Photography

Roy Bryan Stauth

January 7, 1941 ~ December 20, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old

Roy Stauth Obituary

Roy Bryan Stauth, 82, of Littleton, Colorado, died on December 20, 2023, following a short battle with cancer. A service will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery on January 9, 2024, at 2:00 p.m.

Roy was born on January 7, 1941, in Corydon, Indiana. He held a bachelor’s degree in English, and master’s and Ph.D degrees in Environmental Studies.

His family includes his sisters, Marolyn Mills and Carolyn Kallemeyn: his partner, Shirley Grindley of Graaff-Reinet, South Africa; stepdaughter Tersia Ernst: stepson Dwayne Ernst; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ruth Hughes Stauth, and brother Jon Scott Stauth.

Roy was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and pilot, serving with Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462 at Phu Bai, South Vietnam, flying the Sikorski CH-53, the nation's newest, largest and most powerful transport helicopter. His squadron mates remember Roy as soft-spoken, intelligent, and courageous. Retired General Terry Dake recalled how Roy was able to remain calm even when faced with intense enemy fire. General Dake wrote that “on one occasion Roy was part of a crew that brought a heavily damaged helicopter back to a safe landing even though one engine was shot out and fuel was pouring into the cabin. His ability to function under duress bolstered the entire crew.”

Roy received a Purple Heart following a mission in which the helicopter took hits from enemy fire and an AK-47 round came through the circuit breaker panel and into Roy’s thigh. After discharge from the Marine Corps, he continued to fly helicopters, a passion that took him to assignments throughout the world: Malaysia, Mali, Iran, and South Africa.

He took a job flying rangers and scientists in South Africa’s Kruger Park. It was this exposure to African wildlife and the natural environment that led him to take on a new challenge. He applied to the University of Cape Town’s School of Environmental Studies. One of Roy’s colleagues later recalled the challenge to persuade the Board to accept him as an MA student as “many board members were unconvinced that a helicopter pilot with only an American college degree should be admitted to a UCT Masters Degree in Environmental Studies. Fortunately the argument that he was a Vietnam Veteran with proven interest in nature conservation (flying scientists in and around the Kruger Park) carried the day and he was admitted.”

After earning his master’s degree, he went on to earn a Ph.D, and was appointed to the teaching staff where he lectured and supervised post-grad students. Roy’s doctoral thesis laid the foundation for new perspectives on environmental economics. He wrote the first drafts for Environmental Impact Assessment in South Africa and pioneered a novel system to guide and improve decision-making.

One of his post-grad students wrote that Roy had the “ability to weave environmental ethics, economics and public decision-making together that was distinctive, path-breaking and inspirational.”

Roy spent his life searching for new experiences, new challenges. Once he finished one experience, he would become restless and look for a new venture. He decided to offer his talents and expertise to the U.S. Peace Corps. After intensive language training in Costa Rica, he was assigned to two years in Chile as an environmental advisor to the Chilean Forestry Department. After his two years in Chile, he lived in Costa Rica for a time, then returned to his home in South Africa.

His next adventure came in the opportunity to live in the Timbavati Nature Reserve, a private wildlife reserve adjacent to Kruger Park. He and his partner, Shirley Grindley, made a home at McBride’s Camp, where they served as caretakers of two large wildlife farms. These may have been the happiest years of Roy’s life. He finally had the simple life he always wanted as well as days filled with exciting wildlife encounters and the ever-present challenges of living in the bushveld.

Roy and Shirley moved on when their lease on McBride’s Camp was not renewed. They found a home in the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet, where Roy threw himself into civic life and local conservation issues.

Roy’s last chapter came when he had a massive stroke while visiting family in Colorado. The stroke left him partially paralyzed, and he spent the next eleven years in a wheelchair. He could not return to his home in South Africa.

Donations in Roy’s honor may be directed to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at worldwildlife.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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