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Connie Hellyer, a Northwest Trek inspiration, dies at 97

6:23 pm July 29th, 2012

Connie Hellyer, who with her husband donated land that became the Northwest Trek wildlife park, died Friday. She was 97.

Hellyer, who lived in recent years in Puyallup and Tacoma, once lived in the Eatonville area with her husband of 69 years, Dr. David Hellyer, and their family in a home near Horseshoe Lake. That site and surrounding land was given by the Hellyers in the 1970s to Metro Parks, which developed it into Northwest Trek.

The couple were naturalists and strong supporters of Trek’s mission to inform the public about conservation and the Northwest wildlife that lives in the park’s free-roaming preserve and exhibits. Connie Hellyer served Trek as a docent and wrote published articles about its wildlife, and she and Dr. Hellyer, a pediatrician who died in 2006, received the Margaret Douglas Award for Achievement in Conservation Education from the Garden Club of America in 1999, and the American Red Cross Wilderness Rescue Award in 2000 .

Connie Hellyer was born in 1918 in Illinois. Her survivors include three daughters.

She is the second major Northwest Trek figure to die this month. Dave Ellis, who was the park’s deputy director and worked there for 28 years, died July 17. He was 65.

(Read more of this story in the Aug. 1 print edition of The Dispatch)

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