Passing of Gus Yaki

We are sad to share the recent passing of Gus Yaki.  He was a real friend of RMERF and in addition to participating in our annual social, he contributed by using his means to further our raptor study.  We need more Gus Yakis.  Gus deserves a big “THANK-YOU” for his contribution to our RMERF Citizen Science project. Below is an obituary by his son.

Gustave Joseph (Gus) Yaki, born Sandwith, Saskatchewan (near North Battleford) on August 19, 1932, received MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) to die peacefully in Calgary on August 10, 2020. He was predeceased by his first wife Rae Jeannine Yaki (Venner), his sisters Mary Anne Grant and Dorothy Pauline Gasper, his grandson Philip, and great grandson Lincoln. He is survived by his wife A‎ileen Pelzer, his brother Stanley John Yaki, his sister Margaret Rose Weger, as well as his children Donald, James (Jim), David, Robyn Fortier, Barbara (Barb), Patricia (Tricia) Bartone, and Jonathon Neville, as well as their spouses, descendants and extended families.

Gus became interested in nature as a child walking back and forth to school and eventually made a living as a nature tour operator. After retiring, he continued volunteering his time as a naturalist. In 2005 he started birding classes with the Friends of Fish Creek which attract hundreds of participants. In 2017, at the age of 84, he organized and led a hike across southern Alberta to celebrate Canada 150 in support of bird study and habitat conservation. In 2019, he was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by the Governor General of Canada, and was recognized as one of Calgary’s “Top 7 over 70”.

Donations in lieu of gifts may be made to Nature Conservancy of Canada, 245 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 410, Toronto, Ontario M4P 3J1, and/or to Alberta Wilderness Association, 455 – 12 St NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1Y9. (Receipts for tax credit will be issued.)

Memories to be shared at a future memorial service and/or tribute webpage can be sent to gus.yaki.memories@gmail.com.


In Memorial: James H. Davis

As a result of a tragic accident while bicycling, Jim Davis passed away on
Canada Day, 1 July 2018, while in intensive care at the Foothills Medical
Centre in Calgary. Jim was a highly respected Principal Observer for the
Rocky Mountain Eagle Research Foundation (RMERF) spring and fall raptor
counts conducted from Hay Meadows (also known as the Mount Lorette site).

I first met Jim while on the fall 2008 count when he visited the count site.
He quickly demonstrated a very high level of knowledge of all birds that
passed by, and better yet he volunteered to be an observer whenever he could.
We were first able to take advantage of his skills on the spring 2009 count
and increasingly on all counts since. He was a terrific teacher and always
spoke enthusiastically about the count with visitors. Jim proved to be one
of our top skilled and most reliable Principal Observers.

Jim will be sorely missed by all involved with the Rocky Mountain Eagle
Research Foundation spring and fall migrating raptor count efforts.

Cliff Hansen
Past Coordinator for the RMERF Lorette Raptor Counts

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