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Barry Sauppe


1947 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Barry Sauppe Obituary
BARRY SAUPPE FEBRUARY 3, 1947 - JANUARY 22, 2018 On Monday, January 22, 2018, Barry Donald Sauppe passed away at sunset. He was 70 years old. Barry was an expert birder, beginning this fascination before he could walk, crawling through the grass to get a closer look at any bird within sight or sound. The eldest of three boys, he was born in Reading, PA to J. Don Sauppe and Anna (Wentzel) Sauppe. They lived at Willow Grove Naval Air base where his father was stationed. The family moved to Levittown, PA when Barry was four. Besides birding, he loved fishing, sports, and visiting his maternal grandparents at Stony Creek Mills, PA. There he helped his grandfather William in the large garden, fished in the creeks, and reaped the benefits of his Grandmother Anna's wonderful cooking and baking. His grandfather was a math and physics professor who began teaching Barry about science at the breakfast table when he was a very young boy. His grandmother inspired his lifelong talent as a chef. These times would greatly influence his life. Barry was born with HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory). He put this ability to good use in pursuing his passion for birds and nature. He could not only remember the birds he saw all his life, but where, when, how they sounded, who was with him, (if anyone) the smell of the habitat and many more details. As a child it took him years to realize that everyone did not have this ability, he thought others were just not paying attention! He was very competitive from the get-go. An A-student, member of the Honor Society, president of the Key Club in high school, competing on the rings in gymnastics, on a rifle target shooting team (in the army he shot at the Expert level, he never missed) and lead-off batter on the baseball team. He was scouted by the pros (The Phillies and the Kansas City Royals) because of his lightening quick sprinting ability to steal bases, never being thrown out. He played center field. He played half-back at Penn State College during the beginning of Joe Paterno's storied coaching career. He achieved the highest physical fitness score ever recorded at the college, and the fastest sprint time. He loved sports but this would not be the focus of his life. No matter what field he was playing in he was always listening and watching for birds. He joined the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC) as a young teen and was able to meet Roger Tory Peterson at the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences. Alan Brady was a special mentor, as well as many other experienced birders at the DVOC who took him under their wing. Before he entered college he took off on a 5 month hitch-hiking trek across the United States to the West Coast and back to Pennsylvania. There are many wonderful stories about this trip with a 100 lb. backpack strapped on; finding great birds, birding sites, and working a stint costumed as Wolfman for the Universal Studios traveling show to pick up some extra cash. He studied Forestry at Penn State in hopes of becoming a Park Ranger. When he decided to take a year off from Penn State to work full time his draft number was 2 that year and he was immediately drafted into the Army. After completing Basic Training at Fort Gordon, GA., he requested to be stationed in Point Barrow, AK! On the Arctic Ocean, this was a chance to see many special birds. This was denied and he was stationed in Germany, (he could speak German, as well as French and Spanish). Always traveling with one canteen of water, and one full of scotch, his successful leave requests included Orkney Island, Isle of Noss, Shetland Islands, hitch-hiking through Wales and Scotland, and a road trip with his buddies through Spain. Not the typical GI vacation spots. He and his buddies did manage to get kicked out of a casino in Monaco, but that's another good story! Barry had a sharp wit and could make you laugh every day. After the Service, he came back to PA and worked in a steel mill, earning enough to buy a brand new red Camaro, load it with his ever growing collection of bird books and move to San Mateo, CA. Another 'strategic' birding move, he was within a close drive of the ocean, mountains, desert, marshes, and all the birds therein. Well before his 50th year he had taken over 120 pelagic birding trips visited Yosemite National Park over 100 times, birded in 22 countries, visited all but two of our National Parks, and by 1999 logged well over 10,000 hours of birding from Pigeon Point alone, on the coast of San Mateo, CA. He invented and legitimized ocean-watch birding from shore with a scope. The data from his marathon months living next to Pigeon Point Lighthouse in his van during migration is still used today. He birded San Mateo County with a fine tooth comb and confirmed many breeding bird records. He was