I was saddened to hear the news that a long time supporter and cheetah friend, John Roderick Wilson passed away on April 24, 2017, two days after his 87th birthday. John was not only a member of our USA Board of Trustees with years of dedication to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, he was a dear, dear friend and has been with CCF from the beginning. John was one of the first people to step forward to participate in our yearly matching campaign, The Chewbaaka Challenge. For over 20 years, John along with other Chewbaaka Challengers put forward generous campaign matching funds and encouraged others to do the same. This fundraising campaign has been incredibly successful thanks in large part to John’s support. John was committed to sustaining CCF’s mission long into the future and was a leading member of CCF’s Chewbaaka Society, our legacy giving program.
John brought his family and friends to visit CCF’s centre in Namibia several times. I enjoyed their visits immensely and I could see the pride he had in what his contributions had helped to make possible. One of John’s last wishes was to bring a donation of golf carts from The Golf Club of Georgia to CCF’s Research and Education Centre. The carts will be used for transportation around the centre and will be very useful in increasing mobility and access for our guests and researchers. We are honored to accept this gift on behalf of John; he will be riding with us in spirit everyday across our campus.
During his time with CCF, he enlisted a great number of people who joined in his love and passion for Namibia and CCF. He had a special connection to cheetahs and an enormous interest in conservation. In his most recent effort to bring CCF’s message to others he formed CCF’s Atlanta chapter in Georgia, with help from his daughter Julianna Wilson. His consistent commitment to, and belief in CCF’s work was a kindness that will never be forgotten.
John, thank you for all the wonderful memories and for sharing your stories with me. You brought so much to CCF. In honor of John Roderick Wilson – your memory will be a legacy here at The Cheetah Conservation Fund. God speed.