At Tall Timbers, Louise Ireland Humphrey left behind a legacy of bricks and mortar and a beech-magnolia forest

By Rose Rodriguez, Information Services Manager

Louise HumphreyLouise Ireland Humphrey passed away March 18 at Woodfield Springs, her plantation home in Miccosukee, Florida. She was a longtime supporter of Tall Timbers, and although she had not been to the research station for many years, she left behind a legacy that remains in bricks and mortar and a beech-magnolia forest.

Louise Humphrey had many philanthropical interests that benefited from her time and talents – Tall Timbers is fortunate that its organization was one of them. From 1982 to 1998, Louise was an active member of the Tall Timbers Board of Trustees. In 1990, she became chairman of the Development Committee. As chairman, she was responsible for raising funds to sustain the organization through annual membership giving and to help it grow, which she did very successfully, raising more than $3.5 million during her tenure for capital improvements. Through her energetic efforts and strong character, funds were raised to renovate the Tall Timbers barn into the E.V. Komarek Science Education Center, and through a capital campaign to expand the Stoddard Research Laboratory into the Wade Research Center. By action of the Board of Trustees in 1998, the main lobby and exhibit hall are named in her honor. Under her leadership, the restoration of the Beadel House was completed, and, $1 million was raised from her Hanna family members to purchase the Anders property, an adjacent 679-acre parcel of beech-magnolia forest now known as Hanna Hammock. The purchase protected Tall Timbers at its western boundary from subdivision development. And finally, the Birdwatch Education Center on Gannet Pond was renovated in 1993-1994 with funds from Louise and her sister Kate Ireland, in memory of their Aunt Pansy, Elizabeth Ireland Poe. The original Birdwatch Center was designed by Betty Komarek and was a gift from Pansy Poe to Tall Timbers.

Walter Sedgwick and Louise Humphrey at the burning of the mortgage note for Hanna Hammock, 1997.Until her retirement from the Board, Louise was the chairman of the Naturalists’ Ball, the annual “tails and tweeds” event that she hosted at Pebble Hill Plantation – the proceeds benefiting the Tall Timbers Foundation. The event has changed since then, but the tribute to her involvement remains as she has been named the honorary chairman of the Ball, even as she was no longer able to attend.

For her three terms as a commissioner with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and years of service to Tall Timbers, Louise was inducted into the Florida Wildlife Federation Hall of Fame in 2001. She was honored in 2006, at the Naturalists’ Ball, by her friends, family and the staff of Tall Timbers for her many years of support and service to the organization.

Louise was an avid sportswoman who loved wing shooting, dogs and horses. She bred Labrador retrievers and racing thoroughbreds; was an avid fox hunter; hunted rabbits with her beagle pack; and competed in hunt horse shows. And she loved witches; she had a witch’s broom at her entrance that stated whether, ‘The Witch is in’ or ‘The Witch is out’.

The “Witch” is out.

Cheryl Richardson, Henrietta Walter, Ebe Walter and Louise Humphrey at the 2002 Naturalists' Ball

Cheryl Richardson, Henrietta Walter, Ebe Walter and Louise Humphrey at the 2002 Naturalists’ Ball.

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