Celebration of Life: Gretchen Steiger

07-19-2021 17:07

Memorial Celebration of Gretchen Steiger, May 4, 2019

There will be a memorial celebration of Gretchen Steiger on May 4, 2019.  For those wanting to attend the memorial celebration and reception on 4 May please use the RSVP links below to let us know you are coming (no need to RSVP if you cannot make it). To attend the sit-down gathering at noon please click the following link.


If you are interested in attending the informal reception at Cascadia Research’s office click the following link.  Please note, for this event there are two different times to chose from: 3PM and 4PM).


April 14, 2019

We are sad to report that Cascadia’s long time (37 years) research biologist and President of the Board, Gretchen Steiger, passed away in her home last Friday, 12 April 2019. Her final days were with her family and close friends in her home where she finally succumbed to ovarian cancer she had fought for more than 4 years. She and her partner in research and life, John Calambokidis met on a research expedition studying seals, porpoise, and geese in Glacier Bay in 1982. She was an integral part of Cascadia’s development from a fledgling living room operation to a successful non-profit research organization. In the early years she did a lot of the leg work with John and Jim Cubbage writing and submitting some of the initial competitive proposals that got Cascadia started. Especially in the early years she worked in many far flung challenging areas from being an observer on Russian fishing boats, conducting acoustic monitoring of bowhead whales in the Arctic (including a face to face encounter with a polar bear), and studying the movements and behavior of ringed seals not far from the magnetic North Pole. In the early years at Cascadia she focused on mortality of seals including spending weeks on her own on remote islands, or joining John in their early surveys offshore in 14-foot inflatables. As her work shifted with raising their two children, Alexei and Zoe, she focused her work closer to home, authoring and editing articles and books (like Blue Whales) and taking on more of the administrative duties required of a growing organization. She was author on more than 50 scientific publications, technical reports, and presentations and lead the write up on publications related to humpback whales, seal mortality, and killer whale predation. A memorial celebration of her life will be scheduled for the coming weeks and will be posted here.