OBITUARY – Simon Tadeo Guerrero Suriñach (1946 – 2024)

Friends, colleagues, students, and everybody else knew him just as Simon. He was a unique and extraordinary scholar, born and raised in the Dominican Republic (DR). Since his childhood, he felt a strong attraction for both literature and science. This took him to acquire an exceptionally good domain of Spanish grammar and literature, and a good knowledge of French. While most people in his country would study English as a second language at the time he was in high school, he preferred to study French. He wanted to be able to read French authors in their original language. It was not until he became fluent in French that he decided to study English. His passion for birds and tropical fishes made him discuss with devotion topics on animal behavior and ethology with his students and the public. He was one of the first Dominican scientists to focus a great deal of his research on urban ecology. All these made Simon a magnificent writer, with the combination of all his abilities and knowledge to become an excellent professor and environmental educator, mostly through his regular writings in the DR national media.

Simon started noticeably young as a high school French, Literature, Philosophy and Psychology teacher (1966), which he did for 16 years. Then, he got a Psychology degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) in 1984, and an M.A. from Columbia University (development of cognitive processes) in 1989. It is remarkably interesting to note that being an active psychology professor, the continuing education courses, and workshop that he took, in the Dominican Republic and abroad, were in topics related to the study of birds and biodiversity conservation. For a long time, he lived in a house with a large backyard, completely covered by tropical fish tanks, and flying birdcages. Through firsthand experience, as well as through the courses taken, he became an excellent rehabilitator of wildlife, mostly birds.

Throughout his professional career, he was a professor at national universities, mostly UASD and Universidad Iberomericana (UNIBE). Worked in ethology research at the DR Museo Nacional de Historia Natural “Profesor Eugenio de Jesús Marcano” and functioned as advisor to national and international organizations. Besides his research articles, he started to write for Diario Libre (a DR national newspaper) in 2004, publishing over three hundred conservation and environmental education articles.

The parting of Simon is a great loss for the Dominican Republic since we will no longer count on his fervent efforts to help to maintain its biodiversity at safe levels. He was instrumental in the development of the relationships between Caribaea Initiative and the Dominican Republic, and more particularly UASD. Our organization shares the sadness of his family, colleagues, friends, and students.


Prof. José David Hernández Martich
Prof. Sixto Inchaustegui
Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic