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Thomas G. Balgooyen 1943 - 2016

Fern Davies

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Thomas G. Balgooyen
July 5, 1943 - Oct. 29, 2016
Morgan Hill, CA


Dr. Thomas G. Balgooyen, a longtime resident of Morgan Hill, CA, died suddenly on Oct. 29, 2016 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

Tom was born July 5, 1943, in Grand Haven, MI to Theodore J. and Marie I. Balgooyen. He graduated from Los Gatos High School in 1961, received a M.A. in Biological Science of San Jose State University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Zoology of University of California, Berkeley in 1972. Tom returned to San Jose State University as a Professor in 1975 from where he retired in 2011. He was a passionate sailor, hunter and fishermen. His love for science, the outdoors and world travels influenced his life to a large extent.


In 1976, he published Behaviour and Ecology of the American Kestrel in the Sierra Nevada of California (University of California publications in zoology ; v. 103), his Ph.D thesis presenting work conducted under the the guidance of A. Starker Leopold, his doctoral advisor. In 1977, while working for the Bureau of Land Management, he published a reference guide describing methods for collecting amphibians and reptiles. However, he devoted a good deal of his research career to the study of American Kestrels, including a paper on the "Natural History of the American Kestrel in Venezuela." (Journal of Raptor Research, 1989).  He also promoted a "more operational definition of ecology" in a paper published in Ecology in 1973.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Lucie E. Merkle-Balgooyen; son, Brandt Balgooyen; and sisters Kimberly Barceloux and Marnissa Balgooyen.

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