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Richard "Dick" L. Doutt

1916 - 2011, Santa Barbara

December 6, 1916 - June 13, 2011

Dr. Richard L. Doutt, 94, Entomologist, Attorney and Professor Emeritus University of California at Berkeley, was born in La Verne, California on December 6, 1916. In 1942, he married Lucinda Killian. They had two sons—Richard (Rick) and Jeffrey. Dick died peacefully at the Casa Rhoda Assisted Care home in Goleta, California on June 13, 2011 after a twelve-year battle with Parkinson’s.

During World War 11, Dick served five years as a Naval aviator with the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was engaged in the Battle of Midway, the Guadalcanal Invasion and anti-submarine patrols in the North Atlantic. In the early dawn of June 3, 1942, while on a reconnaissance patrol in the Pacific, navigator Doutt and his PBY crew sighted the Japanese fleet (troop carriers, battleships, cruisers, etc.) on their way to invade Midway. The battle raged from June 4 – 6, with the U.S. Navy defeating the Japanese and ending Japan’s dominant Naval power over the U.S., a defeat from which they never recovered and certainly made this a major turning point in the war.

After the war, he joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as an entomologist, serving for many years as Chair of the division of Biological Control and then as Acting Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences—now the College of Natural Resources. He earned a law degree from the San Francisco Law School in 1959 and practiced law for seven years with the firm of Foley, Saler and Doutt in Berkeley, California.

In 1967, Dick and his wife Lucinda developed two retail stores (The Nature Store) in the San Francisco Bay Area (Mill Valley and Berkeley). These very successful businesses were incorporated and sold upon his retirement and later became the famous, nation-wide Nature Company, founded in 1972 by Priscilla and Tom Wrubel. After his university retirement in 1974, Dick moved to Santa Barbara and practiced Environmental Law with the nation-wide firm of Henningson, Durham and Richardson. Governor Brown appointed him (1980-1983) to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture (in Sacramento) to represent environmental issues. From 1981-1983, Dick served as Santa Barbara’s entomologist in the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s office.

In the late 1980s Dick founded BioQuest International, a specialty bulb, mail-order enterprise. As an authority on South African bulbs which he studied in their native habitats, and later grew in his Montecito garden, he wrote the book “Cape bulbs,” which (at the time) was the definitive and enduring reference book on these flowers. Using rare African gene pools in a plant breeding program, he produced striking hybrid cultivars.

In recognition of his research and entomological publications (over 200) he was made a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and is listed in Who’s Who in America. As a Research Associate in Entomology, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, he was a major contributor to their insect collection and was instrumental in securing a grant that underwrote the Curator’s position and the establishment of their Entomology Department. Dick was one of the early docents at Lotus Land, a volunteer with the Whale Watchers’ Program and a member of the Santa Barbara Grand Jury.

After his wife’s death, Dick married actress Betty Mann in 1979. They enjoyed sailing his 32-foot Islander sloop “Wind Bird” to the Channel Islands, and hiking the island trails. They rafted down the Grand Canyon, cruised the San Juan Islands in a chartered boat and visited South Africa to gather seeds and research South African bulbous plants.

Dick is preceded in death by his parents, first wife Lucinda, son Jeffrey, brother Charles and sister Jane. He is survived by Betty Mann, his wife of 32 years, his son Richard (Rick) and four grandchildren: Jason; Amy Carolus (Adam); Joseph (Gina); Jonathan (Cassie) and four great grandchildren; sister-in-law Nellie (Charles) Doutt; nephew Ron(Barbara) Doutt; nieces Christine (Jerry) Bullard; Joanna (Gary) Keller and Nancy (Doug) Mirich. In a private, family ceremony, Dick’s ashes will be scattered in the kelp beds off the Carpinteria coastline. At his request, no other services or memorials are planned. A memorial contribution in Dick’s name, in care of the Entomology Department, may be made to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta Del Sol Rd., Santa Barbara, 93105. To leave online condolences, please visit catchick@silcom.com.

The family is deeply indebted to the dedicated, loving staff during his three-year stay at Casa Rhoda, and especially his constant caregiver—Merlinda Treyes—who made his final years and days a bit more joyful.

The family also wishes to thank the caring, competent staff from the Santa Barbara Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Agency.

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