Date of this Version
Peyton, “Remembering Doris Gates, a Great Teacher,” from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1997) 65(3).
Doris Gates (1915-1983) taught Biology at Huntley, NE from 1938-1941, North Platte from 1941-1955, and Chadron State College from 1955-1974. She lived until her death at the foot of "Rush No More Butte" south of Chadron, was a member of the North Platte Tout Bird Club, and served as President of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union and Editor of The Nebraska Bird Review.
Doris included plants and birds in her lectures on Biology, but she taught much more than that because she understood the beauty of life. She believed that beauty was in what you did rather than what you looked like, in what you were rather than what you were not. Maybe that's why she wanted to return as a Turkey Vulture in her next life. Her philosophy, which I try to pass on, allows me to forget the rotting, smelly mass of feathers I am trying to sketch, instead seeing dihedral wings soaring up and over Doris's former home.