Former Park Ranger and Desert Advocate Dies at 101

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Date: June 23, 2017
Contact: George Land, 760-367-5507

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Twentynine Palms, California –Susan Luckie Reilly passed away yesterday, on her birthday, at 101 years old. Ms. Reilly was born in 1916, the same year the park service was founded and worked at Joshua Tree National Monument as a seasonal ranger-naturalist in 1965. She has maintained a close relationship with the park over the last 50 years.

Ms. Reilly was the daughter of Dr. James B. Luckie, a Pasadena physician who recommended the healthy, dry, desert climate to WWI veterans suffering from the effects of mustard gas. The Luckie family spent time at the family home in Twentynine Palms when not in Pasadena. It was during these family visits that Susan developed a lifelong love and passion for the desert environment. A graduate of Stanford University, Ms. Reilly and others founded the Morongo Basin Conservation Association which successfully fought off an initiative by the utility company to run a massive power transmission corridor straight through the heart of the Morongo Basin.

Ms. Reilly received the Minerva Hoyt Award in 2004. She also received, Woman of Distinction Award given by Congressman Paul Cook in 2013 and has been a driving force for preservation and protection of the Southern California desert. Park superintendent David Smith said, “Susan was one of the very first women to become a ranger at Joshua Tree National Monument. She has inspired a generation of young women to become stewards of our public lands. Her final legacy will be the Reilly Research Center which will allow the park to make decisions based on science as we face global climate changes and other threats to the park.  She will be missed.”

Last updated: June 23, 2017

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