The Heart of a Lion

November 13, 2020

Claude Sappington, beloved Conservancy stalwart, passed away last month. Claude was my tireless mentor since I began at the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy in 1997, and he guided me with unvarnished but kind, profane but thoughtful advice for the last 23 years. Born in Oklahoma and raised in the Silver Valley, Claude brought his chops as an aquatic biologist and retired regional director of the Washington Department of Ecology to the Conservancy. Claude steered the Conservancy as it wrestled with hiring its first executive director (me!), with buying and eventually selling the Harrington Ranch, helping evaluate every one of the 100+ properties that your Conservancy has helped protect, and carefully expanding the organization. Claude was board president more than once, chaired or served on the Land Protection Committee many times, and hosted all kinds of planning retreats and INLC celebrations. You couldn’t ask for a more open, honest, loyal friend.

Tributes have come in from his Conservancy colleagues. Brenda McCracken wrote “I valued his experience and expertise so much when we served on the land protection committee together.  He was also always consistently open and friendly to those around. “  Lisa Langelier wrote “I was sad to see that Claude Sappington passed away from COVID….I know that the Land Conservancy was dear to him.”

According to his obituary, He dedicated his life to promote an environment where all people, animals and plants could thrive in a healthy environment for generations to come. He sure did. And I miss him.