Mote's long-time 'Bone Lady' passes away

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Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 5:42 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- It's the end of an era at Mote Marine Laboratory. Ruth DeLynn, the long-serving volunteer who cataloged the bones that Mote collected has died.

They called her the ‘Bone Lady.’

"I’m saddened; you get used to being able to pick up the phone and call her and ask her, ‘Hey, I see this odd thing in a bone, what do you think?’," says Mote’s Gretchen Lovewell.

For over 30 years, she made it her task to collect and catalog the bones that Mote Marine gathered for research. It is said that she spent countless hours going over finite details. “Extremely meticulous to the point that we have skeletons from 1995 that were just recently published in a scientific paper," says Lovewell.

We spoke to DeLynn in 2007, and she demonstrated her attention to the smallest feature of every bone. "Every bone, almost every rib in her body was broken, and it's more than just one episode; I can tell by the degree of healing that it wasn't all one," she said of one skeleton sample.

Her dedication and the example she set continues to be felt at Mote Marine.

"I would say that she had a tremendous impact on not just me but on my family," says Mote’s Tom Waters.

"I carry a lot of life lessons from Ruth as well, not just in my work life, but also my personal life. She was an amazingly strong and intelligent woman. I can't think of enough good things to say about her," says Lovewell.

For over thirty years, Ruth DeLynn created a wonderful collection of bones, and the staff at Mote Marine say that they are dedicated to continuing on her legacy.

Ruth DeLynn
Ruth DeLynn

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