Virginia Ann Moyle Pezalla, Ph.D., 66, a longtime resident of Oak Park, died on Nov. 6, 2012. Born in Excelsior, Minn., on Oct. 6, 1946 to John and Evelyn Moyle, she was a graduate of Minnetonka High School and received her doctorate in Zoology in 1977.

A dedicated educator, she taught science to high school and college students from a wide range of backgrounds. She retired from the Sciences and Humanities Department at Robert Morris University in 2012, after teaching there for 18 years. During her academic career, she authored a seminal paper on the thermoregulatory behavior of dragonflies, as well as a textbook, Animal Behavior: Conflict, Cooperation, and Communication.

In her 40 years of teaching, she had an immeasurable impact on students’ lives by inspiring in them a curiosity and concern for the natural world. Her love for biology was inseparable from her lifelong passion for the natural world. She was an avid gardener, particularly of native plants, and her home’s garden was certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat site.

She traveled on Earthwatch expeditions to study whales in the Puget Sound and manatees in Costa Rica, and volunteered as a weekly butterfly monitor at Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester.

She was also an artist and drew inspiration from animals, plants, folk tales, and mythology. She created wood block prints, embroideries, and stained glass windows. She also enjoyed capturing close-up photographs of insects and birds on her many nature hikes.

Virginia Pezalla is survived by her husband, Paul; her children, Jessica, Anne and Katherine; her grandchildren, Piper and Bennett; and her siblings, Susan (Don) Studlar, Peter (Marilyn) Moyle, and Joseph (Emily) Moyle.

A memorial service was held on Nov. 10 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. Additional information is available at 708-383-3191.

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