Birding legend Bill Brockner dies at 93 in Evergreen

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By Vicky Gits

Bill Brockner, a longtime Evergreen resident and co-founder of the Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society, died Wednesday night, Nov. 19, at Life Care Center of Evergreen. He was 93.

Brockner was the husband of Courier columnist Sylvia Brockner. His interest in birds traced to his youth and led to his first meeting with Sylvia. The two, who became renowned birding experts, married in 1940.

Bill Brockner was born July 22, 1915, in Buffalo, N.Y. He married Sylvia in Buffalo, after meeting her at the Buffalo Museum of Science, where she was working. He served in the Army in Italy and North Africa during World War II from 1943 to 1945.

As a child, Brockner was a frequent visitor at the museum, where he first encountered a mounted specimen of the extremely rare and sought-after ivory-billed woodpecker. That encounter spurred a lifelong passion for birding and many expeditions to bird habitats. His life list of bird sightings reached 755, in the top 100 in the American Association of Birding ranks.

Bill and Sylvia Brockner moved to Evergreen in 1965 into a house on Herzman Mesa, after Bill was transferred to Denver, where he worked for General Motors as an accountant.

The couple founded the Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society in 1968, and Brockner wrote a column for the group’s monthly newsletter, The Dipper. For many years, Brockner took care of the daily bird count records at Evergreen Lake. Sylvia Brockner has been writing a nature column for the Canyon Courier since 1972.

Brockner was a member of Troop I of the American Legion in the Buffalo area for 60 years. He was a life member of the Evergreen Kiwanis and a life member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of Amherst, N.Y.

He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, of Evergreen; a sister, Jacqueline Crowder of Desert Hot Springs, Calif.; and nephews David Brockner of Sloan, N.Y., and Mark Brockner of West Falls, N.Y.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at the Evergreen Lake House on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 11 a.m.