Who Has Died Since 18 November 1978?

(Editorial note: Several of the links below – mainly those listed as “legacy.com” – open to a generic, non-functioning page. This is due to that website’s compliance with federal legislation which closed public access to the Social Security Death Index – the source of many of their records – as of January 2015. We appeal to the visitors to this page to provide us with whatever information you may have – an online obituary, the PDF of a printed death notice – to fill in the newly-created blanks below. Thank you for your assistance.)

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.

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.

Former Temple members

  • Paula Adams, Temple leader and companion to Laurence Mann (10/26/83, Washington Post). A remembrance by Laura Johnston Kohl is here.
  • 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 post-Jonestown spelling of “Monika Sharron Bagby” – is here. This site includes two stories of remembrance by Vernon Gosney and Elizabeth Macqueen.
  • 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). A remembrance by Stephan Jones appears here.
  • Madeline Brooks, Jonestown resident who survived the tragedy by being in Georgetown (May 14, 2003, in Arizona).
  • Marian Campbell, Jonestown resident who survived the tragedy by being in Georgetown (January 1, 1985).
  • 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 (August 12, 1992 in St. Helena, California).
  • Patti Chastain, 48, Temple survivor (February 5, 1995). A remembrance by her husband Michael Haag appears 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.
  • Teresa Ann Cobb, whose family moved with Peoples Temple from Indiana to California, and who was among the eight college students who defected in 1973, died on February 13, 2015. Remembrances by Laura Johnston KohlLeslie Wagner Wilson and Vera Washington reflect on different aspects of Teresa’s life.
  • Harold Cordell, Jonestown resident who left with Rep. Leo Ryan on November 18, 1978, has since died in Lewiston, Idaho, according to family records. The date and cause of death are unknown.
  • 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)
  • Danny Curtin, a longtime member of Peoples Temple, died in early October 2017.
  • June Crym Adams, who was in the San Francisco Temple at the time of the deaths in Jonestown, died in Eureka, California on June 20, 2013. She was 70. She is survived by her husband, former Temple member Tom Adams. A remembrance by Laura Johnston Kohl is here.
  • Grover Cleveland Davis, Jonestown survivor (January 17, 1993, in Bellevue, Washington)
  • Miguel de Pina, Jonestown resident who survived the tragedy by being in Georgetown, was ill with stomach cancer in November 1978 and died that December. Several remembrances by family members 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.
  • Paul Flowers, a member of Peoples Temple, died in February 2017. Laura Johnston Kohl wrote a remembrance appears in the 2017 edition of the jonestown report.
  • Clifford Gieg, who was living in Jonestown on November 18 and who survived the deaths by being dispatched on the Temple’s boat the Cudjoe along with Herbert Newell, died in early October 2017.
  • Kay Henderson, former Temple member (March 2006). See remembrance here.
  • John Heneka, a member of Peoples Temple and the post-tragedy companion to Jonestown survivor Bea Orsot, died in mid-February 2016. A remembrance by Laura Johnston Kohl appears in the 2016 edition of the jonestown report.
  • Archie Ijames, long-time member of Peoples Temple from Indianapolis, assistant pastor (30 May 1993). A biographical sketch, written in 2015 by This Day in North Carolina History, a production of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, appears here.
  • 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).
  • Rosie Ijames, long-time member of Peoples Temple from Indianapolis, wife of Archie (1 November 1982).
  • 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.
  • Melvin Johnson died in San Francisco in the early 1990s. A story about Melvin and his music appears here.
  • Ruby Johnson, Jonestown resident who survived the tragedy by being in Georgetown, died in the 1990s.
  • Sammie Jones, former Temple member, mother of Kay Henderson and foster mother of Tommy “Fayzo” Washington, grandmother of Marco Moxquuz and Edward Weaver. Died July 18, 2014 of natural causes at age 91.
  • Suzanne Jones, adopted daughter of Jim and Marceline Jones (November 2006)
  • Walter “Smitty” Jones, who left Peoples Temple with Grace Stoen (now Grace Jones) on July 4, 1976, died in Concord, California on June 21, 2013. He was 75. A longtime general contractor, Walter was instrumental in setting up Jonestown’s electrical service. He is survived by his wife, Grace, and two children. A remembrance by Laura Johnston Kohl is here.