the first to record the birds of the Filoli Estate by driving up to the door in his red Camaro and speaking to Mrs. Roth, who still lived there at the time. She said to him 'I wondered when someone was going to come and count the birds on my property!' He was an enthusiastic trip leader when Debra Shearwater first began her pelagic birding business, (Shearwater Journeys) and relished participating in the Moss Landing Christmas Bird Count in Monterey County for many years, hosted by John and Ricky Warriner. He lived in San Mateo County for twenty-eight years. He taught bird identification classes, in the field, while living in El Granada and Half Moon Bay. He also led private birding tours via his business, Gourmet Birding. Barry was a fantastic chef and worked on the coast at seafood restaurants for 25 years. Birding by day, cooking at night, and teaching on weekends, he combined stellar birding with awesome meals. He never advocated 'roughing it' no matter where you were, making sure he brought delicious food and drink with him on birding trips. He had filmed over 800 feet of Super 8 movies that he enjoyed sharing with elementary school classes and serious birders alike. Barry held many birding records. Most notable was discovering a Spoon-billed Sandpiper in British Colombia while living in Vancouver, July 30, 1978- the first Canadian record and third North American record. He also found a male adult Smew in Foster City, San Mateo County December 19, 1981, a Siberian record bird that would return to delight observers two more years in a row. He was co-founder and compiler for the Ano Nuevo Audubon Christmas Bird Count and compiler for the Crystal Springs count for 15 years. He organized, planned and brought in top numbers for many 'Big Day' team trips. He took pride in always scouting out and finding his own birds, refining his routes and strategy every year with precision. In 1993 Barry was invited by the State Parks Service to talk about Snowy Plovers, kicking off the effort in San Mateo County to protect nesting sites on the beach. Attending the event was a member of the Sequoia Audubon Society conservation committee, Eileen Jennis. Their first 'date' was a drive at 3:30 in the morning through dark, dripping fog to Big Basin State Park where Eileen would complete her first certified Marbled Murrelet nesting census in the forest. They were married three months later and were blessed with 24 years together. Barry was a loving husband, bringing home roses, orchids, cooking fabulous meals and together they shared a love of the natural world. Every year, for 24 years, he would begin the morning of their wedding anniversary by playing a tape of their wedding song, The Righteous Brothers', Unchained Melody. In 2001 ever growing traffic, crowding and chronic illness for both Barry and Eileen made it clear that leaving the Bay Area would be their next step. Barry made sure the house in Eureka was right on the Pacific Flyway. Before anything was moved into the new 'nest', Barry set up bird feeding stations in the back yard. Every time they arrived with a van load of items, the feeders would be replenished and the backyard was a booming bird habitat before they moved in. Barry was intimately connected to the natural world. He always knew the times of sunrise, sunset, high and low tides, and he could tell you what time it was that moment anywhere in the world. It is only fitting that when he passed the natural world spoke out loudly. Within a few hours, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake was felt in Alaska and a Tsunami warning was issued. Within two days a magnitude 4.2 shook off the north coast of California, and within a week the super blue blood red moon (super moon, blue moon and lunar eclipse) occurred that will not be seen again for 150 years. To top it all, the day after what would have been his 71st birthday, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl Championship!! Barry was preceded in death by his father, J. Donald Sauppe, his special aunt, Marian Wentzel, his brother, Larry Sauppe, and Eileen's special aunt, Thelma Cloner. Barry is survived by his loving wife, Eileen, his step-son Jade Jennis, daughter-in-law Dawn and grandson Jesse. His mother, Anna Sauppe, his brother Kevin Sauppe and sister-in-law Hope. His sister-in-law Josie Sauppe and her sons Jake and Geordan. Also his nephews Anthony and James Sauppe, and many cousins and in-laws who miss him. To honor Barry, pick up some binoculars and go birding! If you can, consider a donation in his memory to your local Audubon Society chapter, Cape May Bird Observatory, NJ, Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, PA, Birdlife International Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation fund, or the Silver Lake Nature Center, Bucks County, PA. Please Sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com
Published in Eureka Times-Standard on Feb. 25, 2018
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