Charles Beikman, who served five years in a Guyana prison in connection with deaths of Sharon Amos and her children (approximately 2001, in Indiana) (reference to his death in this story).

Madeline Brooks, Jonestown survivor (May 14, 2003, in Arizona) (legacy.com).

Marian Campbell, Jonestown survivor (January 1, 1985) (legacy.com).

Ross Case, Jones' pastoral associate in Indianapolis who was perhaps most directly responsible for bringing Jones to northern California, eventually repudiated both him and Peoples Temple (February 20, 2006, in Arizona) (legacy.com).

Patti Chastain, 48, Temple survivor (February 5, 1995). See remembrance here.

Essie Clark, a member of Peoples Temple whose application to emigrate to Jonestown was turned down for medical reasons – and who remained an ardent supporter of Jim Jones even after the deaths of November 1978 – died on September 25, 2000. She was also the mother of Monica Bagby.

Richard Clark, who survived the deaths in Jonestown by leaving the community on the morning of 18 November, died in 2003. Rev. Clark, who was born in Mississippi, was 66.

Richard William Cordell, one of the Cordells, a key Indianapolis family in Temple history (December 1, 1983 in Puyallup, WA, according to Cordell family genealogy)

Grover Cleveland Davis, Temple survivor (January 17, 1993, in Bellevue, Washington)

Miguel de Pina, Jonestown survivor, was ill with stomach cancer in November 1978 and died that December. Remembrances appear here.

Julius Evans, who survived the deaths in Jonestown by leaving the community with his family and a handful of other residents early on the morning of November 18, died in 2004.

Kay Henderson, former Temple member (March 2006). See remembrance here.

Archie Ijames, long-time member of Peoples Temple from Indianapolis, assistant pastor (30 May 1993) (legacy.com).

Norman Ijames, the son of Rosie and Archie Ijames, and one of the few Temple members with a pilot’s license, died in a plane crash in South America (1 November 1980) (legacy.com).

Rosie Ijames, long-time member of Peoples Temple from Indianapolis, wife of Archie (1 November 1982) (legacy.com).

Richard Janaro, who was on a Temple boat off the coast of Guyana at the time of the deaths in Jonestown, died in early 2003 after a long illness. He was 83. He is survived by his wife, Claire, a Temple member who was in Georgetown on November 18. The Janaros' two children – Mauri Kay, 15, and Darren Richard, 14 – died in Jonestown.

Ruby Johnson, who survived the deaths in Jonestown because she was in Georgetown on November 18, died in the 1990s.

Suzanne Jones, adopted daughter of Jim and Marceline Jones (November 2006)

Ruth Ellen Kerns Reinhardt, a former member of Peoples Temple who became a nurse practitioner (January 2006).

Paul McCann, who survived the deaths in Jonestown by being in Georgetown on November 18, died in July 2010. A remembrance by Michael Touchette appears here.

Wade and Mabel Medlock, two former members of Peoples Temple who filed both a civil suit and a criminal complaint against Jim Jones and other Temple leaders, alleging they had extorted the Medlocks’ property, died on March 1, 1983 and April 8, 2002, respectively.

Al & Jeannie Mills, aka Elmer & Deanna Mertle, two early defectors from Peoples Temple, and founders of the Concerned Relatives and the Human Freedom Center (2/28/80, Washington Post; also Monterey Peninsula Herald) were murdered in their home in Berkeley, California in February 1980, along with their daughter Daphene, 15. The crime was never solved.

Tyrone Mitchell, Temple survivor (2/25/84, New York Times; also Ocala (FL) Star Banner)

Edith Parks, Jonestown resident who left with Rep. Leo Ryan on November 18, 1978 (April 1, 1985 in Ukiah) (legacy.com).

Robert Paul, who accompanied Leslie Wilson, Richard Clark, Diane Louie and the Evans family on their trek to Matthews Ridge on November 18, died in July 2010. An obituary in the Daily Iberian appears here and a story of his life appears here.

Joe Phillips, a prominent member of Peoples Temple during its Redwood Valley years, died in 2000.

Wayne Pietila, a former member of Peoples Temple whose departure from the church as one of the Gang of Eight was considered the first major defection, died on December 15, 2011. Numerous remembrances appear here.

