I’m devastated to lose my friends, Sarah, Damon and Duncan Brown!

I first met Sarah when I was working for the National Park Service at Great Sand Dunes National Monument (1975 or so) where she was doing sand dunes research with Eddie McKee. We hit it off from the start, and became good hiking, traveling, and birding buddies. Our first big adventure, shortly after we met, was traveling through Ecuador and Peru on public transportation, with a serendipitous side trip to the Galapagos thrown in. After that we visited each other often, and supported each other through many of life’s challenges and changes over the years. In many ways she was the sister that I never had.

Sarah was a born and bred artist and storyteller with a perceptive, wry humor and keen intelligence. She kept me laughing with her cartoons and engaging stories about geologists, machismo in the oil patch, human foibles, and life in general. Much of Sarah is expressed in her brain child, the feisty forensic geologist Em Hansen, the heroine of her series of geology mysteries. It’s been fun to recognize incidents and people from her life in the characters in these books.

Damon came into Sarah’s life during a difficult period, and provided a steady calm that helped her many talents flourish. I was honored and delighted to be at their wedding, and to later visit them at the lovely home they created in Sebastopol. The two were totally devoted to and supportive of each other and took such joy in Duncan’s arrival, including him in their many travels as he grew into a bright and enthusiastic young man. I enjoyed a memorable river trip with them down Desolation and Gray Canyons in 2007. Sarah last visited me in Moab about a year ago and as always, I was looking forward to our next shared adventure.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that all three of this lively, vibrant family are gone so abruptly. They’ve certainly left a big empty hole behind them, and I join you in grief over our loss. Having them as part of my life was a gift that I’ll always treasure. Their spirit lives on in all of us who loved them.