Memorials are a special way to honor the special bond that many of our members have shared with their Springers and with ESRA. Families often encourage gifts to ESRA in their loved one's memory. The family will be notified of each contribution as marked on the donation form.
Babbette Lea Alexander
December 2, 1945 – September 14, 2022
English Springer Rescue America has lost a beloved, longtime member of our organization, (Babbette) Lea Alexander of Burbank, California.
Lea was a dependable ESRA volunteer who checked local shelters, evaluated dogs taken into our program, helped screen potential adopters, took part in dog transports, and participated in whatever other outreach was needed to find the perfect Forever Home for each of our beautiful dogs.
She was also an enthusiastic participant in our local and regional ESRA events, helping with setups and teardowns, bringing delicious goodies to potlucks, and being an all-around helper and organizational pro. Lea was indispensable at the annual Santa Claus photo shoot at the local PetSmart, greeting the customers and keeping members of the crew on task, efficient, and happy.
Throughout the years, Lea held many leadership roles within the organization. She was the pioneer responsible for ESRA’s use of Zoom for its national board meetings. This was about a decade ago, before most people had ever heard of the platform. She was also a founding team member of the Social Media committee. Technology always interested her, and she saw its useful applications as well as potential problems. Lea was ESRA secretary for a time in 2016, and she led the initial effort to modernize ESRA’s bylaws.
Lea was, in all she did, a helper. In addition to her work with dogs, she was active in a horse rescue and rehabilitation organization. She was also a longtime practitioner and teacher of Reiki and other energy healing practices, a skilled animal communicator, and an ordained minister who officiated weddings and memorial services. Her work, and her entire life, touched so many animals and people in caring and positive ways.
Lea is survived by her sister, Beverly McElravy, several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews, along with many loving friends, students, and fellow ESRA volunteers.
Marie Devaney Conyers
February 9, 1951 – December 21, 2021
ESRA shares, with great sadness, the passing of a wonderful woman and friend, Marie Devaney Conyers of Magnolia, Texas.
Marie had been a long-time member of ESRA and one of its original volunteers. Sharing friendships with Jan Flagg, Judy Manley and others who were instrumental in the development of English Springer Rescue America, Inc., Marie volunteered much of her time and dedication to the Springer breed for close to 20 years, until she was afflicted with a terminal illness the last couple of years of her life.
Having fostered many English Springer Spaniels for ESRA and Australian Shephards for another rescue, Marie developed a passion for training dogs, and made it her mission to learn as much as possible about professional dog training. She studied the profession for many years and opened her own business, The Fundamental Dog, in 2007. Through the years, she had assisted hundreds of clients and friends with the knowledge she had gained as a trainer, and was always willing to share helpful tips and advice to better enhance the lives of the canines her associates came to love. Marie’s vision is still ever-present in the continuation of her business today.
We extend our deepest sympathy to her loving family, including husband J.C. Conyers, daughters Stephanie Morrison and V.C. Devaney, several siblings, and countless rescue friends and associates in the canine training community. Marie’s passing has left a huge hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved her, and we are honored to share this tribute to her life.
At the family’s request, donations in Marie’s memory may be made to English Springer Rescue America, Inc.
December 30, 1949 – November 28, 2020
ESRA is saddened to learn of the passing of a very special friend – Martin “Marty” Kvidera.
Martin was born on a farm in central Iowa. His love for animals came early on for him. His parents, Roy and Betty, raised purebred German shepherds, and through the years of raising and loving those puppies and then the adult dogs, Martin knew he would need the love and companionship of a dog in his life. Of course, college came first. He was a graduate with honors from the University of Northern Iowa, and he later received an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
While working for the state of Minnesota, Martin was able to purchase his first home. The next most important purchase was that of his best friend, an English Springer Spaniel puppy named Tucker. Martin loved everything about Tucker, and together they made their house a home. They enjoyed playtime, walks in the neighborhood, time at the dog park, and, of course, road trips to Iowa to see family and friends.
Martin and Tucker shared a very special bond and enjoyed many good years together, but when his friend passed away, Martin was devastated. After the sadness began to ease, he knew he needed another new “best friend,” so the search began for his next Springer. He loved the loyalty, friendliness, and unconditional love and devotion that this breed of dog gives. In the years that followed, Martin rescued two more English Springer Spaniels, Toby and Bo. His dogs were his family, and he loved each one with all his heart. Prior to his passing, Martin made his wishes known that he wanted to be buried with the cremains of Tucker, Toby, and Bo. A dear friend adopted his most recent companion, Beau.
Martin was very generous throughout his life, and he believed that all animals were deserving of a chance at a good life and a happy home. With his passing, he provided generous funds for three charities: The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota, Safe Hands Animal Rescue of Minneapolis, and English Springer Rescue America, Inc. (ESRA). ESRA is grateful for this very generous bequest to help with the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of Marty’s favorite breed, the English Springer Spaniel.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Martin’s family -- his mother Betty, his sister Paula (Bob) Goecke, his brother, Mike (Jan) Kvidera, his niece, Lynn Goecke, his nephew, Craig Goecke, and his uncle Lester (Vicky) Taylor.
William J. (Bill) Sterling
December 19, 1943 – October 24, 2021
The rescue community mourns the loss of a dear friend and rescue volunteer, Bill Sterling. Bill leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth (Gay) Sterling, daughter Tina, step-daughter Summer (and her husband, Brad), and granddaughter Everly along with Bill’s extended family.
Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, Bill served as a police officer there in the motorcycle division. He had met Gay in high school as a young teen, and they reconnected many years later. They were wed in 1988. Eventually, the couple set off on their adventure together out West, where they took up residence in San Jacinto, California, living there for almost 20 years.
Bill and Gay have been pillars of the rescue community in their Southern California home for over 16 years. They have fostered 136 dogs, including two sets of puppies (three in each litter) and eight sets of bonded pairs. Oh, how they loved fostering! They continued to do this vital work until just a few years ago, when Bill’s health started to decline. Through the years, Bill also conducted hundreds of adoption interviews, and he loved talking to the people who were interested in adopting his and Gay’s fosters. He wanted nothing but the best for each of these dogs, and he felt that by participating in the interview process, he would really get to know the applicants. He could then make the best match possible for “his” pups. Bill stayed in touch with many of his adopters over the years, checking to make sure that all was well with the dogs and their families. He was also an effective fundraiser for ESRA, bringing in many generous donations which helped to secure the welfare of generations of dogs.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Bill’s loving wife and his entire family. We also share our sincere gratitude for all that Bill and Gay have done to help ESRA and so many dogs in need. Without a doubt, they have not only touched the lives of their fosters but also the lives of all the families that they have selected along the way to provide loving, caring homes for all of these special Springers.