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Houston Regional Group - News
Doctor 'Air' Passes Away
Brandt Mannchen

David Marrack, a long-time environmental activist and medical doctor, recently passed away. I met David in the late 1970’s when he was active with the Houston Audubon Society (HAS). David came from England and as a medical doctor was very concerned about the health effects that air pollution had on people. David developed air as a specialty in the late 1980’s and 1990’s and in particular studied and became an “expert” on incineration and small particulate air pollution. David became such a self-taught expert that he wrote and presented papers at annual Air and Waste Management Association meetings.

But David was a lot more than an expert in air pollution. When I met David, he and Kitty Orr, formed the bulwark of the conservation team at the HAS. I remember going to many evening meetings and discussing what HAS and Sierra Club should say about various conservation issues. David also participated in the campaign to save Armand Bayou, national forest protection, coastal and marine protection, and many other causes.

David was also a dam good birder and enjoyed nothing more than getting out into Nature and taking a measure of himself while enjoying the critters that he loved. David, with help from others, planted Live Oaks on Galveston Island in an attempt to get a new motte growing so birds would have some place to rest after they flew across the Gulf of Mexico. David was a long-term thinker, a hard worker, and loved to exhort others to do the same.

The thing I admired and respected David most for was his righteous anger and outrage against those who despoiled the environment and endangered people. It was classic David to point his finger at industry representatives and bureaucrats and admonish them to “do the right thing.” At his heart, even though David knew Nature was taking hits, he was an optimist who never gave up.

David never stopped learning and had a thirst for knowledge that was a hundred miles wide. He called me on many occasions and asked questions that unfortunately I often did not know. His humor could be wicked and it was just plain fun to ride with him anywhere.

We can never replace an environmental "warrior" like David. However, we can remember him and pass down his "never give-up" attitude to others. David, give them hell in heaven. They need it and you are the guy to do it!

November 2011

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Last updated:  11/21/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.