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  My wife wanted me to share this story about Bill Rudden.  She shared 
it on Anne McCormack's blog and since Anne enjoyed it, she thought 
others might.  Here's her story:

"Bill and I ran into each other birding almost every other day for the 
past five years, whether at Tower Grove Park or Carondelet Park or 
Riverlands or wherever the birds were.  Although he'd become a pretty 
solitary birder, he would always check in on what I was finding when he 
saw me.  As we shared our finds, we'd often end up walking and finding 
birds together.  Bill was like that.  Easy going, casual, down-to-earth 
and friendly,  as other birders have attested. I didn't expect this from 
a man I knew was an extraordinary birder - this humility.   Although 
many other birders can attest to the extraordinary and yet humble birder 
he was, I think what I loved most about him was that he could be 
completely outrageous and unpredictable. My fondest memory of such a 
time is the day I realized he was either seriously comfortable in my 
presence or he was pulling a Rudden and trying to see if he could shock 
me. I was birding at Tower Grove Park near Jack's Pond one afternoon 
when I see Bill pull up in his van and start walking toward me. He 
starts asking me what birds I'd been seeing, how I'd ID'ed them and 
such. He got into teacher mode and was throwing around words like 
'supraloral' and 'undertail coverts' and other terms as he talked about 
the birds. I knew he was testing me. He knew I was a bit lazy and 
resistant to learning bird lingo. Once again, (this was a game with us) 
I recalcitrantly stated I didn't care to know my 'remige' from my 
'rectrice.' I was expecting to hear him say once again that I need to 
learn this stuff to be a good birder, but instead, he says, with 
complete nonchalance, 'Hey, since we're gonna be talking a while, let me 
go put my teeth in.' My jaw dropped. I blurted, 'What?' I hadn't even 
noticed he didn't have his teeth in. (Well, I didn't even know he had 
false teeth in the first place.) 'Let me go get my teeth,' he said again 
like he was commenting on the weather. Recovering my composure, (okay, 
so he did shock me for a second or two) I said 'Sure, you go get your 
teeth.' He walked to his van, plopped in his teeth and moseyed on back 
like nothing had happened, picking right up with a lesson on primary and 
secondary feathers.  I love him for this memory and for the biggest 
smile ever that appears on my face every single time I remember it. 
Thank you BILL!!!!!!!!!!! I will miss miss miss you. - Chrissy 
McClarren"

Andy Reago
St. Louis MO
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