Thursday, June 01, 2023

Patricia T. McClelland, 87

| September 21, 2022 7:35 AM

Pat died on 15 July, 2022, at her home, in West Glacier, cared for by her family. Pat was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, on 24 March, 1935. The family eventually settled in Granville, Ohio. Pat’s father, Dr. Harry V. Truman, was Professor of Botany at Denison University, in Granville. Pat’s mother, Margaret Galligan Truman, was an artist and taught in elementary schools. The family spent summers of 1939-1942 in Yellowstone National Park, where Dr. Truman was a seasonal naturalist.

In 1956, Pat received a B.S. in Education from the Ohio State University. Also in 1956, she married B. Riley McClelland. She had met him in 1955 at Old Faithful, where they both were working. During their careers with the National Park Service, Pat and Riley worked at Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Pat liked to say that their career began with dessert - four snowed-in winters at Old Faithful. Their home was an historic log ranger station (razed in 1970), 500 feet from Old Faithful Geyser. Each autumn (1957-1960), Pat ordered groceries for five months. She loved the opportunity to spend so much time with her growing family in Yellowstone’s quiet wonderland (before the snowmobile invasion years). Pat loved horses, dogs, wildlife, native plants, skiing, and hiking. She was intensely curious about all aspects of nature. If she encountered a butterfly or a bird along a trail, she could not be budged until she identified it.

From 1965 through 1989, Pat worked with Riley on the Bald Eagle Migration Ecology Project. With colleagues and University of Montana students, they transmitter-equipped bald eagles at the fall concentrations in Glacier National Park. In spring 1980, Pat and friend Becky Williams documented the first nest site in the study. They tracked a tagged eagle from its wintering area near Ovando to its nest in Wood Buffalo National Park (northern Alberta). Other eagles were tracked as far north as Great Slave Lake, near the Arctic Circle.

In the midst of eagle research, Pat and family moved to Missoula. While guiding her five teenagers, Pat was a substitute teacher in several Missoula schools. She sang with the Missoula Chorale and took classes to keep her teaching certificate current. Beginning in 1985, Pat conducted her own Bald Eagle research, at Hungry Horse Reservoir. The field work was a basis for her thesis and a University of Montana M.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology, received in 1992.

In 1993, Pat and Riley retired to their home in West Glacier. Thereafter, Pat participated in numerous nature safaris to Africa, Australia, Borneo, Costa Rica, and Mexico, led by prominent naturalists. Most trips also had native guides. Pat and fellow travelers provided funding for one of their Tanzanian guides to earn a university degree. As a teacher, Pat took great joy in contributions to school children and native villages. She worked tirelessly to help preserve environmental quality, wherever she was.

Pat is survived by her husband, five children (Mary Teresa, Kevin, Jane, Kerry, and Terence), six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Anyone desiring to make a donation in Pat’s memory, could consider the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, (P. 0. Box 181, East Glacier Park, MT 59434), or a favorite conservation group.

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