"This is not the only celebration of her life.

Can you imagine the celebration when Pat reached the Rainbow Bridge? All those animals that she saved; all those animals that she protected were right there to greet her, led by 71." - BOB BARKER


PAT DERBY | A Celebration of Her Life
During her lifetime, PAWS co-founder Pat Derby touched the lives of countless people and animals through her groundbreaking rescue and advocacy work. So it was no surprise that those who came out to honor Pat, and celebrate her life and work, filled the stately Crest Theatre in Sacramento, California, at a special event in her memory.


On Friday, March 29, 2013, colleagues and supporters came from across the country, and around the world, for an unforgettable evening of remembrance. Hundreds of guests attended the event and shared in the memories of Pat delivered by a distinguished list of speakers.


Sacramento media personalities Rob Stewart from KVIE, and KFBK's Kitty O'Neal emceed the evening and shared their many fond reminiscences of Pat. Speakers included PAWS champion and television legend, Bob Barker; long-time PAWS activist and Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger; friend and Supervisor Don Nottoli of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors; and three-time World Series winning baseball manager Tony LaRussa. Video tributes were provided by staunch defenders of animals - Congressman Sam Farr; PAWS supporter comedian Kevin Nealon; actress, comedian and writer Lily Tomlin; and Detroit Zoo director Ron Kagan.
Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Rob Stewart and Kat Kramer
The evening began with a special performance of "Bless the Beasts and the Children," movingly sung by the beautiful Kat Kramer, who was accompanied by accomplished young acrobats and performers from Natalie Gaulthier's Le Petit Cirque, stars of Circus PAWS. A cherished highlight in Pat's remarkable career, Circus PAWS was a dream that became reality, an animal-free circus that informed and entertained children and adults alike. Later in the program, former PAWS elephant keeper Tyler Coombs performed an original song written for PAWS' Asian elephant Annie. 


Bob Barker, pictured with Mark Berman from Earth Island Institute.

Bob Barker, friend and benefactor, was the first to speak. His charm and humor lightened everyone's heavy hearts, while he importantly reaffirmed that PAWS would continue to be a leader in protecting captive wild animals, under the capable direction of co-founder Ed Stewart. Kim Basinger spoke next, reading a deeply touching letter she wrote to Pat, in which she praised her courage, tenacity, and determination in her work for animals.


Dear friends, committed activists, volunteers, educators, and conservationists shared their memories of Pat, in stories bittersweet and outright funny, including friend and activist Linda Faso, Zoocheck Canada's Julie Woodyer, Kevin and Susan McCourt from Project OneSong, and ADI's Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips. Long-time PAWS volunteers Debbie Morrow and Dr. Diana Larson shared fond remembrances that revealed the different sides of Pat and the depth of her compassion. PAWS veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai reminisced about her personal journey with Pat and spoke proudly of how the sanctuary excels in the care of the animals.


Betsy Swart, executive director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, told of the beauty of a free-living elephant in Kenya named "71." The calf was named after the beloved African elephant rescued by Pat and Ed and who was the motivation for ARK 2000. Maggie Ferrari Rowland, entrepreneur, photographer, jewelry designer, and wife of Jelly Belly Chairman, Herm Rowland, talked of her first amazing impressions of Pat and PAWS, and how she dedicated herself to this wonderful cause. 

PAWS co-founder and
president, Ed Stewart.


Pat's life partner, and PAWS president and co-founder, Ed Stewart, was the last to speak. He lovingly imparted his own cherished memories of a never-dull life with Pat that brought the audience to sweet tears and to laughter, and that highlighted Pat's grit, humor and love. He stated: "Pat lived for animals. She never wavered. She never slowed. She never stopped... Now it's up to all of us to continue her dreams."


It was an unforgettable night of celebration for an extraordinary woman that touched the hearts of everyone in the theatre. Through all of us at PAWS and all of you reading this newsletter, Pat's dream of a better life for captive wild animals will live on forever. 







Kitty O'Neal and Ed Stewart



PAWS' tribute to founder, Pat Derby, was a memorable celebration of her life and legacy.

We sincerely appreciate, and thank, the following individuals who participated in creating a very special memorial program (listed alphabetically):


Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Deb Casey, Tyler Coombs, Jan Creamer, Mimi and Ed Durand, Jenay Espinosa, Congressman Sam Farr, Linda Faso, Dr. Jackie Gai, Barry Gardner, Ben Gardner, Christine Gardner, Jeff Gardner, Kim Gardner, Rhianna Gardner, Natalie Gaulthier, Robert Gelman, Carol Haft, Rod Harris, Ironstone Vineyards, Lisa Jeffries, Ron Kagan, Cami Katz, Josh Klein, Kat Kramer, Mrs. Stanley Kramer, Dr. Diana Larson, Tony and Elaine LaRussa, Kevin and Susan McCourt, Debbie Morrow, Kevin Nealon, Jeff and Rachel Newland, Sacramento County Board of Supervisor Don Nottoli, Kitty O'Neal, Tim Phillips, Soli Rachwal, Maggie Ferrari Rowland and Herm Rowland, Wendy Russell, Jim, Sharon and Rick Spaan's and the Spaan's Cookie Company, Rob Stewart, Dr. Betsy Swart, Lori and David Swearingen, Lily Tomlin, Julie Woodyer.



PAWS board member, Carol Haft, with Bob Barker
"About 40 years ago she [Pat] met Ed Stewart and I think that was probably the best thing to ever happen to either of them. . . The crowning jewel of their lives is the PAWS sanctuary and it now has the reputation of being perhaps the finest sanctuary for animals in the entire world. . . Some of you are concerned about the future of PAWS. Don't be!" - BOB BARKER
Kevin Nealon, Kim Basinger, Ed Stewart

"When we arrive in this world I think at some point we hopefully come to realize our true purpose. You were profoundly in touch with what your assignment was, Pat. Your accomplishments are immeasurable, your imprint indelible. You've left a brilliant legacy that will continue to live through the work at PAWS, through Ed, through all who have loved you, and through all those who have yet to know about you. Your flame is eternal and your light is forever." - KIM BASINGER


Tony and Elaine LaRussa with Ed Stewart

"The La Russas came to the Bay Area in the summer of '86. . .

Nothing that ARF [Animal Rescue Foundation] has done would have been possible had we not met, in our first couple of years, Pat and Ed. We were always taken by the vision, the courage, the tenacity, the refusal to accept a no, the fiestiness when confronted by bigger and stronger and richer opponents. . .

The reality of the plight of animals, whether they're performing or companion animals, is so real, and in many cases so horrifying, that the best part of our lives, our family's lives, has been about what we have been able to do with companion animals and for that and many other reasons we will never ever be able to thank Pat, and Pat and Ed, enough for providing the way and the inspiration. If they could do it, darn we could do it." - TONY LA RUSSA



"Pat, when I have observed you with your animals I simply knew I was in the presence of a purely spiritual being, having a truly spiritual experience.

It was soul to soul, in their language, straight to the core. You were in them and they were in you." - KIM BASINGER


To view more photos of Pat's celebration and to purchase prints, click here. Proceeds from the sale of all photos go to PAWS.
A video of the evening's celebration is currently in production
and will be available for purchase at a later date.
Visit PAWS' SmugMug Photo Site
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PAWS partnerships help support our sanctuary operations and the day-to-day care of the animals.

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