Dawn W. Sebesta 1947 ~ 2003 Dr. Dawn Deanne Wilson Sebesta died on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003 in a light plane crash in the Cedar Mountains of Utah. She was born May 23, 1947, in Lincoln, Neb. She had an international childhood, moving both within the U.S. and to Turkey and Argentina; she graduated from high school in Tripoli, Libya. She earned a B.S. from the University of Iowa in 1969, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Royal Holloway College of the University of London in 1987. For her doctoral work, she was the first non-British student to receive the Edward John Bourne Award; she remains a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Throughout her life, she was a fierce believer in the positive mark each individual can leave on their culture, community and environment; during her 14 years in Utah, she served on the board of Ballet West, as a docent at Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary, as a member of the Park City Leadership Class, and as the long-standing chairwoman of HawkWatch International. In the last three years, to her great delight, she created (in cooperation with the BLM) the Raptor Inventory Nest Survey (RINS), gathering over 100 volunteers to survey thousands of square miles of northern Utah, monitoring human and environmental effects on raptor nests and reproduction. It was during her first flight over this landscape she loved so well that she was killed. Tender-hearted, quietly determined, sensitive, spunky and forthright, she communicated her strong vision and moral philosophy with an enormous warmth. While touching the lives of many people, she was also deeply committed and close to her family, and to her beloved husband of 34 years, Leonard, who was with her for much of her RINS field work. Dawn was deeply loved and is greatly mourned. She is survived by her husband, her daughter, Lithe Sebesta, her parents, Roy and Esther Wilson, and her brother, Daniel Wilson. Friends are invited to attend a memorial service this Saturday, Oct. 11, noon at the Park City Community Church, 4501 N. Highway 224. A reception will be held from 2-6 p.m. at 2466 Meadows Drive in Park City. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a donation to the Nature Conservancy, HawkWatch, or the Dr. Dawn W. Sebesta Memorial Trust (for the future of the RINS project and other environmental work), in care of Frontier Bank, 1245 Deer Valley Dr., Park City, Utah 84060.
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Published in Deseret News on Oct. 8, 2003.