The Colleges community offers condolences to the family of Dean Amadon, a member of the Hobart Class of 1934 who died Sunday (Jan. 12) at his home in Tenafly, N.J. He was 90. Amadon was a renowned authority on birds of prey and former Lamont curator of birds at the American Museum of Natural History. He received the Hobart Medal of Excellence in 2000.
Born in Milwaukee, Amadon graduated from Hobart College in 1934 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1947. He was studying ornithology at Cornell in 1937 when he got a museum job cataloging birds' eggs. He spent World War II with the Army Medical Corps in the Pacific. His duties in pest control left time for his ornithological research in Hawaii and the Philippines. The evolution of Hawaii's honeycreepers became the subject of his doctoral thesis. Amadon did field research in Africa, Australia and the South Pacific. He spent weeks in the Galapagos Islands, and in Mexico with the wildlife artist Don R. Eckelberry. He was a past president of the American Ornithologists' Union, the John Burroughs Memorial Association and the Linnaean Society of New York. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a director of the Explorers Club.
Amadon is survived by his wife of 62 years, Octavia Gardella Amadon; two daughters, Susan A. Wilt of Manhattan and Emily A. Bengelsdorf of Port Washington, N.Y.; and two grandchildren. His grandson Tobias Bengelsdorf is a member of the Hobart Class of 2003. His obituary was in the Jan. 15 New York Times.