Remembering those who died in 2016

Betty Burridge, saint of birds

Betty Burridge believed life was for the birds. Some of the best aspects of life, at any rate.

Her profession was physical therapy but her passion was nature. Burridge cherished birds for their beauty and all their fascinating traits, and also for their canary-in-the-coal-mine role as living gauges of the health of the environment.

For decades, she and fellow Madrone Audubon Society members Ernestine “Ernie” Smith and Martha Bentley exerted great influence and persuasion in their quest to defend birds and their ecology from plans for further development in and around Sonoma County.

“In these times of rapid growth and development within Sonoma County, wildlife habitat is disappearing every day,” Burridge said 30 years ago. “Each of us can recall fields where hawks used to soar, that now are shopping centers; farm ponds where ducks and shorebirds lingered, that since have been drained.”

Burridge was a stalwart of the Audubon Society’s ambitious Sonoma County Christmas Count and was renowned for the exhaustive labor of love that was her “Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas: Detailed Maps and Accounts for Our Nesting Birds.”

She passed away in Santa Rosa on March 24. She was 84.

Eeve T. Lewis, county clerk

Germany-born Eeve T. Lewis, the daughter of a woman who fled the Soviet occupation of her native Estonia, wore many hats.

Elected to the post of Sonoma County clerk in 1978 at the age of 31, Lewis assumed the responsibilities of clerk of the Superior Court, clerk to the…

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