The Sanibel Captiva Conservation shared the news of her passing on Friday in a special announcement. Following a recent cancer diagnosis, she was under home hospice care and at peace about passing, having lived a full and gratifying life, the announcement said.
First hired by SCCF Native Plant Nursery Manager Norma Jeanne Byrd in 1980, Dee was one of the longest-serving staff members in the organization’s history, sharing her love and deep reverence for plants and wildlife with the community for 37 years.
Although Dee briefly left SCCF (1985-1987) to work with adults living with developmental disabilities in Immokolee, she returned to the Native Plant Nursery and became integral in establishing many pioneering programs as Project Water Works Coordinator through the Island Water Association and as Landscaping for Wildlife Educator.
She retired from SCCF in November 2018, but continued to volunteer at the Native Landscapes and Garden Center located at the Bailey Homestead, where she took special care of the herb and pollinator gardens.
In lieu of flowers, her wish was for donations to be made to SCCF in honor of a mission she embodied. “We can thank her for conceiving the idea of landscaping for wildlife at SCCF and countless other initiatives and legacies in our work,” the announcement said.