"Vicki" Hatfield was born April 12, 1930 in Holyoke, Massachusetts
and passed away March 23, 2015 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Vicki is
survived by her daughter Sammye Bankston of Broken Arrow; daughter
Jame Lynn Hatfield of Alaska; grandchildren Jasen Cory Lawwill,
Matthew Grant Lawwill and Emma Leigh Lawwill and one
great-grandchild on the way.
Personally, Vicki was one of the
first persons Sharon and I met when we moved to Tulsa in 1982 and
joined the Tulsa Audubon Society. She took us under her wing, and is
the one who gets the credit (or blame!) for getting me involved in
Tulsa Audubon for life.
She was TAS president at the time
and asked us to take on the Eagle Committee when we first joined.
And when I came to her with the idea of dong a bird seed sale she
let me loose, and it changed TAS forever, since we had a way to
As Sammye recently told me “I know
she had a finger in many pies (ornithology, bats, archeology, all
animals, really) and her favorite response to "which piece of pie
would you like"....was "one of each, please"!! She was pretty
Her interest in birds began with
her discovery of the first nesting Mississippi Kites in Tulsa County
on her west Tulsa property in 1974. Cyndie Browning had interviewed
Vicki for her web site, and to the question “What got you interested
in birding?” Vicki answered:
Mississippi Kites feeding their
young in the tops of the trees near my patio in West Tulsa, 1974. I
followed the species in Tulsa for about 10 years. Dr. George Miksch
Sutton, professor at OU, was especially helpful to me at this time.
He had a special personal interest in the species and had written an
article for one of the birding bulletins entitled, "Mississippi
Kites in Spring," 1936, I think. There was not much written
information about kites until his paper. I watched them for hours at
the nest and obtained specimens of the prey the old birds brought to
the young. I took apart the pellets they regurgitated to determine
what kinds of food they ate, by noting the indigestible materials
found in the pellets. I read everything I could.... lived and
breathed Mississippi Kites for quite a while. I can hear their calls
in my mind's ear.
After moving to Grove, she became
involved with the Grand Lake Audubon Society, serving as president
from 2005 to 2007. In 2009 she was named recipient of the Cy Siebert
Award, honoring both leadership and dedication to the society. Vicki
had many other interests.
Vicki was living in Austin near the
Congress Ave. bridge where she met Bat Conservation International
founder Merlin Tuttle and began doing volunteer work with that
organization. She became a true bat ambassador, giving presentations
to area schools and civic groups. While in Austin she also did vital
field research on two endangered species of birds, Golden-cheeked
Warblers & Black-capped Vireos.
Another interest was archaeology,
and for many years she would travel around the country in her RV to
volunteer at archaeological digs.
Pat Seibert recently commented that
“I always think of her when I see a Mississippi Kite!” and there are
several others, including myself, who do the same. Vicki was a
wonderful person who will be missed.
Condolences may be sent to Sammye
Bankston, 2712 So. Hemlock Ave., Broken Arrow, OK 74012.