[MARMAM] Passing of Alan Baldridge

Richard L. Ternullo rtenullo at aol.com
Fri Jun 6 22:31:48 PDT 2014

Alan Baldridge passed away at 2 am on May 28, 2014. He had been struggling
with a variety of disabling ailments before pneumonia claimed him.

Alan and Sheila (Elizabeth) Baldridge, his wife of more than 50 years, were
best known as librarians at Hopkins Marine Station and California State
Universities’ Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, respectively. They both
aided and guided hundreds, if not thousands, of Master’s, PhD, and
post-docs through throughout their extended educations. Alan was with
Hopkins Marine Station as librarian and taught marine ornithology, from
1966 until his retirement in 1993. Sheila was at Moss Landing Marine
Laboratories from 1978 to 1994. There was a brief interruption of five
years as they worked at Florida State University in the early 70’s.

Alan was a Charter Member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, founding
member of the Monterey Bay Chapter, American Cetacean Society, helped
establish the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Monterey
Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park
District. Alan also served on the boards of the Monterey Peninsula Audubon
Society, Friends of the Sea  Otter, Friends of Hopkins Marine Station and
was a founding board member and trustee of the Earl and Ethel Myers
Oceanographic and Marine Biology Trust. Alan and Sheila were recognized for
their lifetime commitment to marine conservation during the 7th
International Conference of the American Cetacean Society. They were
presented with a bronze sculpture by Randy Puckett, a longtime friend of
the Baldridges. An anonymous donor also gave $10,000 to establish a
graduate research grant in their name. In 2013, the Honorable Sam Farr
entered Alan’s and Sheila’s names in the Congressional Record of the 113th
Congress (2013-2014) for their contributions to the community and
conservation efforts.

Alan had several impacts on California birding and marine birds in general.
As a regular leader of many Monterey Bay pelagic trips, countless trips
aboard the M/V Tage, operated by Hopkins and completed many of the earliest
transects of Monterey bay recording bird and marine mammals, probably the
most extensive at the time since Rollo Beck. Alan was a member of the
editorial board of the first three volumes of California Birds (thereafter
called Western Birds). Alan also was also Regional Editor for the Audubon
Field Notes/American Birds (Northern California). He also served as seabird
editor for the Middle Pacific Coast Region for 12 seasons

Alan co-authored with John Davis The Bird Year A Book for Birders with
Special Reference to the Monterey Area, co-authored with David G. Gordon
Gray Whales. The Alan Baldridge Endowed Book Fund (1993) was established to
purchase materials related to the local history of Monterey County, marine
birds, and marine mammals. Alan was also instrumental in acquiring funds
for the construction of the Harold A. Miller Library of Marine Biology.
Alan also published the first reference on a Killer Whale/Gray Whale
predation event, along with publications on Risso’s Dolphin, Sea Otters,
and Brown Pelicans. He also advised on Leatherback Sea Turtles, Bottlenose
Dolphin, and many other research questions posed by graduate students.

Alan and Sheila's travels took them from East Africa, Eastern Arctic
Canada, Bering Sea, Russia, Sea Of Cortez, Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska.

There are plans for a memorial sometime in late July and a future ash
scattering on his beloved Monterey Bay. This crater in our lives that
Alan’s death represents, will heal over when we realize our lives were
touched by a genuine scientific hero and a plain good person. Keep a
thought for Sheila and his brother Ken. If further news of any changes in
the memorial schedule occurs, I will post them on American Cetacean
Society, Monterey Bay FaceBook page. You may contact me directly.

Richard L. Ternullo
rtenullo at aol.com

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