Our Georgia History

John Ripley Forbes
August 26, 2006 John Ripley Forbes, a lifelong nature lover who founded, designed and supported hundreds of nature facilities nationwide, died at the age of 93.
  John Ripley Forbes

John Ripley Forbes

Georgia had something John Ripley Forbes wanted and her name was Margaret Sanders. They met in Atlanta in 1946 while Forbes was working on the original Fernbank Museum, specifically designed for school kids. They married in 1951 and 20 years later Peggy convinced him to return to her beloved home. They relocated to Dunwoody in 1971.

Early in his life he studied with William Temple Hornaday, founder of the National Zoo and the Bronx Zoo. Only Teddy Roosevelt was a more well-known naturalist. It was Teddy's niece, Eleanor Roosevelt, who introduced Forbes to Atlanta and a world-wide audience with a piece in her syndicated "My Day" newpaper column. Because of this column he was asked to work on Fernbank, where he met Peggy Sanders, a Camp Fire Girls director.

Over the years, Forbes' work has become noted and loved throughout the state. In Georgia, he worked on the Chattahoochee Nature Center, Sandy Creek Park, Reynolds Nature Preserve and the John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve. Forbes considered teaching young people about nature an essential aspect of his life-long crusade.

John Ripley Forbes died of a heart attack at Emory Dunwoody Medical Center, just one day after his 93rd birthday. His body was cremated.

Big Trees Forest Preserve

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