Gordon A. Brong

Gordon A. Brong

Birth
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Death 9 Jul 2003 (aged 87)
Folsom, Sacramento County, California, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 104057714 · View Source
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Zookeeper of Folsom City Zoo. Not far beyond the entry point of the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary, there is a small sculpture of a man's head on the right side inscribed as follows:

FOLSOM CITY ZOO
FOUNDED BY
GORDON BRONG
1963

Children and their parents and other visitors may glance quickly at the sculpture, but are likely to be in a hurry to see the many animals ("lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my") that call the small zoo their home. And what a lovely array of animals and heart-warming stories are to be experienced there, thanks to efforts that began over 50 years ago by Mr. Brong. As the story is told, in 1959 Mr. Brong was hired by the city of Folsom to guard a 48 acre city park; in time he was designated the city's Superintendant of Parks. He and his wife moved their mobile home onto the city park site and not long after that a crippled deer was brought to them to care for. And then came another injured deer and not long after that the University of California at Davis Veterinary Department placed a badly burned, orphaned bear cub in Mr. Brong's care. The cub was named "Smokey" and became the genesis of the founding of the Folsom Zoo in 1963. Word spread about "Smokey" and the man who "never tired of ministering to his injured, orphaned, or outcast animal tenants at the zoo." In the midst of all the good will and donations being sent to the little zoo, federal authorities learned of "the other Smokey" and declared that there was legally only one "Smokey Bear" and that Folsom Zoo's "Smokey" needed to have a change of name. After all was said and done in the tempest about Folsom's little bear, Folsom's "Smokey" was allowed to keep his given name for the rest of his life (he died in 1984). Gordon Brong retired as the first zookeeper at Folsom Zoo in 1982. The zoo is now officially known as the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary and is celebrating its 50th year providing for animals that are not able to be released back into the wild. Gordon Brong passed away in 2003. What a lovely legacy this gentleman left behind. Next time you are at the zoo, be sure to take note of the little sculpture to the right shortly after you enter the zoo and say "Thanks, Mr. Brong for our zoo!"


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  • Created by: MockingbirdTales
  • Added: 23 Jan 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 104057714
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gordon A. Brong (18 Feb 1916–9 Jul 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 104057714, ; Maintained by MockingbirdTales (contributor 46817308) Unknown.