  • 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 were 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. Wade Medlock died on March 1, 1983, and Mabel Medlock died on April 8, 2002.
  • 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, a member of Peoples Temple whose parents and other relatives died in Jonestown and who himself became the subject of publicity when he fired a rifle into a Los Angeles schoolyard – killing one and wounding 10 – before taking his own life (2/25/84, New York Times; also Ocala (FL) Star Banner; 2015 story in SF Weekly).
  • Christopher Keith O’Neal, who left Jonestown with her family in the company of Congressman Leo Ryan, was shot to death on November 9, 2014 in Ukiah, California, by police officers who were responding to a report of a domestic dispute between himself and his wife. He was 57. The shooting was characterized as a “suicide by cop” and was later ruled as a justifable homicide. The Lake Country (California) District Attorney’s report of the shooting is here.
  • Brenda Parks, who left Jonestown with her family in the company of Congressman Leo Ryan, died on February 14, 2013 in Ukiah, California. She was 52. She is survived by her father Jerry Parks, her sister Tracy Parks Diaz, and her brother Dale Parks. Her mother, Patricia, was the only member of Peoples Temple who was killed at the Port Kaituma airstrip.
  • Edith Parks, Jonestown resident who left with Rep. Leo Ryan on November 18, 1978 (April 1, 1985 in Ukiah).
  • 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 Eight Revolutionaries was considered the first major defection, died on December 15, 2011. Numerous remembrances appear here.
  • Michael Prokes, Jonestown survivor and spokesperson for Peoples Temple, by suicide (3/14/79). His statement to the press before his death is here.
  • Bill Purifoy, who joined Peoples Temple with his entire family – and who left with 14 relatives on New Years Day 1976 – died on December 4, 2012. He was 76. His wife Shirley Purifoy died six years earlier, in the summer of 2006. Bill was a contractor before he joined the church and he did a lot of the construction and renovation at the San Francisco Temple in the early 1970s. He was also a minister when he joined, and continued that occupation following his departure from the Temple. At the time of his death, he was a Pastor of Three Brothers Community Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
  • Marilyn Pursley, a member of Peoples Temple who visited Jonestown in early November 1978 to escort her daughter to the community, died June 15, 2016. Cynthia Pursley died on November 18. A second daughter, Joan, was living in Georgetown at the time and survived the deaths. A profile of her life written a few months before here death, appears here. A remembrance by Marilyn’s daughter Jordan Vilchez appears in the 2016 edition of the jonestown report.
  • Odell Rhodes, Jonestown survivor (July 12, 2014 due to heart failure after a long illness).
  • 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 resident who survived the tragedy by being in Georgetown (2/23/05). Several remembrances appear here.
  • Helen Swinney, Jonestown resident who survived the tragedy by being on the Temple’s boat, the Cudjoe (October 17, 1999, in South Carolina).
  • Larry Swinney, who left Peoples Temple with his family in the mid-1970s, died in a single car accident near his Loris, South Carolina home on October 1, 2013. He was 53. He is survived by his parents, Marvin and Jackie Swinney, his brother Don and his daughter Jennifer.
  • Hyacinth Thrash, Jonestown 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.
  • Sherwin Harris, a member of Concerned Relatives who traveled to Georgetown with Leo Ryan’s congressional party – and whose former wife Sharon Amos and daughter Liane Harris were among the four fatalities in the Lamaha Gardens bathroom on November 18, 1978 – died January 11, 2016. His reflections about Liane appear here. A remembrance by Jordan Vilchez appears in the 2016 edition of the jonestown report.
  • 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.
  • Barbara Sines died on January 15, 2014. She was 84. Her efforts to honor her children, Ron and Nancy Sines, who died in Jonestown, were instrumental in the completion of the Jonestown memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in May 2011. Her obituary appears here. Her writings for this site appear here.
  • Martin Tropp, brother of Richard and Harriet Sarah Tropp (December 29, 2006)
  • Zoanna Kille, first wife of Elmer Mertle and mother of former Temple member Linda Mertle (July 2014)

