The following was e-mailed to me. Ironically, I’m going to be posting a postmortem for someone else shortly. This came to me from Richard Salzman. Let’s leave the peanut gallery comments for another thread, please?

Tim McKay, the executive director of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) for virtually its entire 35-year existence, died at Stone Lagoon of an apparently massive heart attack on Sunday while he was engaged in one of his favorite activities: birding.

McKay, 59, was a relentless and inspirational defender of what he called the Klamath-Siskiyou. A native of Stockton who spent his boyhood in Benicia, McKay’s interest in the environment bloomed during a family trip to Alaska in the 1950s.

After coming to Arcata to study at Humboldt State, where he was a student government vice-president and eventually received a degree in history, McKay did a stint with the Forest Service in 1971. He also helped pioneer an early conservation group called Save Our Siskiyous.

A federal grant allowed him to become co-director, and later executive director (and sole employee) of the NEC. He had guided its concerns, activities, goals and dreams ever since.

McKay leaves a daughter, Laurel, 25; son, Forrest, 21; a brother, Gerry, his partner Michelle Marta, and numerous relatives and friends.

Plans for a celebration of his life in August are in progress.

Conact can be made through the NEC 707.822.6918 (M_F 10-6)

Hopefully he saw one last Bachman’s Warbler before he went.