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On Feb. 8, 1942, Rutherford died according to one WT reference with his boots on. Some older Bible Students on the West Coast say he fell down the stairs drunk. His death was kept secret for several days, and the local San Diego Union paper didn't get the scoop until the 10th, three days later, and printed a story the 11th. His estranged son Malcolm C. (also a lawyer) and his neglected wife, who he had ignored for years, Mary M. Rutherford lived in Los Angeles. His live-in secretary Bonnie Boyd was with him at his Beth Sarim mansion when he died, and signed his death certificate. Afterwards she married a man named W.P. Heath and dropped out of the picture. It appears his death was kept secret until the petty power struggle between the Triumpirate in Bethel was ironed out. Still why his death was wrapped in secrecy is not known for sure.

His burial was kept secret because he wanted to be buried at Beth Sarim which was outside of any cemetary zone. In a fitting tribute to a man who had no respect for anyone else's opinion nor was ever governed by anyone else's rule, Rutherford was buried secretly against city

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