…In Loving Memory
Marin political organizer and anti-pesticide advocate, Julia Kendall, passed away on July 12, 1997 of complications from leukemia.
She came to Marin in 1971 from Texas and Louisiana, where she was active in the Republican Party and was honored in 1963 as the Outstanding Young Republican Woman in the Nation. Inspired by Robert Kennedy she became a Democrat in the late sixties. She was a member of the California Democratic Central Committee in 1984, and an active member of the Hazardous Waste Sub-committee of the California State Air Resources Board.
She worked for many liberal causes in Marin, including the Rainbow Coalition, the Nuclear Free Zone campaigns and Central American refugee sponsorship programs. As a resident of San Anselmo, she led a successful drive to save the Robson-Harrington estate from development, which resulted in its becoming a popular park and conference center.
Injured by the pesticide, malathion, during the 1990 Medfly eradication program, she refocused her activism on the effects of toxic chemicals on human health. She was the chair of Citizens for a Toxic Free Marin and one of the founders of the Chemical Injury Litigation Project. She was committed to combining litigation and publicity to change public policy on issues that affect health and the environment.
In 1994 she led a campaign against American Airlines to halt the unannounced spraying of pesticides on passengers, which generated international publicity and led to the end of the practice in several countries. She organized demonstrations, phone-in campaigns, publicity and lawsuits against corporate manufacturers of toxic products. She firmly believed that those industries are vulnerable; that if the public stops buying their products and stocks, they will clean up their products or go out of business.
Her spirited and optimistic activism will be missed by people all over the country who turned to her for help with issues surrounding toxic exposure and environmental illness. She was a tireless researcher in the field of chemical injury litigation and shared her wealth of knowledge and extensive database with anyone who asked. She will be remembered for her compassionate and generous nature, as much as for her uncompromising activism for a safer environment.
The funeral and burial will be in Overton, Texas. In the Bay Area, a memorial celebrating her life and work will be held at Point Reyes' North Beach on July 20 at 1pm. Donations may be sent to Health and Habitat, a nonprofit organization to promote healthy housing. (Sandy Ross, Director, 383-5343)
She is survived by her son, Spencer Kendall Lynn, her sister, Cynthia Kendall, her mother, May Kendall, and her life partner, Rudi Zubere.
Julia's family will be having a memorial service at her favorite beach in Point Reyes, CA. The beach is called North Beach and they will post signs leading the way. (the beach is to the left after Inverness drive. Watch for the signs) Also, anyone wishing to say a few words is welcome.
IN MEMORIAM—JULIA KENDALL
(The following is a reprint of a memorial article published in the "ECHO Newsletter" – used by permission.)
THIS ISSUE OF THE ECHO IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF FRIEND AND ACTIVIST JULIA KENDALL
We considered Julia Kendall a friend. We admired her organizing ability, her activism and her dedication to helping everyone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity gain access through that activism. Julia passed away on July 12, 1997 of complications from leukemia.
You may know Julia's name through the organization she founded "Citizens for a Toxic Free Marin." ECHO's articles and handouts on perfume and fragrance-free accommodations were developed from materials compliled by Julia. She was gracious in sharing the information she gathered allowing others disabled with MCS to benefit from her hard work and research. Included in this issue is a handout compiled by Julia's "Twenty Most Common Chemicals Found in Thirty-One Fragrance Products."
Julia was a political organizer and anti-pesticides advocate who also co-founded the Chemical Injury Litigation Project. In January, 1997 Julia wrote, "I am committed to combining litigation and publicity to change public policy on issues that affect health and the environment. Removing chemical barriers in institutions covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act was a concept I publicized by demanding fragrance free access in Marin County with signs, demonstrations, and media coverage. I sued American Airlines for spraying pesticides on me during a flight to St. Marten, Dutch West Indies."
Near the end of March of this year, Julia wrote this personal message to Carolyn Wysocki: "I always enjoy receiving the ECHO newsletter. The fragrance free seminars, meetings, etc. you've encouraged and influenced are impressive… I don't know any place else in the country that has managed so much in that area".
It is both sad and ironic that Julia, who sued Neiman Marcus "for continuing to pollute my mail with fragrance strips" was exposed to scented health care workers in the hospital before she died.
Julia will be missed by all who knew her personally and by everyone who knew her work for the MCS community. It is only fitting that we at ECHO continue Julia's work by fighting for safer hospitals and for access to fragrance-free public places.
Our condolences to Julia's family—her son Spencer Kendall Lynn, her sister, Cynthia Kendall, her mother May Kendall, and her life partner Rudi Zubere.
Online Memorial Service Conducted by Rev. Rus Cooper-Dowda
Julia Kendall Memorial Service
About Our Purpose Here:
To live in this world you must be able to do 3 things:
- to love what is mortal
- to hold it knowing your life depends on it
- and to let it go when the time comes.
We are here to hold Julia in our hearts even while we also let her go…
(Imagine if you will a candle next to you right now… look at the holder,
imagine the heft, decide the color of the wax,
…now light it in your mind…)
In our time of grief we light our candles of sharing,
the flame of ongoing life.
