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Robert Brooks Childress

Published 5:40 pm, Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Robert Brooks Childress, a resident of Kingscote village near Tetbury in England, formerly of Darien, died Friday, July 22, at home with his wife, Sandy, by his side. He was 70.

Mr. Childress was born in Ithaca, N.Y., to Nan and Bob Childress, the illustrator of the "Dick and Jane" books, on April 24, 1941. He grew up in upstate New York and Old Saybrook.

After graduating from Harvard in 1958, he began a 27-year career in marketing and advertising, first with P&G in Cincinnati and later with Glendinning Associates and marketing Corp. of America in Westport.

He lived in Darien from 1971 to 1984, and lived at Wilson Point from 1984 to 1991. He served as commodore of the Darien Boat Club.

Mr. and Mrs. Childress relocated to Kenya in 1991 where he discovered a passion for birds. He conducted fieldwork on Great Cormorants at Lake Naivasha and received his PhD at 57 from Leicester University (U.K.). After moving to the U.K. in 1996, Mr. Childress became affiliated with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, England, and traveled widely on behalf of the Flamingo Specialist Group, part of the IUCN-SSC/Wetlands International Waterbird Network. He was FSG chairman for five-and-a-half years until retiring in 2010.

In addition to his wife of 49 years, survivors include his two daughters, Sarah Childress of Hebron, Conn., and Susan Ferrell of Sonora, Calif.; three grandchildren, PJ and Leah Brooks Muncy, and Robert Ekern; a brother, Bill, of Old Saybrook; a sister, Nancy Childress, of Gilmanton, N.H.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by two sisters.

Services were held last week in Kingscote. A memorial service will be held in Old Saybrook in the fall.

Memorial donations may be sent to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer through development@mskcc.org.