In Memoriam: Sandra Dubpernell

Sandra Dubpernell

Volunteer, teacher, scientist extraordinaire

January 26, 1938 – September 1, 2022

Sandy moved to Whidbey Island from New Jersey in 1988. She became a Beach Watcher in 1993 and found her niche – responding to dead marine creatures. She was instrumental in articulating the skeletons of Rudy the Dall’s porpoise and Samson the Steller sea lion now at the Coupeville Wharf. Sandy was the Volunteer Coordinator for our local Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network, trained hundreds of volunteers, responded to hundreds of dead marine mammals and live seal pups, collected specimens and samples, assisted with necropsies, archived records, submitted reports to NOAA Fisheries National DB, cleaned skulls, bones, and more. Sandy has been an Orca Network board member/volunteer for over 20 years.

Sandy taught many classes over the years for Beach Watchers/Sound Water Stewards, was a docent at the Langley Whale Center and Coupeville Wharf, did COASST seabird survey for many years and has been involved in all things “marine mammal” related. Her latest LOVE was for the elephant seals who have started to ‘populate’ Whidbey Island, starting with Ellie who came ashore to molt several years ago.

Sandy also was a talented stained-glass artist, helping to raise money for organizations working on behalf of animals. Her remaining art is available for purchase at the Penn Cove Gallery. Sandy was also an avid adventure traveler – hitting so many fun places.  She was also the recipient of the Jan Holmes Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018, presented by MRC, WSU Extension and SWS.

Sandy had been fighting many physical setbacks over the past 18 months and was hospitalized after breaking her hip very recently. A more detailed obituary (mostly written by Sandy herself) is in the Whidbey newspapers on Saturday, October 8.

There will be no service. Cremation has been handled by the Neptune Society. Donations may be made to Orca Network or to Senior Services of Island County.

A Memorial gathering is being planned by Jill Hein and others. Jill invites Stewards to send her memories, stories or pictures. Contact Jill to be notified with details about the gathering.

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