In this time when we search for understanding and serenity in the face of loss,
we light our candles in our quest for truth and meaning and community.
Please join me in the following responsive reading.
Your response is:
"LOVE IS A MIRACLE EACH AND EVERY TIME IT OCCURS"
You may think it, say it out loud or type it in after I have.
Everything on earth has its own time and its own season,
There is even a time to ponder that:
LOVE IS A MIRACLE EACH AND EVERY TIME IT OCCURS
There is a time for birth and for death, for planting and for reaping,
LOVE IS A MIRACLE EACH AND EVERY TIME IT OCCURS
There is a time for crying and for laughing, for weeping and for dancing,
LOVE IS A MIRACLE EACH AND EVERY TIME IT OCCURS
There is a time for embracing and for parting, for finding and for losing,
while this remains true:
LOVE IS A MIRACLE EACH AND EVERY TIME IT OCCURS
Because that is true, there is also a time for listening and for speaking…
(Feel free to think about Julia and your own feelings about her here)
Because support is what the EI/MCS community does:
In the rising of the sun and in its going down
we depend on what gets us through our worst days.
(feel free to think about that here)
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring
we depend on what gives us hope.
(feel free to think about that here)
In the blueness of the sky and the warm of approaching Summer
Julia's family can depend on our good wishes.
(Feel free to think those good wishes for her family here)
(Now move that imaginary flame to your heart.
Feel it's warmth and light within your chest as we share the following)
Hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if you are a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it doesn't seem possible now.
Hold on to each other's hands
even when one has gone away from us.
So May It Be/Amen
Julia Kendall was the author of Twenty Most Common Chemicals in Thirty-one Fragrance Products [based on a] 1991 EPA Study, Making Sense of Scents, and Health Risks of Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets.
Personal Tributes to Julia
I would like to say that although I did not know her well she was an inspiration especially for people like myself who really want to change things but have a lot of trouble just getting through a day due to illness. She managed to do a lot being ill at the same time. This is the ultimate challenge. Many of us in this condition will remember her for this reason and keep going.
– Susan Beck (Canada)
HER DEATH WILL ONLY MAKE MY FIGHTING MORE AGGRESSIVE!
Trust me - Julia's death will NEVER be forgotten, and to me it's a signal to fight harder - as I would die too, if I had to go into a hospital - it scares the guts out of me just thinking of WHAT would happen to me, if I was taken there - Julia's death is my proof to give to any person, who will NOT believe me, when I say: I would die going into a hospital without my mask. When my Dad earlier this year (1997) was in hospital, I went to see him, as it was quite serious - I was there for apx. 15 minutes, of course I had my mask on - BUT I was in bed for 2 days afterwards with a heavy migraine.
G-d bless Julia :-)
– Helle Kongevang (Denmark)
Julia was one of the first people to help me after I was diagnosed with MCS. If it weren't for the information on perfumes and fabric softeners that she provided, I'd never have been able to convince certain family members that my illness was real and not imagined. Julia didn't even know me, but she took the time to talk with me on the phone at length about my illness and my situation with the County mosquito truck spraying malathion down our street. She sent me all kinds of information to help me with this problem, and I am eternally grateful to her for that and for her friendship. I am also very grateful to her for allowing me to include some of her information on my web site - where Julia can now continue to reach out to the world with her powerful voice…
– Jacki B. (Florida)
I will miss her Love and Caring.
This is what I know of Julia.
To me, she has always been an Angel.
– Patti Rentz (Florida)
I have been ill for many years due to perfumes and chemicals. I had many treatments for migraine headaches and chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia. Not until lately, in reading some of the information Julia was behind, did I know how to avoid the things which caused MCS. Thank you, Julia, for being there.
– Mary Pretlow (NC)
I shall miss Julia very much. She sent my husband and me off on vacation with loving thoughts and not a hint of how precarious her health was. I came home the end of July to that devastating phone call from her partner, Rudi.
I was so fortunate to have worked with Julia in a small capacity on two of her major research projects (Twenty Most Common Chemicals… and Fabric Softeners = Health Risks); to share her joy when she knew she helped another one struggle out of the abyss of chemical poisoning; to see her put her illness on hold to take an incoming call from someone who was as desperate for help as I had once been. Julia was there for everyone and gave selflessly.
As I travel life's highways, I will always remember the couple of trips Julia and I made to Sacramento to attend Air Resources Board meetings.
While the SF Bay Area tends to be moderate in temperature, the Great Valley is not. I cannot stand the heat, nor the exhaust from other vehicles. Julia could not stand the air conditioner. Neither of us could stand the pesticides used by agribusiness (and/or roadside maintenance). So, we quite naturally came up with the unspoken compromise—and we never missed a beat with our chatter. (My dad would have described it as, "It sounds like a pet shop in here!")
