Colbert Ellis (Bert) Cushing Jr.

Colbert Ellis (Bert) Cushing Jr. was born January 9, 1931 in Fort Collins, CO to Colbert E. and Mabel M. Cushing, brother Donald followed. Both parents and his brother preceded him in death. He passed away September 9, 2019 in Loveland, CO. He married his wife Jacqueline in 1959 in Long Branch, NJ, and is survived by her; three children, Robert of Olympia, WA, Thomas (Tiffany) of Boise, ID, and Laurie of Seattle, WA, seven grandchildren and three step-grandchildren, and Peggy, wife of Donald of Highlands Ranch, CO.

Colbert was raised in Englewood, CO and attended public schools there, graduating from Englewood High School in 1948. He attended Colorado A&M College (now Colorado State University) from 1948-52, receiving a B. Sc. degree in Fisheries Management. He served in the U. S. Army from 1952-54 as a 1st Lt. in the Artillery, spending most of his time in Japan playing for the US Army Basketball team. Following his discharge, he returned to CSU, receiving a M. Sc in Zoology in 1956. After two years of employment with the Montana Fish & Game Department, he returned to school and received his Ph. D in Biology (Limnology) in 1961 from the University of Saskatchewan. He was elected to several honorary societies, including Beta Beta Beta, Si Sigma Pi, Sigma Xi, and Scabbard & Blade. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha social fraternity.

He began his professional career when he and his wife moved to Richland, WA in 1961 where he spent the next 35 years studying various aspects of stream ecology while employed as a Senior Research Scientist by Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Early work emphasized the relationship of Columbia River organisms and radioactive elements introduced into the river by the nuclear reactors. After the reactors were closed, his interests broadened to include more theoretical studies on streams throughout North America with professional colleagues from various universities and laboratories. He received the John Martin Award for scientific findings whose significance continues after 10 years of publication.

He was an active member of several professional societies and held office in several of them, most notably as President of the North American Benthological Society in 1994-95. He held adjunct and affiliate faculty appointments at Washington State University and Colorado State University, respectively. He edited three professional journals and seven books, wrote five books, and published over 100 scientific papers. Following retirement, he continued to lecture, teach, and write books and articles for lay audiences, emphasizing the beauty and importance of streams and rivers, how they worked, and why they need preservation.

Colbert had several outside interests. He was an avid fly fisherman, starting when his Dad first put a fly rod in his hands when he was about 10 years old, and enjoyed hunting. He read widely on western history and collected Western and American Indian art. While living in Richland, WA, he coached youth baseball and basketball, including Special Olympics Basketball, was active in organizing youth athletic leagues, and officiated in age-group swimming events while his kids participated. After retiring to Estes Park, he taught classes in aquatic biology through the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, monitored fishing at Lily Lake and for 10 years delivered Meals on Wheels. He never quit following the Nuggets and Broncos, even when his children chided him for not supporting the home-state Seattle teams. He always responded. “It’s not where you live, but where your roots are.”

Services will be held at the Estes Park Allnutt Funeral Chapel, 1302 Graves Ave. Estes Park, CO at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14th.

Please visit to leave a message for the family.

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