[Tweeters] Ruth Sullivan's passing, Monday July 4th, 2016.

Somer, Lonnie lsomer at highline.edu
Mon Jul 11 12:33:00 PDT 2016

Thank you for letting us know Shep. I'm really saddened to hear this. I first met Ruth and her son Patrick when the Redwing appeared in West Olympia a little over 10 years ago. I was not yet a birder, but I had read about the bird in the local newspaper and was curious to see it. I drove over to the neighborhood with my ancient pair of WW II era binoculars only to realize, as I was wandering around, that I had no idea what I was doing. I ran into Ruth and Patrick by chance, and they had the Redwing staked out and showed me the bird through their scope. This proved to be my spark bird, and their friendliness played a big role in that.

Over the years, I birded on a number of occasions with Ruth, including co-leading Audubon field trips and the annual Grays Harbor CBC. She not only supplied me with several lifers, but with some of my favorite birding anecdotes. Just to share one quick one, during one of the CBCs with her and Jim Pruske, she turned around to shout at us (not a rare occurrence [😊] ), when she tripped and fell. During that frozen moment before we could react, while still on her back and in obvious pain, she pointed up at the sky and said "Shtarling, add that to the list".

I'll really miss her.

Lonnie Somer


lsomer at highline.edu

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu <tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu> on behalf of Constance Sidles <constancesidles at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2016 10:04:39 AM
To: Shep Thorp
Cc: Tweeters
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Ruth Sullivan's passing, Monday July 4th, 2016.

Dear Shep, thanks for letting us know this sad news. Ruth Sullivan was one of a kind, and kind-hearted to boot. She and her son Patrick found more rarities for me than anyone else in the state. And it wasn't just that they found these incredible birds - it's that they shared them with everyone. Once Ruth and Patrick had found a great sighting, they would stick around until the last straggling birder who wanted to see it had shown up. And each time they showed their find to someone else, it was as though they had found it anew themselves.

I saw my first Red-wing thanks to them, my first Rosy-crowned Finches roosting in the cliffs near Vantage, my first Common Redpoll in a sea of Pine Siskins but easily separated for me by Patrick. Thanks to them, I saw a bird i never thought I'd see in my lifetime, both because it is so incredibly rare in Washington but also because it has almost no field marks at all, so even if I saw one I wouldn't have been able to ID it: the Temminck's Stint at Ocean Shores.

I saw many common birds in their company, too, which made everything special - my first Yellow Warbler of the season on a blustery day in early spring down at Satsop, which Patrick pulled out of a deep stand of swampy trees - he listening for birdsong, she chattering about whatever came into her head. To see this traveler from afar shining like living sunshine in the gloom of a cold Northwest spring in the company of Ruth and Patrick warmed my heart. It was proof that despite everything that seems wrong with the world, some things are still right.

Ruth lived through many tough times that she didn't often talk about - growing up in post-war Germany with starvation at the door, and worst of all, losing her beloved son Patrick decades too soon. The world often knocked her down, but she always got up again. That is how I will think of her. Ruth, somewhere you have found your Patrick again. Give him a hug from all of us left behind, my friend. - Connie, Seattle

csidles at constancypress.com<mailto:csidles at constancypress.com>
constancesidles at gmail.com<mailto:constancesidles at gmail.com>

On Jul 11, 2016, at 9:22 AM, Shep Thorp <shepthorp at gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Tweets,

with sorrow I write to share the passing of Ruth Sullivan last Monday July 4th. Although unexpected, Ruth recently was not doing well and peacefully passed during the day. Ruth's passion and enthusiasm for birding touched decades for many bird watchers, and her spirit and posts in tweeters will be missed. From her readily recognizable email, godwit513, to her red Nissan with the license plate, Red knot, if Ruth was in the area most birders were aware of her big personality packed into a small framed human being. Ruth spent her final days with her beloved dog, Toby, and good friend Igor. My understanding is that donations in Ruth's name can be made to the Patrick Sullivan Young Birder's Fund at the Washington Ornithological Society and the Tahoma Audubon Association in Tacoma. Ruth is survived by two sisters who live in Berlin, Germany, as well more distant relatives (a nephew) here in the States.

May Ruth rest in peace, and I hope she enjoys the birding on the other side.

with empathy,
Shep Thorp

Shep Thorp
Browns Point
Tweeters mailing list
Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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