 

U.S. and California Government figures

  • John Barbagelata, who lost the San Francisco mayoral race to George Moscone in 1975 – and who swore that Peoples Temple committed election fraud that led to his defeat – died on March 19, 1994.
  • John Burke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana (8/10/93, Washington Post)
  • Warren Christopher, the Deputy Secretary of State at the time of the deaths in Jonestown, died in 2011. Mr. Christopher was instrumental in coordinating the department’s response to the Jonestown tragedy.
  • Viktor Dikeos, a longtime diplomat, including several years as the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Panama in the late 1970s, died in January 2014. Mr. Dikeos volunteered in a similar capacity in November 1978, filling in for Richard Dwyer, who was wounded at the Port Kaituma airstrip.
  • Don Edwards, a U.S. Congressman who was scheduled to travel to Guyana with Rep. Leo Ryan – and who eventually tried to dissuade his colleague from making the trip – died on October 1, 2015.
  • 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)
  • 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. An obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle appears here.
  • Rep. Tom Lantos, U.S. Congressman from Leo Ryan’s district, first elected in 1980, sponsored several commemorations of his slain predecessor (February 11, 2008).
  • 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)
  • 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).

 

Guyana officials and figures

  • Neville Annibourne, a Guyanese Information Officer who accompanied Leo Ryan to Jonestown and who survived the shootings at the Port Kaituma airstrip, died on April 22, 2013. He was 82. An interview he gave in 2010 on the 32nd anniversary of the mass deaths, appears here.
  • Lloyd Barker, who was Guyana’s Chief Commissioner of Police at the time of the deaths in Jonestown, and who was instrumental in that country’s negotiations in the removal of the bodies, died in July 1999.
  • Sir Harold Bollers, who served as Chief Justice of Guyana’s Supreme Court during the years of Jonestown’s existence and who was involved in the John Victor Stoen custody suit before the deaths of November 18, and in the trials of the two Temple members arrested in their aftermath, died on December 26, 2006.
  • 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.
  • Shirley Field-Ridley, who was Guyana’s Minister of Information at the time of the deaths in Jonestown and whose post-tragedy press conference opened the national government to great criticism and charges of cover-up, died in June 1982. She was 45.
  • 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 until February 13, 1978, when he resigned for health reasons – and an official whom Jim Jones considered a close friend of the Jonestown project – died in March 1992.

 

