Owen Sound Field Naturalists: Obituary – Jean Maher – April 3, 2023

Naturalists throughout Bruce and Grey counties will be saddened to learn of the recent passing of Jean Maher, in her 90th year. She and her late husband Nels Maher were very active participants and award winners in the Saugeen Field Naturalists (now Saugeen Nature), the Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) and on its Plant Committee which produced several highly acclaimed Nature Books.  Only a month ago Jean joined the other remaining Plant Committee members for recognition and photos, at the launch of the Vascular Plant List Bruce & Grey 5th Edition.
It has been such a rewarding experience for me to have known Jean Maher even a little, through our mutual involvement in the Owen Sound Field Naturalists.  I will certainly miss her fun and engaging questions and stories at OSFN club meetings, and her enthusiasm for Nature too.  Jean was such a friendly and generous lady, often inviting the club members for field trips at her Family Farm/Nature Reserve, where the enjoyment of Nature, plus her hospitality and good food, always went hand in hand. My sincere condolences to all her family and friends.

Others have shared their memories of Jean Maher too:Nels Maher may have been the more recognized local nature expert but Jean was just as knowledgeable as indicated by their business card that they handed out.  “Outdoor Nature Guides – “Individual or group Adventures in Grey & BruceNels and Jean Maher.” After Nels’ death in 2005, Jean hand wrote on the business card above her name “Consultant” and “I can still tell people where to go ” typical Jean – tongue in cheek.

Jean and Nels were arguably the most knowledgeable outdoor guides in Bruce and Grey, both having grown up in the area, and shared their combined love and knowledge of Bruce and Grey’s special nature spots. Jean was especially proud of her family’s farm on the Saugeen River near Durham. The whole family worked together to foster this as a nature reserve. They loved to share it with OSFN members and the public.

Other than the huge respect for their knowledge of nature in Bruce & Grey, which the couple so willingly shared with us, we will always fondly remember their offerings of homemade elderberry wine.  After any outing you were offered a sample from the trunk of their car or after a tour of the Maher’s lush and shady Owen Sound backyard fern garden you were handed a glass of rich and robust elderberry wine. We’re happy to think that Jean and Nels are  now reunited, the two are out exploring a favorite haunt in Bruce and Grey.

 Audrey Armstrong & Willy Waterton

Please visit https://www.tannahill.com/  for obituary, visitation and funeral details for Jean Maher.