Columbia Audubon Society lost two members this summer who were major reasons the Society has benn a leader in the world of natural history in general and bird conservation in particular.
Jean Graebner, 88, died after a three-year battle with cancer on June 30; Jerry Wade, 73, lost his duel with cancer on July 26.
Jean’s interest in the natural history world led her to very active membership in Columbia Audubon, the Audubon Society of Missouri (ASM), the Hawthorn Native Plant Society, the Missouri Native Plant Society, The Prairie Foundation, Friends of Rock Bridge State Park, the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy, among others.
She served both ASM and the Hawthorn Society as secretary for years.
A native of Granite City, Illinois, Jean had both English and journalism degrees from the University of Missouri and spent 26 years as an English and Social Studies teacher at West Junior Hight School. She also operated a Scotch Pine Christmas Tree Farm with her husband Larry for almost 20 years near Rocheport before turning it into her personal wildlife refuge the final 15 years of her life.
She was a regular on a wide variety of bird counts and wildflower walks for 40 years.
Jerry Wade enjoyed his role as “SOB,” that’s “Spouse of Birder,” being married to Edge Wade for half a century.
Jerry was no slouch as a field birder, but made huge contributions elsewhere in the avian world as a former president of the Audubon Society of Missouri and as the ASM membership director, and with his wife, the producers of “The Bluebird,” the ASM quarterly publication.
He was also one of the leaders of MoBCI — the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative, an organization devoted to the future of avian habitat in the Western Hemisphere.
Jerry, a rural sociologist whose career took him to places as far away as South Africa, was skilled in community organization and he used those skills in many areas of life — like Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission and the Columbia City Council.
Prior to his death, he had been the leader in the organization of “It’s Our Wild Nature,” a community watch group.
Both left huge foot prints.
— Bill Clark