For Courtney Tye, work wasn’t just a job — it was her passion.
“She had a love of life and the outdoors, birds and animals, and she’s just always a joy to the people around her,” said Barry, her husband. “We’re gonna miss her.”
Tye, a Gainesville native, passed away due to complications during childbirth Saturday. She was 30.
Her friends, family and coworkers praised the UF graduate student and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife biologist for her dedication not only to the environment but also the creatures that live in it.
Tye’s work with fox squirrels, an imperiled species, contributed greatly to management plans for the species’ benefit. She even set up an online database in which anyone in Florida can report a fox squirrel sighting to help keep track of the species.
Tye made an impression on people, too.
“Courtney was a bright spot in our agency,” said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Tye started as a laboratory field assistant about eight years ago and quickly worked her way through the ranks.
“She was immediately seen as someone we wanted deep in the program,” Wiley said. “She was definitely passionate about what she did.”
Tye was also completing graduate work for a master’s degree, said Bill Giuliano, a professor in UF’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
“She was one of the hardest working and most dedicated in the field,” said Giuliano, who taught and advised Tye.
Her legacy will carry on through her newborn son, Carter Wayne.
A memorial fund has been started to support Carter’s education at goo.gl/Gh0URw. In the few days since the fund’s establishment, donors have given more than $14,000.
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 2/6/2014 under the headline "UF student remembered for work, love of life"]
Courtney Tye passed away due to complications during childbirth Saturday.