Tony Amos, a well known conservationist and sea life expert on Padre Island, died Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Now many are asking who can or will replace him?
Most of the animals that were at the Amos Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas were taken to the Texas Sealife Center to be cared for; but now they are not only worried about the animals, but who will fill Amos' shoes?
When it came to injured turtles or perhaps a pelican in need of help, Amos was always there. He was an oceanographer by trade but an animal lover at heart. He put his knowledge and love for animals to work in the form of the ARK in Port Aransas.
It was originally known as the Animal Rehabilitation Keep, but was recently changed to Amos Rehabilitation Keep in honor of Amos.
Amos' passing did not come as a shock to those who knew him because he talked about his prognosis and wanted to make sure that his work and the ARK would continue on without him.
"He and his wife and my husband and I were out together talking about what our future was going to be, and he said very clearly -- I can hear it like it was yesterday -- he said the ARK must go on, and then he turned to my husband and I and said Friends of the ARK must go on, and that is the way it's going to be,'" said Lee Harrison, Executive Director of Friends of the ARK. "And we said, 'Yes sir,' and so that's the way it's going to be."
Alicia Walker was named by Amos to take over for him. She has been learning at his side for years and knows she has huge shoes to fill.
"He said that he was proud of me and proud of his decision to choose me, and he passed over some other great candidates and he chose me," Walker said. "And I just remember feeling so overwhelmed with emotion hearing that from this person that I've always looked up to and has been a mentor to me."
Walker and others plan on honoring their friend the best way they know how -- by continuing his work of saving marine animals and keeping the ARK going. The facility was left in shambles by Hurricane Harvey, but the plans are to build it even bigger and better than it was before.
That is something that Amos would want to see happen.