Charlise Hill-Larson and Linda Nixon
It is with great sadness that we are informing you of the death of one of our chapter members, Gailon Brehm. Gailon died Thursday evening, and the communities with whom he devoted his time are in mourning.
Our President, Rick Travis, is overseas on vacation, but has sent the following statement to be shared with the chapter: “I have deep affection for Gailon. He’s one of the kindest and most patient people I’ve ever known. He brought light to our chapter and to anyone that had the privilege to know him. I’m grateful to have known Gailon, and our chapter will miss him greatly.”
Most of us know Gailon through our training classes with the chapter as he taught the class on birding and shared his joy and wonder about birds. He was considered by all to be a Master Birder, and he was an educator and mentor to hundreds of people who were just starting out with birding or who wanted to take a deeper look at our avian friends. Gailon didn’t start birding until the 1990’s and in about a five-year timespan, he went from novice to Master Birder, a remarkable feat. Unlike Gailon, most birders take decades to reach the level of Master Birder.
Gailon was a Texas Master Naturalist, but he also gave his time to other organizations. He was a member of the Prairie and Timbers Audubon Society (PTAS) where he served as the Chair of the Education Committee and was also a past President. He led monthly bird walks for PTAS and had lead the bird walk at the Heard Museum for over 20 years. At the time of his death, he was serving as the Vice President of the Native Plant Society of Texas and as the North Texas Regional Director for the Texas Ornithological Society.
When a person such as Gailon dies, we naturally think about the legacy he leaves us. Gailon’s legacy comes from his character, his reputation and the extraordinary life he lived. He had a brilliant intellect and devoted his thinking and his time to the natural world and its conservation. He was also a gifted and generous teacher and mentor. Being a life-long learner, he mastered most any subject in which he was interested. By sharing his knowledge and his friendship, Gailon made all people better. He inspired others to learn and to love learning as much as he did. When speaking of Gailon, people always talk of his great kindness and care for others. He was a humble man, compassionate, honest and respectful. He was an inspiration as an authentic human being, and we are all the better for having known him.
We do not, at this time, have information as to a service to remember him. If there is a service and the family decides to make it a public event, Linda will let you know.
Our kindest regards,
Charlise Hill-Larson Linda Nixon
Vice President Communications Director