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In Memory of Ronald Ashby - a wonderful friend
In Tribute and Memory of Harold Kopit
In Memory of Dr. Matthew Jenkins
In Memory of Phyllis Kopit
The SCVMA Honors Dr. Bill Grant, Sr.
In Memory of Matthew Paulo
In Memory of Gail Anne Rominger, 1963 - 2017
In Memory of Joel Thomas
In Memory of Sylvia Esposito
In Memory of Cindy McKenna
In Memory of Joe Falvey
In Memory of Dr. Chas. Hendricks
In Memory of Sharon Torrico Osorio
In Memory of Leonard P. Kramer
In loving memory of Sunny Glassberg - A donation from Richard, Mary and Adam Glassberg and Bob, Sally, David and Emily Sands
In Memory of Barbara Brown - A donation from the AHF Board of Trustees
Thank You Janice Laureen - January 17, 1956 - March 8, 2012
In Memory of Renee Garner, a pet lover and a wonderful person
In Tribute to June Toland
In Memory of Carol Straus - Donation from Richard, Mary and Adam Glassberg
In Memory of Marc Russell Higgins
Hugh Graham
In Memory of Virginia G. Benoit
In Memory of Kel Bratton
In loving memory of A. Robert (Bob) Jack - A donation from the Dr. Mark Malo and Dr. Richard Glassberg Families. October 2010
Robert K. Washburn Memorial Donation from Lou Gatto July 2010
Natalie Kennedy Memorial Donation from Mary, Richard and Adam Glassberg June 2010
Antonio Vicente Glassberg -- Memorial Donation From Adam, Mary and Richard Glassberg April 2001
Dr. Joe Cortese Memorial Donation Made by the AHF Board of Trustees January 2009
Jonny Copp Memorial Donation From Richard, Mary and Adam Glassberg June 2009
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Natalie Kennedy Memorial Donation from Mary, Richard and Adam Glassberg June 2010

Natalie Kennedy Memorial Donation from Mary, Richard and Adam Glassberg June 2010

When I came to Orange County fresh out of veterinary school in 1968 I met Ralph and Natalie Kennedy and knew instantly there were caring, concerned people with a real social conscience in my new town. The community lost a remarkable woman when Natalie passed away suddenly while gardening on June 20.  

Jonathan Dobrer a columnist for the Fullerton Observer, (http://www.fullertonobserver.com/) a community newspaper founded by Ralph and Natalie and now published by their daughter Sharon, wrote a moving tribute to Natalie in the July 2010.  We would like to share this tribute to Natalie with our Animal Health Foundation friends and supporters.

 Natalie Kennedy: A Passion for Justice

-Jonathan Dobrer

When you think of giants you don’t usually picture someone 5’6 (at her tallest). When you look for a pillar you may not imagine an 85 year old slightly bent by age.  When you search for a prophet, you don’t normally consider a gentle voice with more good to say about humanity than bad.  Given all of these deficits in our search criteria you might not have seen Natalie Kennedy as all of these—and so much more.

Yet whenever there was a wrong to right, she was there—working for minorities of race, ethnicity and the socio-economically disadvantaged.  Whenever a group was denied housing, she was a witness for justice.  However, she was not simply a malcontent or a complainer.  She worked and gave of her talent and energy to create organizations that would constructively engage problems.  From fair housing to the labor rights of farm workers, her heart opened to all those who were marginalized by the mainstream.

She fought hate with love and engaged indifference with passion.  Along with her late husband, Ralph, she founded and nurtured The Fullerton Observer—a paper with a view but also with the integrity to publish dissenting opinions.  A paper “Small enough to tell the truth.”  A paper not beholden to any single sponsor or advertiser.  A paper that reflected her spiritual and political values. She handed the paper off to her daughter Sharon, who has sustained it because, well, she was raised by Natalie and Ralph.

Nor is it some strange accident of fate or coincidence that Natalie’s son, Rusty, heads the Orange County Human Relations Commission.  He too lives out her legacy of love and commitment.  Look at the family portrait on page 17.  You will see not simply a family but America—and not simply America but the world. Every color, ethnicity and culture has a place in the picture that represents her great heart, her heart that was large enough to encompass all.

Natalie lived to have and love 6 children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  She was politically the poster-mom for every liberal cause—except obviously Zero Population Growth.  And she was liberal in the greatest and most essential way—not simply partisan (though surely that) but generous and open, giving of her self without limit or expectation of return.  Opening her heart for no other reason than she thought it was the right thing to do.

I knew this Rhode Island Redhead (some just called her a “Red.”) Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Unitarian had a heart large enough to embrace me.  Over the past 12 years I saw her frequently—usually three or four times a month in her home.  At one time almost half her home was dedicated to the Observer. Whenever I stopped by she would inevitably try to force-feed me like a Strasbourg goose.  Next to my own mother she was the person most concerned with my care, feeding and sometimes with my dieting.  Like I say, another Mom.

It is fitting that when death came to her after 85 years it was her heart that gave out.  It did not rust away.  It wore out from generous use.   Without suffering or prolonged illness, her heart simply stopped—not like those old batteries that slow down, but like the new ones that run at full strength until they don’t.

When she died, she was tending her garden, planting water-saving succulents. Her work ethic and environmental values were strong till her final heart beat.  She died as she lived—committed to caring about the larger world and doing something to give her values flesh.  Yes, she died while tending her garden, but she lived believing and acting as if the whole world were her garden.  And now it is ours to tend.

Thank you Natalie; the world is a better place for your having been here.  We are all personally enriched and inspired by your life having touched ours.

For more information, click here

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