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Alan Baldridge


1933 - 2014 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Alan Baldridge Obituary
PACIFIC?GROVE, CA – The birds and mammals of the Monterey Bay lost a loyal friend and protector with the passing of Alan Baldridge, 80, who died May 28, with his soulmate Sheila at his side.
After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1966, Alan became an expert on the identification, ecology, biology and conservation of local marine mammals, seabirds, and land birds. His passion for, and careful observation of these animals was shared in writing, teaching, and organizing efforts on their behalf. He co-authored in 1980, The Bird Year about the seasonal habitats and ecology of Monterey's birdlife, and then Gray Whales in 1991, a classic, for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
During nearly 30 years as librarian at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, Alan was a tireless and life-long educator who was generally considered the "go-to" naturalist when government officials or news reporters wanted to know something about things that fly over, swim in or wash up on the shores of Monterey Bay. He inspired countless marine biologists, ornithologists and field birders with his passion for the ecology and conservation of the diversity of wildlife, which also took him on numerous travels throughout the world. His narrations on Monterey Bay pelagic trips were detailed accounts of the lives of both seabirds and mammals. At a physical therapy session the day before his death, Alan was joyfully educating the therapist about the pelicans she watches soaring over the ocean.
Alan's efforts in protecting wildlife included helping to establish the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society. He was a major driver in establishing the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. Alan served on the boards of the Monterey Peninsula Audubon Society, Friends of the Sea Otter, Friends of Hopkins Marine Station and was a trustee for Myers Oceanographic and Marine Biology Trust.
A native of Darlington, England, Alan lived through World War II bombings, and graduated with a master's degree in library science. He courted a Scottish lass named Sheila Gibson by taking her for motorcycle rides to sewage ponds to watch birds. In spite of this they married in 1960, moved to the United States in 1962 and settled in Pacific Grove in 1966. Alan took the library position at Hopkins, while Sheila worked in a similar position at Moss Landing Marine Labs. From 1974-1978, Alan was librarian at the University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine Science, before returning to Hopkins.
Along with his wife Sheila, Alan is survived by his brother, Ken and wife, Kath, and family of Darlington, and cousins, Joan and Frederick Frater and family of Rickmansworth, England.
The family would like to especially thank caregiver Doug Cupp for all his help and kindness to Alan during the last two years.
A memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests any memorial contributions be made to: The Earl and Ethel Myers Oceanographic & Marine Biology Trust, P.O. Box 3221, Monterey, CA 93942; Point Blue Conservation Science (PRBO fund), 3820 Cypress Drive #11, Petaluma, CA 94954; Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society student research grants, P.O. Box HE, Pacific Grove, CA 93950.
Published in The Monterey Herald from May 31 to June 2, 2014
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