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Vicki Hatfield, 1930-2015
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Verajean "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 raise money.

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 wonderful.”

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.

John Kennington, March 2015






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Last modified: October 10, 2017




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