Mary A. Root

Mary Alice Sims Root

Influential New Mexico Naturalist Dies

Mary Alice (Sims) Root, born April 26, 1923, in Indianapolis IN, died January 31, 2013, in Minneapolis MN.

- Former president of the New Mexico Ornithological Society

- Passionate author, teacher, and lecturer on fossil birds

- New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Adjunct Naturalist

- New Mexico's Annual Festival of Cranes leader

A world traveler and passionate bird watcher from the age of five, Mary visited over 60 countries. She married L. Jay Root of Indianapolis in 1947 shortly before they moved to Albuquerque, NM. She was a Pi Beta Phi at Butler University (1946). A teaching assistant in Physics in 1950s, she retired in 1988 as an Administrator of Biology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She was instrumental in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science obtaining the exhibit of the fossil bird, Diatryma (Diatrymas gastroni). In 2009 she moved to Minnesota to be near her son's family.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Mary Alice Root Fund for the Museum's Junior Docent Program, NMMNHS Foundation, P. O. Box 25446, Albuquerque, NM 87125-5446 are requested.

Survived by her daughter, Dana, son-in-law, Kris Hansen, their children Kyla and Ross, and wife Justine; her daughter, Terry; her son, Bryan, daughter-in-law Valerie (Leach), their children Sam, Brandon, and Justin, Sam's wife Mindy (Sell) and their children (great grandchildren) Noah, Becca Joy, Alton, and Catherine; her brother, Daniel Sims and wife Carol. Preceding Mary in death were ex-husband, L. Jay Root; brother, Lawrence Sims; sisters, Margaret Sims and Irene (Sims) Hardman; and Terry's husband, Steven Schneider.

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Feb. 3, 2013