*In Memoriam, Samuel S. Ristich* From - Barbara Grunden Time - February 18th, 2008 @ 3:57 PM Samuel S. Ristich, age 92, died on Monday, February 11, 2008. He is missed by his wife of 63 years, Ruth, his five children, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, friends, students, and colleagues for his enthusiasm, professional accomplishments, and friendship. The day of his passing, Sam had engaged in his usual aerobic exercises, corresponded with colleagues, fed the birds and shoveled snow. As founder of the Maine Mycological Association (MMA), Sam was affectionately called the mushroom guru. Since 1976, the Northeast Mycological Federation (NEMF), consisting of members from eight states and Quebec, has named their annual foray in his honor. The Northern New England Poison Control Center relied on Sam for the identification of potentially deadly fungi and plants. Many nights his sleep was interrupted by police conveying samples from emergency room doctors to identify specimens ingested by young children or adults. In 2002, "Sam's Corner, the public journal of a mushroom guru," was published. The book contains fifteen years of articles published originally in "Mainely Mushroom", the newsletter of the Maine Mycological Association. It reveals the wonderment and drama Sam discovered in fungi. In 1983, Sam found a previously unknown species of mushroom in the family Amanita. It was named *Amanita ristichii* in honor of Sam. Sam was passionately interested in the "wonderment of nature". His indefatigable curiosity and zeal for sharing his excitement about the natural world made him a superb teacher. For 15 years, Sam taught classes at the New York Botanical Gardens. Sam organized a group of aspiring naturalists who met regularly since 1984. These members referred to themselves as "Sam's Disciples". As a member of both the Maine Audubon Society and the Josselyn Botanical Society, Sam contributed displays and lectures about all aspects of the natural world. The son of Serbian immigrants, Sam toiled in the steel mills of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, to put himself through Slippery Rock State Teacher's College. Sam earned a Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University. He worked as a research scientist at E.R. Squibb & Sons and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Yonkers and Ithaca, N.Y. While serving as an officer in the U.S. military in World War II, Sam was stationed in Bermuda. It was there that Sam discovered evidence leading to the rediscovery of a bird, the Cahow (Bermuda petrel), formerly believed extinct. With his wife Ruth, Sam was active in the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1975 with the NAACP and the Unitarian Social Action Committee. Continuing with his work as a peace activist, Sam also worked with the Veterans for Peace. Sam's volunteer work lasted throughout his life. The North Yarmouth Conservation Commission named a nature trail in Sam's honor. Sam had contributed innumerable hours to the North Yarmouth Conservation Commission and was continuing to work on the preservation of habitat in his community. A celebration of Sam's life will be held on Sunday, February 24, at 2:00 p.m., at the First Universalist Church, 97 Main Street, Yarmouth.