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Dr. James A. Pike is Buried in Israel a Day After His Body is Found in Desert

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Dr. James A. Pike, the former Episcopal Bishop of California who died of exhaustion in the Judaean desert after becoming lost a week ago, was buried today in this Biblical seaport town. His widow, Mrs. Diana Pike, who accompanied him on his fatal journey to Israel and later walked a whole night in search of help, said yesterday that her husband had loved the Holy Land “as if it were his own” and that it would be appropriate if he were buried here. Funeral arrangements were made by Mrs. Pike and her brother, Richard Scott Kennedy, after consulting with Dr. Pike’s 84-year-old mother in California.

The 56-year-old cleric, who was a controversial figure at home and a staunch champion of Israel, was interred at St. Peter’s Protestant cemetery near where the Bible says the Prophet, Jonah, set forth on his fateful voyage. The funeral was attended by only a dozen mourners. When the two-car cortege reached the cemetery, there were not enough pall-bearers to carry the aluminum coffin draped with black tasselled gold cloth. Five nearby residents along with a local clergyman and Mrs. Pike’s brother carried the coffin down the sloping hill to a grave site overlooking the sea.

Dr. Pike’s body was discovered yesterday by a volunteer search party of Bedouin tribesmen and Israeli police after a week of fruitless searching by land and helicopter. According to the Pathological Institute in Tel Aviv, where an autopsy was performed, Dr. Pike succumbed to fatigue, hunger and thirst. The medical examiners said he had been dead since last Tuesday, a little more than a day after he and Mrs. Pike found themselves lost in a trackless wilderness after their car broke down.

In Jerusalem yesterday, Mrs. Pike had high praise for Israeli authorities and police. She said they did everything humanly possible to find her husband and could not have been more cooperative. She said her husband “loved the Israeli people and the Holy Land so deeply, I feel there is no more appropriate place for him to die if he had to die.”

She said his last words to her were, “If I die here, I am at peace. I have no regrets.” Dr. Pike had visited Israel several times in connection with his ministry and in behalf of Jewish and Zionist causes. On his last trip he was gathering material for a book on the origins of Christianity which he planned to write in collaboration with his wife. Mrs. Pike said she would finish the book alone.

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