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Tuesday, April 5, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pacific Northwest

Oregon Won't Allow Man's Skin To Be Used To Make A Book Cover

Seattle Times Staff: Seattle Times News Services

EUGENE, Ore. - A man's dying wish - to have his skin used to cover a book of his poems - will not be fulfilled.

The Oregon State Mortuary and Cemetery Board said Donal Eugene Russell's desire would violate state laws regarding corpse abuse. His wife won't fight the decision.

The wife, Rachel Barton-Russell, said she will have her husband's body cremated.

The mortuary board had sued Barton-Russell to prevent her from following a clause in her husband's will that said he should be skinned from the head down and his hide tanned to be used to cover a book of his poems.

"He thought it would be a fitting thing to do," said one of the man's friends, Joseph Coyner.

Since he died Feb. 3 at the age of 62, Barton-Russell has kept her late husband's body in a friend's food freezer.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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