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1 April 2012 In Memoriam: John Eleuthère Du Pont, 1938–2010

John Eleuthère du Pont, Life Member (1958) and Elective Member (1990) of the AOU, died on 9 December 2010 in Laurel Highlands State Prison near Somerset, Pennsylvania. He was born on 22 November 1938 in Philadelphia, the youngest of four children of William du Pont, Jr., and Jean Liseter Austin.

Du Pont served on the U.S. Olympic Committee and both sponsored and participated in the modern pentathlon (he once won the Australian Championship) and was a competitive wrestler of international stature. He chaired the International Swimming Hall of Fame and created the wrestling program at Villanova University.

Du Pont graduated from the University of Miami (1965) and earned his Ph.D. at Villanova (1973). The Delaware Natural History Museum (DNHM), which du Pont founded, opened to the public in 1972. It houses approximately 67,000 skins representing 4,000 bird species, 6,000 specimens in alcohol, and 36,000 clutches of eggs, as well as more than 1 million seashells. Du Pont co-authored Living Volutes: A Monograph of the Recent Volutidae of the World (1970) and wrote Philippine Birds (1971) and South Pacific Birds (1976), all of which were published in the DNHM Monograph Series. He was also a well-known philatelist.

In 1997, du Pont murdered David Schultz, a 1984 Olympic gold medal winner in freestyle wrestling. Schultz had been training at Foxcatcher National Training Center, which du Pont had built on his 800-acre property in Newton Square, Pennsylvania. Du Pont was found guilty but mentally ill and sentenced to 13 to 30 years. He died in prison, apparently of natural causes.

© 2012 by The American Ornithologists' Union. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website, intInfo.asp.
"In Memoriam: John Eleuthère Du Pont, 1938–2010," The Auk 129(2), 356, (1 April 2012).
Published: 1 April 2012
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