15 January 2011

Passing of Purple Martin Man - Dennis Devine

Dennis Devine, the preeminent purple martin man of the Omaha metro area, is dead. His passing on January, when he was a young 71, is a tragic event and the loss of an important ambassador for the martins, which have been his passion for decades.

Dennis was one of the three "martineers" at the midtown Omaha martin roost.

An article of his death, describes well, one of his major accomplishments.

"On April 20, 2007, Mayor Tom Hanafan read a proclamation naming Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa a Purple Martin Capital of Iowa, and in June of that same year, Nature Society News – known as the Voice of the purple martin – devoted its entire front page to Devine’s successful efforts. ... Back in 1992, Devine succeeded in making the city of Omaha Nebraska’s purple martin capital. " Council Bluffs Nonpareil

Justin G. Rink, provides these thoughts on the purple martin man.

"I first met Dennis Devine in 2008 shortly after the Midtown Martin Roost had been discovered at 44th and Farnam. He was a bright happy-go-lucky gentleman with a passion for the preservation and environmental well-being of Purple Martins in eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, and nationwide. He even went so far as to don the hue of his favorite swallows during his visits to the martin roost! Devine also was responsible for handing out informative literature to joyful visitors who came to witness the spectacle of the Midtown Martin Mecca, all the while telling stories about his favorite experiences with Johnny Cash.

"On Tuesday (1/10) it came as quite a shock to hear [of the death of Mr. Devine]. With his joyful demeanor, and mission to teach about these unique swallows, it appeared that Mr. Devine still had a lot to live for. Even at age 71, Mr. Devine was still very full of life. As long as Purple Martins are a part of the Missouri River Valley community, it seemed that he had a lot more information to give on his favorite birds.

"He was a great inspiration for people to put up residences for these unique swallows, and helped to make Council Bluffs and Omaha the Purple Martin capitals of Iowa and Nebraska respectively.

"He will be greatly missed by people and Purple Martins alike."

Dennis Devine - in his purple splendor - getting the attention of Justin Rink, at the martin roost on August 18, 2009. He was carrying the umbrella to avoid getting "martinized."

A fine tribute to Dennis Devine was also presented on a local television station, though the video does not seem to be available.