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Robert Douglas Scarth

May 20, 2022 | 10 comments

Robert Douglas Scarth, age 83, of La Crosse, passed away at his home on May 10, 2022. Robert (Bob) was born on February 14, 1939, in Mansfield, Ohio to Geoffrey and Nina (Dougherty) Scarth.

He graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Animal Husbandry, received a M.S. in Meat and Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and returned to Penn State University where he completed a Ph.D. in Animal Industry Statistics and Genetics. He met the love of his life, Linda Lee Loos, while attending the University of Wisconsin and they were married on April 17, 1962.

His career included teaching and research at the University of Georgia in Athens; Auburn University in Auburn; the University of New England Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit in Armidale, N.S.W. Australia and the University of Iowa Institute of Rural and Environmental Health in Iowa City. He also worked in the agricultural industry doing research for the American Polled Hereford Association and breed improvement for the American International Charolais Association.

Bob and his wife Linda shared an unwavering commitment to conservation of the natural world. They traveled and photographed nature across the U.S. and worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, South America, Africa, the Falkland Islands and the Galapagos Islands. In 2009, they published “Deep Nature: Photographs from Iowa,” which contains seventy-five of their photographs that celebrate some of the state’s smallest flora and fauna hidden in the wetlands, woodlands and prairies. Many of their photos are part of the collection that adorns the walls of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. They loved to share their photographs and adventures and gave many presentations on ecology and photography to groups around the Midwest. Bob loved sports, especially baseball, and continued to play on Adult League baseball teams while living in Australia as well as in Iowa. He loved comic strips and would share them with his students to break the tension during exams. He always viewed the world through a unique lens.

We will always remember his wonderful hugs, warm smile, giving heart and his devotion to his family. His beautiful photographs of flora and fauna will be an enduring tribute to his passion for the environment. We will think of him every time we find beauty and inspiration in the natural world.

He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Short; son in law, Daniel Short; grandchildren, Ethan (Mclaine) Short, Benjamin Short and Eliana Short; and great grandson Jax Hawkins Short.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Linda, his parents Geoffrey and Nina and his brother, Alfred.

A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.

Donations in his honor may be made to the Audubon Society, Sierra Club or Public Television.



  1. Scott & Heidi

    Our sincerest condolences. What a fascinating life he had and what an honor to be a grandfather and a great-grandfather.

  2. Thomas Scherer

    Robert, may you rest in peace. Thank you for your friendship and kind heart. The photography you and Linda gave all of us will be in my memory always. Your love of nature was an inspiration. You will be missed.

  3. Floyd Sandford

    This was a wonderful man. I feel fortunate that are life paths crossed. My condolences to all the members of his family and to all who knew and appreciated him.

  4. Larry Stone

    Bob and Linda were good friends, and friends of the natural world. Their photography inspired many! We will miss their dedication to the environment and to their art.

  5. Kala Rumalla

    What an incredible man with many life passions. He really knew how to embrace life and recognize it’s glories. He left his mark in this world through his attributes.

  6. Al Batt

    You are all nestled gently in my thoughts and prayers. May precious memories bring comfort. Rest in peace, Bob.

  7. Tom Lutz

    Bob was a fraternity brother of mine at Penn State. He was a bit of an enigma, however. He did not pledge Delta Theta Sigma (National Ag fraternity) until his senior year…so he submitted to those sophomoric hijinx as a senior…and a scholarly one, at that. We all learned from Bob during that semester…his intellect, his quiet smile and his physical condition. I have the highest respect for him as a person as a scholar. I am saddened to hear the news of his passing.

  8. Matt and Jenna Huether

    Bob and Linda were our next door neighbors for four years. When our first daughter was born they gave her a copy of their book “Deep Nature” and it is a treasure. After Linda passed away, Bob showed us his collection of prints that they had taken over the years. Their work was stunning. Bob told us such wonderful stories of his love for Linda and their adventures together. Our kids will always have fond memories of “Neighbor Bob.”

  9. Nancy Lackner

    On behalf of the Indian Creek Nature Center staff team, I write to share our sincerest condolences on Bob’s passing. It was a great pleasure whenever we had Bob and/or Linda amongst us, whether regaling us with tales of their latest trip, exhibiting their gorgeous nature photography for the community, or leading an enriching program for a fascinated group of Scarth fans. We are forever grateful to have crossed paths with Bob and Linda, who showed us all a unique way of viewing our natural world. Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your parents with us.

  10. Rebecca Kauten

    Bob and Linda were some of my earliest teachers about nature. Their patience and skill of their capturing the smallest of details in nature are a reminder to us all to look deeply into the world around us. God speed.


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