Julia felt that as I was the driver I should get dibs on AC. As we drove and talked, I notice she began rolling down the window. I turned off the AC and rolled down my window. As we drove further along and talked, I turned on the AC and Julia and I rolled up our windows. After a couple of turns of that, we suddenly realized what we were doing and just broke into hearty laughter. And what a wonderful laugh Julia had.
To you, Jacki, a hearty thank you for making a space available for people's thoughts about Julia. And an even larger thank you for putting Julia's work up on the www. Julia and I shared more than friendship, we shared the belief that people have a right to know! You have tremendously helped Julia get the word out. And because of your efforts, Julia will never be very far away from any of us.
Julia Kendall was an incredible detective, a very smart woman, and a dear friend. Her efforts against polluters will be missed but not forgotten.
– Diana Fairechild, author of JET SMART
About a month or two before Julia died, I had the good fortune to speak with her. My six-year-old son suffers from MCS and has a terrible time tolerating fragrances. I asked Julia if she would send me information about the chemicals in perfumes and air fresheners. She said she wasn't doing much work any more because she was sick with cancer. We spoke of my son's condition. She broke down and cried and said she would send me some information. I thought about it later and felt quite selfish. Here I was, telling her my problems, while she was sick herself. I thought the negative input probably was not very good for her morale. I wrote her a letter and told her I would be happy to test for a bone marrow transplant if she needed one or that I would campaign for her in my area. She wrote back that she was afraid of the chemicals to treat the cancer and couldn't follow that treatment. Even though Julia told me she had cancer, I didn't realize how far her cancer had progressed. When I read in the CIIN newsletter that Julia had passed away, I felt deep sorrow. I called my son in and told him he had a Guardian Angel in Heaven. We had spoken of her generosity previously. I told him that I knew Julia cared about him before she died and I was quite certain she would look after him now…
When I first became injured by chemicals and had those strange undiagnosable symptoms, I was fortunate to be in contact with one of Julia's co-activists and coauthors of her work on perfumes. Due to him and the literature that was sent to me, I realized what my diagnosis was and was able to get help to recover enough to live. I am still in danger with any and every chemical, but I am well enough to send out copies of all of Julia''s work to any and every person who calls me .The approach I usually get is: "I think I need an air purifier, but I don't know what is wrong with me." After people receive copies of her work and other materials, they can only begin to protect themselves from the chemical assaults. Bless all of you and please pass on the words for others. Keep up any work to stop the profiting from poisons.
– Daliya Robson
From the jacket cover of People Who Make A Difference – Viking 1995:
"We all know who they are, the people who make a difference. Some have achieved fame as result of success in their chosen fields; others work in relative obscurity, driven by an inner desire to achieve the impossible. Whoever they are, they demonstrate a passion for life, a willingness to risk everything for success, and a deep conviction that what they are doing matters. Without exception, they make a difference to the lives of others."
Julia most certainly did.
With my respect and sympathy to her family and close friends,
List Owner – MCS-CI
I really wish I met Julia Kendall. I have to live in car to avoid fumes from lawn mowers/cars because I can only afford places close to poor vehicles/road. I find open places to sleep. I am so sensitive I must be outdoors. Being a healthy, yuppy-looking white male, police sometimes don't understand. I have been detained several times. My family, friends and librarians/community think I'm mental - bad scene. If anyone needs help, I can usually isolate source of pollution. If anyone knows of open-window place to work, or outdoors without fumes, please write. We should start a www discussion group in Julia's name. I have found older grocery store products FULL of petro-chemicals—especially older grains/breads, frozen foods and pasta—probably from daily floor cleaning/wax fumes. Also, all containers (plastic, metal) "leach" into moist foods and drinks. I can sense all of these (and bad air) quickly if anyone needs a "sensor".
Julia's sharp intelligence and her willingness to use it will be her legacy to us for many years. She helped lay a foundation for the building of a new understanding for which she will always be a pioneering architect. While TV ads and programs almost romanticize "survivors" or "casualties" of modern day illnesses that are epidemic in recent years (such as leukemia, breast cancer, Alzheimer's, asthma, ADD, muscular dystrophy, etc). AND encourage the public to throw more dollars at the very researchers and corporations that make many of the chemicals strongly suspected as the underlying catalyst for these conditions—Julia had the tenacity to ignore the "revolving door" of chemical/medical profiteering to educate us with well researched and straight talk about chemicals and their effects. She always addressed the root of the problem and not just treat the end result as well as how to take action in our communities. This is an unpopular position and I thank her for her tireless efforts in the face of constant opposition. While her work was directed to help the MCS sufferer, I believe it will have much greater influence on the environment and the greater population in time to come as more people become ill and hopefully wake up and recognize that the statistics of these illnesses did not exist prior to the petrochemical & synthetic hormone world we now live in and we are the first experiment as such. I thank Julia for doing all the footwork of compiling the information on fragrances and softeners so that we may take it out of our direct experience and present it concisely to others in a practical way (which she was so good at and is a quality not easily found). And mostly, she really cared about the people she helped and for that she will also be remembered. Rest in peace, dear Julia.
– A Friend