Jeff Swanagan – A Great Loss to Columbus

| June 29, 2009 | 0 Comments

Jeff watching my daughter Lindsay pet their tame Cheetah last Mother's Day

Jeff watching my daughter Lindsay pet their tame Cheetah last Mother's Day

Jeff Swanagan’s sudden death over the weekend is a real loss to this community. He came back to Columbus to take over as head of the Columbus Zoo last summer. I first met him at a JaZZoo concert in August as he and his wife Suzy were making plans to move from Atlanta, where he ran the Georgia Aquarium. Jeff attended the WOSU Vivaldi and Chefs in the City fundraisers as a guest of our board member Susan Scherer. He was a great supporter of public broadcasting and we had started talking about how WOSU and the Zoo could work even more closely on some joint projects.

At our Chefs fundraiser, I told him my wife always gathered our family on Mother’s Day for a visit to the Zoo. He told us to call him when we showed up at the Zoo that day and we did. Jeff gave us a special behind the scenes tour — we watched Beco the baby elephant play under his Mother’s close supervision, were able to pet a young cheetah and meet one of Jack Hanna’s daughters. He was a wonderful guy, who obviously had a way with people and really loved his new job. It’s a tremendous loss for the Zoo, the city of Columbus and everyone who knew Jeff. Our thoughts are with his family today.

Tags: ,

Category: WOSU General