Robert Bean Jr. 1933 - 2016
Bob Bean was unique; he was the third generation of zoo professionals. His grandfather, Edward H. Bean was the first director of the Brookfield Zoo and his father Robert Bean Sr. was Brookfield Zoo’s second director. His father’s sister Mary Bean was married to George Speidel who would later become director of the Milwaukee Zoo. You might say that his passion for animals and their management was part of his family’s tradition.
Although he originally started his career at the Brookfield Zoo as an animal keeper he moved on to other positions. He learned how to manage from the ground up as curator at the Birmingham Zoo and director of Busch Gardens in Florida. He made his mark as the second director of the Louisville Zoo from 1974 to 1988.
In 1974 while driving through the swamps of southern Louisiana a large woodpecker flew in front of his car. Later when he described the bird to ornithologists the preliminary identification was the rare ivory-billed Woodpecker.
Dr. George Rabb 1930 – 2017
Dr. Rabb was a “reptile guy”; he was a herpetologist by formal training and had the distinction of being one of the first Ph.D.’s to work in an American zoo. Even after he retired as director of the Brookfield Zoo he continued to raise awareness regarding the global amphibian crisis.
He started at the zoo in 1956 and became director of the institution in 1976. Until his retirement as director in 2004, he was the guiding inspiration for leading the zoo into a commitment to international conservation and environmental awareness. As a leader in the field he held the position as chairman of the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN-World Conservation Union.
During his long career, he was recognized by the international zoo and conservation communities, which included the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Conference on Science Policy and the Environment.
A unique honor bestowed upon him was the naming of Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog.
Saul Kitchener 1938 - 2015
Saul started his zoo career in 1963 at the Oklahoma City Zoo as curator of primates. He later became General Curator, in 1966, at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. His experience even included a very short stint working at Al Oeming’s Game Farm in Canada. In 1968 he became General Curator at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and later was promoted to the position of Assistant Director.
Saul left Chicago in 1975 to become director of the San Francisco Zoo. During his time as director, he built the Primate Discovery Center, Penguin Island and Gorilla World. He was able to bring the Giant Pandas as well as the Golden Monkeys from China to the zoo.
Saul was a true zoo man. He loved the zoo profession. He was a mentor to many younger professionals.
When asked how he would like to be remembered Saul replied, “I suppose I’d like to be remembered as having told the truth. I told it like it is.”