Lawrence Stephen Semo
Lawrence Stephen Semo
  • January 11, 1967 - August 20, 2011
  • Westminster, Colorado

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Lawrence Semo, age 44, of Denver, CO, passed away August 20, 2011 after a six month battle with Sarcomatoid Renal Cell Carcinoma at his parent's home in Wascott, WI.

Lawrence Stephen Semo was born January 11, 1967 in Portage, WI the son of John and Elizabeth (Szepe) Semo. Larry's intense interest in birds started early in his life, and by the age of 7, Larry was birding in the boreal forests of northwestern Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Superior. The wild country surrounding Larry whetted his love for nature and his desire to study how ecosystems function.

After receiving a degree in wildlife biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Larry worked as a bird bander at Hawk Ridge in Duluth, MN for a number of years and then for the Department of Natural Resources in northern Wisconsin. In 1993 Larry was invited to join the environmental consulting company SWCA and work on the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Blackcapped Vireo in Texas. In 1999 he moved to the Denver, CO area to establish a new SWCA regional office to serve the Rocky Mountains, where he was the senior ornithologist/ecologist with responsibility for overseeing SWCA's scientific reports and products to maintain quality science, directing SWCA's Rocky Mountain region staff, and conducting business development.

The name Larry Semo became familiar to birders across the country, especially those in Colorado where Larry was a leader in the birding community for a decade. Larry conducted numerous nesting and migration studies on a wide variety of species as well as distributional and population studies on a multitude of North American birds. He was a peer reviewer of scientific articles submitted to various ornithological journals and authored numerous ornithological articles and papers as well.

Larry was the chair of the Colorado Field Ornithologists' Colorado Bird Records Committee. He was an editor for the American Birding Association; the Colorado regional editor for the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society's "eBird" program; and was an avian distribution and identification consultant for the "Peterson Field Guide to Birds," the "National Geographic Society's Guide to Birds" and the "Sibley Guide to Birds." Larry also was the Colorado/Wyoming regional co¬editor for "North American Birds" and an identification instructor for the Master Birding Program of the Audubon Society. Larry served the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory as a volunteer avian surveyor and was on the board of directors.

Larry traveled the world to see and photograph birds and other wildlife and was also very interested in dragonfly identification and photography. He was a huge sports fan and loved watching the Packers and Brewers. Larry frequently visited the Wascott, WI area to visit his family, hunt, fish and bird. He had a large circle of dedicated friends and will be deeply missed by all.

Larry is survived by his loving family; mother and father, Elizabeth and John Semo of Wascott, WI, his brother and sister in law, John ( Jacki) Semo of St. Michael, MN, nephew and niece Andrew and Sarah Semo of St. Michael, MN, numerous other relatives and his beloved dog, Belden.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 25, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Minong, WI. A time of gathering with the family will be held for one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in the Wascott Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to the Kidney Cancer Association, P.O. Box 3516 Oak Brook, IL 60522-3516 or online at