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Dr. Robert Dale "Dr. O" Ohmart


1938 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Dr. Robert Dale "Dr. O" Ohmart Obituary
Robert Dale "Dr. O" Ohmart

Chandler - After a long-term battle with dementia, one of the titans of southwestern ecology has left us. Dr. Robert D. Ohmart passed away peacefully at his home in Chandler, Arizona on 14 January 2018 surrounded by his loving family. Dr. O is survived by his loving wife Teresa (through her love she kept him alive way beyond anyone's expectations), his brothers (Kenneth and Kirby), children Dwayne (Julie), Tom (Patty), Rod (Lori) and Melissa, 14 grandchildren and a long list of extended family. He was born January 2, 1938 in McDonald, Texas and chose to pursue his career in the West.

He received his B.S. (1961) and M.S. (1963) degrees in wildlife management and biology from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in vertebrate zoology from the University of Arizona (1968). In 1970 as Assistant Professor he initiated a Wildlife Biology program at Arizona State University. He was very much involved in the development of the Center for Environmental Studies, which has become the current Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.

After retiring in 2006 he focused on his love of farming. With guidance from Dan James, one of his graduate students, he shifted all energy to creating a new company called Double "O" Enterprises. The mission was to provide a diverse blend of native Sonoran plant seed to revegetate disturbed landscapes. He was a pioneer in this field, and his success is evident as you drive along any Arizona highway or byway.

Dr. O's team of field researchers and students conducted the seminal work that established the blueprint for habitat and wildlife needs in the Southwest. His long-term, collaborative research along the lower Colorado River laid the foundation for understanding habitat requirements for wildlife and creating that habitat where it had been lost.

He was also very involved in the community and gave presentations to organizations, local schools, and senior citizen groups. His work in the conservation arena was tireless, as was his role in influencing conservation efforts for the southwestern bald eagle and the southwestern willow flycatcher. In 2009 he was inducted into Arizona Game and Fish Department's Outdoor Hall of Fame and, prior to that, was awarded the Arizona Wildlife Federation's Thomas E. McCullough Memorial Award.

Dr. O always spoke his mind and never allowed politics to outweigh wildlife/habitat interests. His sense of humor was sharp if not sarcastic, and always followed by his wildly expressive grin! A celebration of his life will be held on January 27th, 11:00 a.m. at the Sun Valley Community Church (Tempe Campus) in the chapel with a reception to follow in the social hall. In-lieu of flowers please make donations to the Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation (2600 E Elwood St, Phoenix, AZ 85040) or Hospice of the Valley (1510 E Flower Street Phoenix, AZ 85014).

For additional information visit the www.shadowmountainmortuary.com.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Jan. 21, 2018
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