Leedy, Daniel L. (Deceased)
Dan was born on February 17, 1912, on a Butler, Ohio, farm where he spent his early years with his parents, four brothers, and two sisters. He attended the North Liberty, Ohio, elementary school, which consisted of two rooms, and he drove a Model T Ford to high school in Butler, some five miles from home. He graduated as valedictorian of his 1930 class of 14 students and was one of the school’s star athletes. As a boy on the farm, he hunted and trapped game and fur bearers and learned to appreciate and respect nature and the land. Through encouragement and financial support (about $1,500) from his parents and a variety of jobs at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, Dan was able to complete five years of schooling and was awarded an AB degree with honors in 1934, with a major in geology from Miami University, and a BSC degree in education in 1935. Receipt of fellowships from the then newly-created Ohio Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at the Ohio State University allowed him to complete his MS and PhD degrees in zoology (wildlife conservation) in 1938 and 1940. He was an instructor in wildlife conservation at the University until drafted into the U.S. Army in April of 1942. He served as a Captain in the Medical Corps until 1945 and was an aerial photo interpreter in Europe. He received a Bronze Medal in 1945. In September 1945, Dan became leader of the Ohio Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, where he continued the pheasant research he began as a graduate student. From this time until his retirement in December 1974, he served in several positions, all in the U.S. Department of the Interior: biologist-in-charge, Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit program, 1949-1957; chief, Wildlife Research Branch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1957-1963; chief, Division of Research and Education, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, 1963-1965; and senior scientist, Office of Water Resources Research, 1965-1974. After retirement from the Interior Department, he served as consultant/senior scientist for the National Institute for Urban Wildlife, until 1994. He worked hard to build the Cooperative Units and during his tenure as chief, considerable headway was made toward development of the Endangered Species Program and for establishment of the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center at Jamestown, North Dakota. This Center complemented the pioneering research on pesticide-wildlife relationships and nuisance animal control work done by the Patuxent and Denver Centers. Dan’s published articles, including chapters in several books, reviews, and papers on a wide variety of subjects (especially pheasants), number more than 100. Dan has received numerous awards, including the American Motors Conservation Award, 1958; U.S. Department of the Interior Distinguished Service Award, 1972; Distinguished Alumni Award, the Ohio State University, 1975; and the Aldo Leopold Award for distinguished service to wildlife conservation, 1983. He was the first to receive the Daniel L. Leedy Urban Wildlife Conservation Award, established in Leedy’s honor by the National Institute for Urban Wildlife, 1985. Dan was married to Barbara E. Sturges on November 25, 1945. They had a son, Robert Raymond, and a daughter, Kathleen Eleanor. Dan has been a member of many professional societies and was particularly active in The Wildlife Society, serving as president in 1952 and executive secretary from 1953 to 1957. He was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1960 and served for many years as chairman of the membership committee. He frequently served on the food committee, and for years he rolled up his sleeves to wash dishes and help clean up after the Club’s spring and fall outings, which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was with sadness and regret when, beginning about 1995, he found it impossible to walk to “the Island” because of severe spinal stenosis. Dan died on January 19, 2003.