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Obituary for IVEY


Published in the Albuquerque Journal on Monday July 08, 2013

IVEY, ROBERT DEWITT Born October 8, 1923, in Plant City, FL, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died peacefully on June 23, 2013, after a courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Vivian Porter Ivey; daughters Susan Ivey and husband Dean Reynolds, Vivian Jones and husband Greg; step-daughters Valerie Harvey and husband Bill, Jeri Muller and husband Roger, and Laura Mascarenas; fourteen grandchildren; and ten great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his ex-wife, Bettye Spearman Ivey. Ivey received his Bachelor's degree in biology and English and his Master's degree in mammalogy from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He married Bettye in 1945, and in 1947 the couple settled in Albuquerque, NM, where they started their family. There Ivey began a teaching career that would span over 40 years. He taught biology at UNM and Albuquerque High before settling at Sandia High. His early interests were primarily in mammalogy. He was published twice in The Journal of Mammalogy (Nov 1957 and Nov 1959), one of which was a study on the mammals of Bernalillo County the result of ten years of research and the trapping of 6000 animals. In later years, his focus transitioned to botany, specifically the native plants of NM. In the early 80s, as a single man again, Ivey found and married his soul mate, Vivian Porter Ivey, who shared his interest in botany. Together, they explored every corner of New Mexico, researching and collecting plants and going on field trips with the Native Plant Society of NM and other nature groups. Over the years, Ivey documented and sketched detailed illustrations of more than 1800 plants. In 1983, he published the first edition of The Flowering Plants of New Mexico, and during the next 25 years, 4 more editions were published. In 2003, he was recognized by Former Governor Bill Richardson for his decades of contributions to the natural history of the state. He also authored and illustrated (all or in part) 16 other botany books, most notably the Flora Neomexicana III (2012). Ivey's passion for teaching never diminished, and even 20 years after retirement, he continued to give presentations and talks for groups like the Native Plant Society of NM. He was often recognized and greeted by his former students, which number in the many hundreds. It was in the beauty of nature that Ivey felt God's presence the most. He found God's work evidenced more in the walls of the Grand Canyon and in the minute details of the flowers he illustrated than in any other way. Ivey will be remembered for his sense of adventure, his artistic talent, his desire to learn and teach, his love of nature, and for inspiring so many young minds through nature, science and art. A memorial service will be held at Sandia Baptist Church (9429 Constitution Ave NE) on Saturday, July 13, at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Native Plant Society of NM, PO Box 35388, Albuquerque, NM 87176-5388.