Michael Prokes, spokesperson for Peoples Temple, by suicide (3/14/79). His statement to the press before his death is here.

Shirley Purifoy defected from Peoples Temple with her husband Bill and 13 other relatives on New Years Day 1976 (Summer 2006).

Aurora Rodriguez, who survived the deaths in Jonestown because she was in Georgetown on November 18 (April 28, 1996) (legacy.com).

David Richard Shular, a former member of Peoples Temple (5/7/04) (See remembrances for David here and here)

Ricky Stahl, a former member of Peoples Temple who was related to several people who died in Jonestown (June 1, 1987) (legacy.com).

Bobby Stroud, Jonestown survivor (2/23/05). (See remembrances here)

Helen Swinney, Jonestown resident who survived the tragedy by being on the Temple's boat, the Cudjoe (October 17, 1999, in South Carolina) (legacy.com).

Hyacinth Thrash, Temple survivor (11/22/95, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Charlie Touchette, who was one of Jonestown's original settlers and who survived the tragedy by being on the Temple's boat, the Cudjoe (March 30, 2007).

Johnnie Mae Yates, aka Nedra Yates, Jonestown survivor (September 16, 2009, in Texas) (legacy.com). A remembrance by Laura Johnston Kohl appears here.

Relatives

Charlotte and Walter Baldwin, the parents of Marceline Jones who visited Jonestown in October 1978 less than a month before the tragedy, died in Richmond, Indiana, where they lived for most of their lives and where Marceline was born. Charlotte died 15 July 1992, and Walter died about six months later, 17 January 1993 (legacy.com).

June M. Cordell died in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 26, 2010 at age 82 following a stroke earlier that month. She is survived by her husband Gene. More than a dozen of their relatives died in Jonestown. Their writings appear here.

Louis Gurvich, the father of Jonestown resident Jann Gurvich, and a private investigator in New Orleans who considered hiring mercenaries in 1977 to kidnap his daughter and who flew down to Guyana two days after the deaths in Jonestown to conduct his own investigation, died on August 1, 1986.

Nadyne Houston, mother of Bob Houston and grandmother of Judy and Patricia Houston, was a member of Concerned Relatives, and accompanied Leo Ryan to Guyana, even though she did not travel with the congressional party to Port Kaituma (August 11, 1993) (legacy.com).

Laurence Layton, father of Debbie and Larry Layton, husband of Lisa Layton (March 3, 1999) (legacy.com).

Fred Lewis, a San Francisco butcher who lost 27 relatives in Jonestown, died on May 13, 2003 after a long illness. His relatives in Jonestown included his wife, Doris, and seven children. His niece, Rev. Jynona Norwood, leads an annual memorial service at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.

Barbara Moore, the mother of Carolyn Layton and Annie Moore and grandmother of Kimo Prokes (6/21/04) (See a remembrance here

Robert Moore, uncle of Carolyn Moore Layton and Ann Elizabeth Moore (January 2007). See remembrance here. An article he wrote for Ten Years After Jonestown, a collection of essays published by Edwin Mellen Press in 1989, appears here.

Beverly and Howard Oliver, who were active with the Concerned Relatives organization in an effort to remove her sons, Bruce and Bill, from Jonestown, have died. Howard died 4 April 2001, and Beverly died four months later, 4 August 2001 (legacy.com).

Ezra Schacht, the father of Jonestown's doctor Larry Schacht, was killed in an automobile accident in Texas on June 18, 2010. He was 91. His obituary appears here. A remembrance appears here.

Martin Tropp, brother of Richard and Harriet Sarah Tropp (December 29, 2006)


U.S. and California Government figures

John Burke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana (8/10/93, Washington Post)

Joseph Freitas Jr., San Francisco District Attorney (4/19/06, San Francisco Chronicle)

Richard Dwyer, U.S. Embassy official (8/31/91, Washington Post)

Mervyn Dymally, California’s lieutenant governor under Jerry Brown and one of the state’s highest ranking supporters of Peoples Temple (10/7/2012)

Harvey Milk, San Francisco Board of Supervisors (12/3/78, Washington Post)

George Moscone, Mayor of San Francisco (12/1/78, Washington Post)

Robert Ode, U.S. Embassy official in Guyana in months after November 1978 (9/11/95, New York Times)

Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State during Jonestown body evacuation (1/14/2002, New York Times)


Guyana officials and figures

Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister (8/7/85, Washington Post)

Raymond Arthur Chung, who was Guyana’s first president, serving from March 1970 to October 1980 – a period that included Jonestown's entire history in that country – died on 23 June 2008. Information about his life may be found here.

