George

In my childhood, travel was an annual excursion on I-75 (either to Lake Erie or Florida) and nature was yard work, a trip to the zoo or thirty minutes of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. It was not until I was 10 or 11, freed to explore on my own, that I developed my interest in wild creatures and wild places.

But this early fascination lay dormant for many years, covered over by adolescent interests, high school life and the academic pressures of college. It was not until medical school, at the age of 22, that a good friend rekindled my interest, showering me with his enthusiasm for all things outdoor. An avid birder, weekend explorer and fisherman, George brought back my early sense of adventure and introduced me to many new places over the coming years, from local nature preserves to the lakes of Ontario and from the Outer Banks to the wilds of Wyoming.

Today, George lies dying in a hospital bed in our hometown of Cincinnati. I will miss his company, his exhuberance and his zest for life. His friendship reawakened my childhood joy and, for that, I will be eternally grateful. I will think of him often and feel his inspiration on the trails of my life.