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Simon Coombes

The world of wildlife art has lost a great talent. Internationally known artist, Simon passed away on Sunday, December 12, 2004 near his home in Nakuru, Kenya in Africa after a tragic accident.

Born in England in 1940, Simon moved at age six to a farm in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. He attended the Duke of York School in Nairobi. He managed a 2,000 acre farm in Kenya; attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England; commanded Kenya’s parachute force; fought in a guerrilla war against Somalia; and was assigned to train Uganda’s 4th KAR, which included the now-infamous Idi Amin- all of this before he dedicated himself full-time to painting.

As an artist and adventurer, Simon had shades of Indiana Jones. He often said one of his life’s aims was “to gather no moss.” He was once lost in a blizzard while crossing the Altai Mountains in Mongolia, air-lifted into the jungles of Venezuela, and sketched Bengal tigers in India from a howdah atop a swaying elephant.

He achieved worldwide success and won many fine art awards -including the Society of Animal Artist’s Award of Excellence. He was chosen “Artist of the Year for the 1994 Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show. His paintings hang in private and museum collections around the globe.

Simon was not only a man of the arts, but an avid conservationist as well. He was appointed Kenya representative and Project Director for the Rhino Rescue Trust. He sat on the boards of several wildlife conservation organizations and raised, through his art, many thousands of dollars for their causes.

Gary Waterworth Owen remembers well many an evening spent at the Royal Geographical Society in London and in local cafes and pubs discussing art and conservation with Simon and having his ResponseABILITY goals supported and ecouraged by Simon.

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