Other

  • Dennis Banks, an activist with the American Indiana Movement whose requested extradition from California to South Dakota in 1975 was challenged by Peoples Temple – and who became a cause celebre for the Temple as a result – died on October 29, 2017. The connection between Jim Jones and Banks was noted on October 30 in Breitbart News.
  • Frank Bell, an attorney who represented Larry Layton in the initial parole hearings in 1991, five years after Layton’s conviction for his role in the Port Kaituma shootings, died February 25, 2016. A remembrance by Marianne Bachers appears in the 2016 edition of the jonestown report.
  • 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.
  • Powers Boothe, whose career as an actor included a portrayal of Jim Jones in the 1980 TV miniseries Guyana Tragedy, died on May 14, 2017.
  • 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). An obituary appears here.
  • Ira Brown, the San Francisco Superior Court judge who presided over the dissolution of Peoples Temple and the dispersal of its assets, died in 2000 at the age of 69.
  • Jeff Brailey, the senior medic of the Joint Humanitarian Task Force sent to Guyana in November 1978 to retrieve the remains of the Peoples Temple members, and the author of the book The Ghosts of November, died on January 31, 2014 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. A death notice appears here. A remembrance by Susan White-Hicks appears here. His collected writings for the website appear here.
  • Mother Divine (Edna Rose Ritchings), the widow of Father Divine who resisted the efforts of Jim Jones to take over the Peace Mission after her husband’s death, died on March 14, 2017. An obituary appears on the Peace Missions’ website.
  • Robert Fabian, Peoples Temple receiver following November 1978 (6/11/93, San Francisco Chronicle).
  • Bob Flick, the NBC producer who traveled with Leo Ryan’s congressional party to Jonestown, died December 31, 2015. A remembrance for Mr. Flick appeared in The Octogenarians website in January 2016. Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons’ reflections on his Jonestown trauma appears in the 2016 edition of the jonestown report.
  • 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. “Streetfighter in the Courtroom,” a 1991 documentary of his life – absent any mention of his work with Peoples Temple – may be viewed 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.
  • Carlton Goodlett, publisher of the San Francisco Sun-Reporter and Jim Jones’ personal physician, died January 25, 1997. An essay which Dr. Goodlett wrote for The Need For A Second Look At Jonestown (ed. Rebecca Moore and Fielding M. McGehee III; Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989) appears here. An article about Dr. Goodlett by UC Berkeley professor James Lance Taylor 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.
  • John Jacobs, who was Tim Reiterman’s cowriter of Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His Peoples Temple, died on May 24, 2000.
  • John Judge, whose seminal work written in 1985, The Black Hole of Guyana, laid out his evidence for alternative theories as to what happened in Jonestown – including Jim Jones’ alleged connections to intelligence agencies, as well as those agencies’ independent interference in the Jonestown experiment, died on April 15, 2014.
  • George Klineman, who co-authored the book The Cult that Died: The Tragedy of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, published in 1980, died in late 2014 or early 2015. Further details of cause and date of death are not known.
  • Mark Lane, an attorney who represented Jim Jones and Peoples Temple in the summer and fall of 1978, died May 11, 2016. Along with another well-known lawyer Charles Garry, Lane accompanied Leo Ryan to Jonestown but stayed behind in the community to help facilitate additional departures on November 18. Both attorneys survived the tragedy after being escorted to a house away from the pavilion. Other online obituaries appeared on the Community Idea Stations, the NPR/PBS affiliates in Richmond, Virginia, the state where Mr. Lane died; on Sys.com; and on the PR Newswire. An obituary by Matthew Thomas Farrell appears in the 2016 edition of the jonestown report.
  • 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). A profile of Mazor published in the December 10, 2015 edition of the SF Weekly appears here.
  • Carolyn Pickering, a reporter for The Indianapolis Star who was the first to investigate charges against Peoples Temple prior to its migration to California in the mid-1960s, died on June 16, 2011. The obituary also appears here.
  • Thomas Robbins, an author and independent scholar of sociology of religion who wrote extensively on the Jonestown tragedy, died of cancer on August 31, 2015.
  • Autumn Ryan, the mother of Leo Ryan, died on February 26, 1992.
  • Mary Sawyer, a professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University in Ames, who wrote often on Peoples Temple and Jonestown, including for this site, died on May 20, 2015 at Clare House in Dubuque, Iowa. Dr. Sawyer learned about Peoples Temple while working on many of the same issues – especially those concerning black elected officials – in San Francisco during the 1970s. She was an editor of the volume, Peoples Temple and Black Religion in America, published in 2004.
  • Garry Scarff, an anticult activist who posed as a member of Peoples Temple so as to write a fictitious account of life inside the group – and who later apologized for his subterfuge – died on April 12, 2017.
  • 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. The Articles section for the 14th edition of the jonestown report was dedicated to her memory. Her collected writings for the website appear here.
  • Dr. Hardat Sukhdeo, a self-described “anti-cult activist” who both offered psychiatric services to Jonestown survivors and who consulted extensively with the FBI about the anticipated behavior of Temple members returning from Guyana, died on April 14, 2014. His obituary is here.
  • Sandy Svetcov, a San Francisco prosecuting attorney who was on the team that won the conviction of Larry Layton for his role in the shootings at the Port Kaituma airstrip, died on February 15, 2013. He was 72.
  • 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.
  • Phil Tracy, who co-authored the New West article with Marshall Kilduff in the summer of 1977, died on September 18, 2016.
Last modified on November 8th, 2017.
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