An obituary of John L. Gregory...who very sadly passed away on 22nd March, 2021 aged 88 of 'Lepidoptera House', Bodelva, Par, Cornwall.
I have to report the very sad news of John's passing on Monday 22nd March, 2021. I knew John for almost 30 years & he attended many (or most) of the 100's of Butterfly & Moth fieldtrips that I have organised since 1993 for the butterfly & moth groups in Cornwall. His knowledge of Moths, especially Micro- moths, was vast & he knew more about the micro-moths than almost anyone else in Britain. He personally reared more than 2000 different species of butterflies & moths from many parts of the world over a period of almost 60 years recording in great detail much of the intricate & detailed life-cycles of the larvae. Some of his observations are unique & were painstakingly compiled into his life work “Lepidoptera Memoirs” by John L. Gregory. Paul Batty, who runs the ‘Entomological Livestock Group’ (ELG), has been publishing 1 illustrated species account from John every Entomological Livestock Group list for a number of years, giving the readers/members a brief insight into the brilliant & dedicated efforts John put into his lifetime's work in rearing as many Lepidoptera species as he could whilst recording in great detail the whole metamorphosis of each species. John was also an expert on Fungi which he learnt from a young age. John was an integral part of the recording world in Cornwall. From East to West, he was an integral part of field meetings; always recognizable with his long white beard, grey mac, and wellington boots, friendly, enthusiastic & highly knowledgeable and a thorough gentleman to all come young, come old, an amateur or an expert. On every meeting/ outing he attended, usually with his wife, Joyce, John would be trailing somewhere near the back of the walking party, extracting every bit of knowledge out of the undergrowth, looking for Micro-moths, leaf mines & especially caterpillars of all sorts. His support and leading of fungus and moth group outings was invaluable to both.
Apart from the natural world, he was an accomplished musician, and took great pleasure and fun with obscure words and playing with figures devising formulae to work out various mathematical exercises. For example he could tell you which day of the week any particular date fell on or when the Moon was full or new by studying the calendar years in advance!.
John ran the ‘Par Garden Centre Butterfly House’ on a voluntary basis during the 1990’s at Par in Cornwall & would greet & inform all who visited this free to enter attraction usually as part of their visit to the main garden centre. Sadly the butterfly house closed about 20 years ago. John did also have some input & gave advice to The Eden Project, which was very close to his home, when they briefly had live butterflies flying in the huge biomes as part of their world famous tourist attraction in 2013.
Sadly, since 2016 John had a heart condition; the first aspect to succumb was his moth trapping and his regular attendance of Butterfly & Moth field meetings in Cornwall but he continued to rear ‘pillars' from all over the world, resulting in a great collection of photos and notes on the life cycles of about 2000 species, gained at first hand.
He leaves an indelible mark on all of us privileged to have known him, myself included and we give our deepest condolences to his wife, Joyce, his 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren & 1 great grandchild.
Farewell & god bless you John.