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November 23, 1922 December 19, 2018
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Edwina Anne (Button) Speers passed away on December 19, 2018, in Conroe, Texas, at the age of 96. Anne was born on November 23, 1922, in Great Bend, Kansas, the third child of Dr. Edwin C. Button and Edna (Lewis) Button.

Anne was a self-taught naturalist who, although never having received a “formal” education beyond high-school, obtained an enviable reputation of her knowledge of the natural sciences among those with advanced degrees in that field. She was chosen by the first Director of the Welder Wildlife Foundation at Sinton, Texas, Dr. Clarence Cottam (former assistant director of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service), to conduct tours of the Foundation’s wildlife refuge and conduct seminars in basic ecology to primary and secondary education teachers at the facilities there. Anne developed a great knowledge of mollusks of the Texas Coastal Bend, discovering new species of the area which were named after her by the scientific community; she was granted unlimited access, not only to the Foundation’s facilities, but to the facilities in the upper “non-public laboratory” floors of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. While in Sinton, Anne became very active and instrumental in the establishment of the Padre Island National Seashore, meeting, on more than one occasion, with the Texas delegation to the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. After moving to Conroe, Dr. Thomas Pulley, director of the Houston Museum of Natural Science invited her to head the museum’s information center and work on the museum’s seashell collection. Anne became national chairwoman of the American Malacological Society and her invaluable personal seashell collection became a part of the permanent collection of the Houston museum. She was also very knowledgeable on the subjects of flowering plants, mushrooms, butterflies, snakes, mammals and birds (she had a “lifetime birding list” of over 600 species).

Among those who knew Anne will also attest to her talent as a great cook; earlier in her life, while living in Midland, Texas, she obtained a “Senior Winner” prize for a cookie recipe at the 1952 Pillsbury 4th Grand National baking contest in New York City. Throughout her life she delighted in the practice of the culinary arts, never being satisfied with just following recipes but continually improving on them as well as developing those of her own. As an example, while working at the Houston Museum, she baked large and extremely “fancy decorated” cookies which were sold by the Museum as a fund raiser; they were so artistically decorated that folks that bought them didn’t want to destroy the art-work by eating them.

Anne B. Speers was predeceased by her husband, Fred H. Speers, and is survived by her children, Michael G. Speers and Susan D. Speers and two grandchildren.

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