Deceased July 1, 2019

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In Memory

In our 25th reunion book, Dan Guthrie stated, “It was our duty not to simply enjoy [our Amherst education] but to carry it to the world and do something worthwhile.” For Dan, that meant teaching students environmental and evolutionary biology at Claremont Colleges and emphasizing their developing “a way of looking at things rather than just a body of facts.”

Chi Phis will remember Dan as a formidable presence following his own agenda. Bill Vetter ’60, Dan’s roommate, tells how Dan spent summertime with Professor Wood in the fossil beds of Wyoming searching anthills for teeth of extinct rabbit-sized rodents. He then spent senior year cataloging, describing and comparing them to establish the identity of the species. “Dan was also a serious collector of modern creatures, resulting in problems of space allocation in our refrigerator. Our winter exploration of an abandoned garnet mine led to brown bats being stored in jelly jars and stowed away for months in the freezer. This tended to surprise those who came looking for ice cubes.” 

Dan’s obituary reveals the origins and trajectory of his finding, viewing and identifying both extinct and contemporary bird species and making his collection available to museums, researchers and students. Moreover, he engaged his whole family in annual expeditions looking at birds and collecting fossils. Favorite locations were San Miguel Island, Calif., and remote Attu in the Aleutians, where he observed birds while accumulating a “life-list” of 7,153 bird species. He was a leader in Audubon Society activities. Not to be forgotten is his love for lacrosse as a club player and coach for 15 years of the Claremont Colleges women’s lacrosse club.

Dan died on July 1, 2019, surrounded by his family, which includes three daughters—Kate Poaster, Ruth Guthrie and Winnie Larson; their spouses; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Bill Vetter ’60 and Dick Weisfelder ’60

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