Desmond Hoyte, who served as Guyana’s Minister of Development in Forbes Burnham’s government during the life of Jonestown – and whom the Jonestown leadership considered as an antagonist to their cause – died on 22 December 2002. Information about his life and other tributes may be found here.

Cheddi Jagan, head of Guyanese political opposition (3/7/97, Los Angeles Times)

Sir Lionel Luckhoo, Guyana lawyer (12/22/97, London Daily Telegraph)

Laurence E. Mann, Guyana’s ambassador to the U.S. Also known as "Bonny" Mann, the Ambassador killed his partner Paula Adams, their child, and then himself. (10/26/83, Washington Post)

Leslie Mootoo, Guyana pathologist at Jonestown following deaths, 15 February 2000 (Guyana Chronicle, 2/28/2000)

The Rev. Andrew Morrison, a priest who ran a Catholic newspaper in Georgetown and criticized Guyana's government for failing to do more to prevent the Jonestown massacre, on 26 January 2004 (Associated Press, 28 January 2004)

Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana 2 September 2003 (Guyana Chronicle, 9/4/03)

Walter Rodney, political activist in Guyana, was assassinated in Guyana on December 13, 1980

Vincent Teekah, Guyana’s Minister of Education who had close ties with Jim Jones and who certified the Jonestown school, was assassinated in Guyana in October 1979.

Fred Wills, who was Guyana's Minister of Foreign Affairs – and an official whom Jim Jones considered a close friend of the Jonestown project – died in March 1992. An appreciation of his life may be found here.


Other

Michael Bellefountaine, a frequent contributor to the jonestown report and the author of A Lavender Look at Peoples Temple, a history of gays and lesbians in the Temple (May 10, 2007). An obituary for Michael appears here. Numerous remembrances appear here.

Rev. Hamilton Boswell, pastor of Jones United Methodist Church in San Francisco’s Fillmore district who shared the critical views of most African American pastors of Jim Jones and Peoples Temple (May 6, 2007). His daughter’s obituary appears here.

Carlton Goodlett, publisher of the San Francisco Sun-Reporter and Jim Jones' personal physician, died January 25, 1997. (legacy.com)

Robert Fabian, Peoples Temple receiver following November 1978 (6/11/93, San Francisco Chronicle)

Charles Garry, attorney for Jim Jones and Peoples Temple (8/17/91, San Francisco Chronicle). A 1978 article from People Magazine about Garry's representation of the Temple appears here.

Yvonne Golden, educator and principal at Opportunity High in San Francisco, which many Temple teenagers attended (12/5/06). An obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle appears here.

Chris Hatcher, the psychologist hired by the city of San Francisco to counsel Peoples Temple members affected by Jonestown, died in 1999.

Joe Holsinger, aide to Rep. Leo Ryan (September 10, 2004). An obituary from the Sacramento Bee appears here. A portion of an audio recording of a press conference he held in May 1980 summarizing his views of what happened in Jonestown begins at 2:32 in Evidence of Revision.

Richard Hongisto, the sheriff in San Francisco and political ally of Peoples Temple influence in the 1970s – best known for his efforts to prevent the evictions at the International Hotel in January 1977 – died on November 4, 2004.

Rep. Tom Lantos, U.S. Congressman from Leo Ryan's district, first elected in 1980, sponsored several commemorations of slain predecessor (February 11, 2008).

Former Delaware State Senator W. Lee Littleton died in October 2011. Following the airlift of the Jonestown dead to Dover Air Force Base in his state, but before the unclaimed and unidentified remains were buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, Sen. Littleton offered to bury 30 to 40 of the “innocent” children in his backyard. That way, he said, he could watch their souls rise to heaven on Judgment Day.
Joseph Mazor, a private detective whom members of the Concerned Relatives hired to try to persuade people to leave Jonestown (November 1985).


