[Editor’s note: The following obituary appeared in the April/June 1985 edition of Ahimsa (now called American Vegan), the publication of The American Vegan Society.]
Dr. Pietro Rotondi, 93
We have recently learned of the death, in a fire at his home, of Dr. Pietro Rotondi, D.C., N.D., at age 93 on January 10 of this year.
On the weekend following the fire, a memorial picnic was held in Griffith Park, where friends eulogized him.
For many years, Dr. Rotondi was President of the Los Angeles Vegetarian Society; he authored Vegetarian Cookery, Your Vegetarian Baby, and Health and Energy Through Natural Nutrition.
Publication of his works will be continued by the executors of his estate, as he requested. Donations for this purpose may be sent to [updated] 1318 Rossmoyne, Glendale, CA 91207.
We first met Dr. Rotondi in 1961 when we attended meetings in his home and several of his delicious weekly dinners; he loved to feed his friends. Rotondi’s Vegetarian Cookery (first published in 1942) excluded eggs, milk, cheese and dairy products as well as meat, fish, and fowl (he did use some honey); and he was outspoken in condemning these foods from the animal kingdom. Dietary counseling was an essential part of the chiropractic nature-cure he practiced, and he treated people regardless of their ability to pay.
Pietro Rotondi was born in Colesano, Sicily, on February 14, 1891. His father died in 1900 and a few years later, his mother sent him to live with relatives in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1916, he married Clara Sessler. Their first child died at birth. Both Rotondi and his wife were ill with the flu during the great epidemic near the end of World War I. (“People died by the thousands,” Rotondi recalled.) Clara then died giving birth to their second child, who also perished.
Rotondi became a vegetarian in 1919. He moved to Los Angeles, worked at the Broadway department store, began to study Theosophy, and enrolled at the Eclectic College of Chiropractic. He graduated in 1922 and began to practice.
The following words of advice are quoted from the books written by Dr. Rotondi:
- Any product of the animal kingdom is no more fit for human consumption than the animal itself. There is much truth in the old agage, “You may as well eat the devil as drink his broth.”
- Vegetarianism alone is not conducive to higher development; yet it helps to establish a basic physical medium to future unfoldment. The attributes of spiritual unfoldment are: love, charity, gentleness, compassion, self-denial, humility, tolerance, etc.
- Vegetarianism implies principles, morals, ethics, and sanity. It means to abolish vivisection, and slaughter in any form for human food.
A research conducted by Mervyn G. Hardinge, M.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, California, stated: “Among 300 meat-eaters, 300 lacto-ovo vegetarians, and some ten true vegetarians, the astonishing fact was revealed there is little difference between flesh-eaters and lacto-ovo-vegetarians; the true vegetarians being more perfectly balance in body content and their cholesterol content was exceptionally low.”
- My advice to you who are striving to live Nature’s Way is to become true vegetarians and open the door to health and happiness. Pick the best and the freshest of the lavish supply that Nature offers you for the finest quality of man from infancy.
- If you had lived in the shadow of a slaughterhouse, as I did, and had seen the sights, heard the sounds, and smelled the odors, you would very easily be converted to the natural way of living.
- Cheese, like milk, is one of the four greatest offenders in precipitating heart trouble; the other two being butter and eggs.
- Tea, coffee, cocoa, and all carbonated drinks are not food; they are drug stimulants and definitely should not be taken into the human system.
- Live upon fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, tubers, legumes, and other vegetation; spurn animal substances, candy, nicotine, and alcohol — for this is the Law which will redeem practically every living individual from all disease* and trouble if he accepts and follows with an open mind and without fear of opposition. (* This statement may be taken as emphasizing the value of a healthful regimen, but in fairness to Dr. Rotondi, he was of course familiar with the health-building roles played by exercise, pure water, positive thinking, ability to cope with stress, etc. – Ahimsa editors.)
- Vaccines and injections are futile as a protection, dangerous to life, and should be abolished. Through sanitary conditions and the natural way of life, the body is capable of immunizing itself. (ed note: We grant this point is very debatable.)
- Children that I have trained as true vegetarians from birth, either on mother’s milks or nut milks, are invariably stronger, more active, and most important, less susceptible to childhood diseases. They are more successful in repelling disease invasions than are meat eaters, or lacto-ovo-vegetarians.
The article goes on to list various recipes from Vegetarian Cookery.