In Memoriam by Phil Condon
Gray day in Missoula. November 2004. In the seminar room in the University of Montana's Jeannette Rankin Hall, black binders hold the hard work of so many Environmental Studies alumni. But today, pick only one up—in 1979, Ellen Ditzler completed her MS Thesis: "Song Dog," a personal, cultural, and scientific meditation on the coyote. Early on, this sentence: "It is my firm belief that outward advocacy and action backed by research and fact are ineffective without inner visions, convictions and creative thinking."
In the quarter century since, Ellen moved to Helena, married Mark Meloy, and found her true home in the deserts and the rivers of southern Utah. As Ellen Meloy, her words unwound and found their way across the world like any fine river: Raven's Exile, The Last Cheater's Waltz, The Anthropology of Turquoise. A Whiting Award, a Utah Book Award, a Pulitzer Nomination.
Ellen Meloy died November 4, 2004, at her home in Bluff, Utah. All of us at EVST [Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana - Missoula] send our deep condolences to her husband, family, and close friends. We offer our sense of loss for her as a person and as a strong voice for the wild and natural. Her last book, Eating Stone, is due out next year. Introducing her "Song Dog," she forecast so much else: "In the spirit of coyote storytelling, I created a few tales of my own." Thanks for the spirit. Thanks for the tales.
Phil Condon, Professor
Environmental Studies Program, University of Montana-Missoula