Autumn Ryan, the mother of Leo Ryan, died on February 26, 1992.

Margaret Singer, a clinical psychologist who became an expert witness on the subject of cults and brainwashing – and who worked as a self-described deprogrammer for a number of former Temple members, both before and after the deaths in Guyana – died in 2003.

Laurence Stern, an editor for The Washington Post who co-authored Guyana Massacre with Charles Krause in 1978, died on August 11, 1979.

Karen Stroup, a minister in the Disciples of Christ, a professor in religion and psychology, and a regular contributor to the jonestown report, died on January 21, 2012.

Walter Thain, a physician who assisted Jonestown doctor Larry Schacht during a difficult delivery via a HAM radio hook-up – the success of which was heralded by the Temple as evidence of the Jonestown clinic’s abilities – and who later visited Jonestown, died in 1990.

Rep. Clement Zablocki (D-Wisconsin), the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who conducted a hearing on May 15, 1979 into the assassination of Leo Ryan and the deaths in Jonestown (December 3, 1983).






May 25, 2000, Los Angeles Times, John Jacobs; Columnist, Award-Winning Author,

From a Times Staff Writer

John Jacobs, a respected political columnist for the Sacramento Bee and award-winning author, died of cancer early Wednesday at his Davis home. He was 49.

For the last seven years, Jacobs had been political editor of the Bee and other McClatchy newspapers, writing a thrice-weekly column on California and national politics. Before working at the Bee, the veteran journalist spent 15 years as a political reporter at the San Francisco Examiner and one year as a Washington Post intern.

He wrote a highly praised 1996 biography of the late Phillip Burton, the influential California congressman and assemblyman who ran San Francisco's political machine for decades and left a legacy of landmark legislation affecting welfare, workers' issues and the environment.

Jacobs was also coauthor with Tim Reiterman of "Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His Peoples Temple," published in 1982. That book earned the Thomas Thompson PEN Award for nonfiction in 1983.

In a Jan. 9 column that Jacobs called the toughest of his career, he told readers about his illness, noting that a melanoma surgically removed from his thigh six years earlier had returned and that "the cancer is serious."

"I plan to fight this with every tool I can muster," he wrote, "and that includes the goodwill and prayers of friends and readers."

He was deluged by the latter: More than 400 readers sent e-mails and messages conveying their hopes for his recovery.

Colleagues and sources praised Jacobs as tough, scholarly and fair, with a deep understanding of public policy and the complexities that animate political life.

"He was a real player in Sacramento, across the state and the nation," former Gov. Pete Wilson told the Sacramento Bee. "We weren't ideological soul mates, but . . . he was an honest liberal. . . . He defended his turf, and I respected that."

For "A Rage for Justice: The Passion and Politics of Phillip Burton," published by the University of California Press, Jacobs plowed through 45 cartons of the late congressman's papers and conducted about 400 interviews.

Times reviewer Ted Simon wrote that Jacobs' prodigious research produced a work that was as instructive as it was entertaining: "[Readers] will learn more about real politics than they will acquire from a lifetime of following the news." The book won the D.B. Hardeman Award for 1995 from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.

Jacobs was sent to Guyana by the Examiner to cover the aftermath of the murders and suicides of more than 900 followers of Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones. The reporter arrived in Jonestown shortly after the 1978 airstrip shootout in which Jones' gunmen killed Rep. Leo Ryan and injured Jacobs' Examiner colleague, Reiterman. Jacobs would spend the next several years helping Reiterman research and write "Raven," praised in the New York Times as "powerfully written and well-researched".

Reiterman, now an editor and reporter for the Los Angeles Times, said Jacobs persuaded Jones' son, Stephan, to talk to the authors for the book. "That was really important," Reiterman said. "You couldn't get any closer to the family of Jim Jones than his only living natural son. He gave many hours and days to John and me. That was solely because of John's ability to connect with people."

Jacobs is survived by his wife, Carol Brydolf, a former Oakland Tribune reporter and now an editor for California Schools magazine, and two children, Max and Marguerite.

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