We regret to inform you that our dear friend and colleague Spedding Micklem has passed away from the cancer he has fought for many years. During that time he helped individuals and communities all over the world fight fluoridation. He lived long enough to celebrate his 88th birthday with his family.
According to his widow Dammy, Spedding “was so touched by the messages of support that all the Fluoride Action people sent him.” (See Spedding’s letter in response)
I was personally so pleased that he was able to hear the accolades and thank yous while he was still alive. Many people don’t get to see the nice things in their obits.
Dammy, in her letter to us wrote:
“It was somehow typical of him when one of the nurses who came to help look after him, asked him what his occupation was. He thought for a long time and then said softly— a teacher. ‘Of what?’ said the nurse, ‘biology’ he said, and the rest of us grinned. He was one of life’s extraordinary people— able to teach a group of rowdy students, a nervous, or even very famous pianist, about piano technique to avoid injury. His scientific colleagues thought he’d lost it when he got interested in water fluoridation, and he taught everyone how to get what you want with dignity and gentleness, in difficult committee meetings.
I’m so glad he met you, Paul and Ellen.”
I have said if before, but it bears repeating. Spedding made our book (The Case Against Fluoride). I may have started it but he (and Jim Beck) made sure the final copy met their meticulous standards in terms of understatement versus overstatement and making sure that every assertion was documented. But beyond what he brought to the book he brought to my life something even more joyful: the joy of working with someone with impeccable integrity. Sometimes in this world of today you lose hope that such people exist.
Spedding was not only blessed with a brilliant scientific mind but also a truly great artistic talent. He was able to take that gentleness Dammy talks about and work magic on the piano. One of my most precious possessions is his lovely recording of the last 3 piano sonatas of Beethoven.
Spedding was also a very generous and thoughtful supporter of the Fluoride Action Network. Earlier this year he sent us two books with this letter:
“I’ve got a couple of historic books that you might think are worth offering as come-ons in your next fundraiser.
Exner, Waldbott and Rorty ‘The American Fluoridation Experiment’ 1957. Hardback. It includes two Christmas cards, one dated 1960, from Dorothy and Fred Exner probably addressed to the former owner, a Mrs. R S Sturtevant of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The back of each card carries typescript notes on various current fluoridation matters of serious concern to the Exners.
Condition: Very Good+ with vg dust jacket.
Waldbott, Burgstahler and McKinney ‘Fluoridation The Great Dilemma’ 1978. Hardback. The thing that might make it slightly collectible is that it was Lewis McKinney’s personal copy bearing his rather impressive florid signature.
We will offer both these books as premiums in our upcoming fundraiser, which starts next Tuesday (Nov 30).
Thank you dear Spedding for everything: your friendship; your generosity and kindness; your wisdom and your tireless efforts on behalf of the struggle to end fluoridation and to bring back integrity to the science that should inform all public health policies.
Paul Connett, PhD
Fluoride Action Network