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Alfred E. 'AL' Decoteau (1929-2015)

It is with great sadness that SPBE announces to the membership that Dr. Al Decoteau passed away in the early morning hours of September 10, 2015.

Dr. Al was an amazing man that took time to educate so many without hesitation. He was an avicultural wonder in many ways, from keeping and breeding birds to leading national societies to promoting education in the field of bird keeping.

He was married to Helen Decoteau, who passed away many years ago after 32 years of marriage. They had three sons, Kevin, Jay and Daren and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Al attended North Dakota University and the College of Veterinary Sciences at Iowa State where he graduated in 1962. After graduating, Al spent a year as a veterinarian in Minnesota before joining the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Disease Eradication Division. He later moved on to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) where he served on the Mexican border and later became Chief Veterinarian for the North Central Region based in Columbus Ohio. He was promoted to APHIS Director of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands before being appointed Director of the New England Region in 1972.

Al started the New Hampshire Aviculture Society in the mid-70's and later the Birds of a Feather Society, also in New Hampshire.

Dr. Al was an accredited judge for the National Finch and Softbill Society (NFSS), the African Lovebird Society (ALBS), The National Cockatiel Society (NCS) and the Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors (SPBE).

Al's judging was always 'on point'. He spent as much time as required to be sure everyone enjoyed and understood the judging. He was always ready to answer any questions with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and in an engaging way that was his signature.

Dr. Al is not only known for his involvement in the societies listed above, he was also an accomplished author of several books, including the Handbook of Amazon Parrots, the Handbook of Cockatoos, the Handbook of Macaws, and the highly respected book Exhibiting Birds, among others as well as many Avicultural articles. He was the founder and longtime leader of SPBE and a Director of the original National Kaytee Great American Bird Show. In 2014, Al was awarded the AFA Gold Avy Award for his lifetime achievements. Many don't know, but along with being a successful bird breeder, Al was also a champion dog breeder, winning more than 10 championships with his English Bulldogs and Australian Terriers. Without question, Al had a wide variety of interests, including precious stones.

Upon request of his family, Facebook will keep his Facebook page online, but has renamed it "Remembering Al Decoteau". Dr. Al Decoteau will be missed by so many in the avicultural community throughout the world.

Respectfully Submitted: Pat Tucker & Janet Brubaker SPBE Co-Chairpersons of the Board