Wildlife Disease Association

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In Memoriam

Photo Credit: Peregrine Wolff monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus

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In Memoriam

Here we honour those members who made significant contributions to the WDA and to wildlife and ecosystem health worldwide.

Marie-Pierre Ryser (1971-2023)

Marie-Pierre was one of those people who lightened a room. She was strong, committed, devoted, passionate; her convictions firm, her ways subtle, her charm irresistible.

A tirelessly active and devoted member of the WDA for 18 years, she was EWDA president for two terms, a WDA Council (2016-2020) and WDA Student Awards Committee member (2009-2012), and served on multiple scientific committees for WDA/EWDA conferences. Her engagement was recognized with the Ed Addison Distinguished Service Award in 2019.

She engaged in numerous professional forums where she felt she could make a difference. And she did. Her memory carries on in the programs and networks she helped establish, in the grants and fellowships that continue to change students’ lives and in many to whom she was a mentor and role model.

Above all, she was a loving mother of her two sons, she was ever so proud of.

Dr Don Forrester (1937-2023)

A JWD editor in the early ‘80s, Dr Forrester also served as WDA President and Vice President, and was an active Council member and a vocal advocate for WDA values, receiving the Emeritus Award in 2004.

He dedicated his life to the study of parasites and disease, earning a PhD from UC Davis in 1967 and accepting a position at the University of Florida Veterinary School in Gainesville in 1969, where he remained for the next 35 years. He published two landmark books; Parasites and Diseases of Wild Mammals in Florida (1992) and Parasites and Diseases of Wild Birds in Florida (2003) (with Marilyn Spalding), and his peer reviewed publications approached 200.

He was a gentle and deeply religious soul and the type of Christian who practiced what he preached. He adored his wife Gabriele and the three children they raised, and was truly in his element in the wilderness.