One of the main driving forces behind The Wilds died last week.

One of the main driving forces behind The Wilds died last week.

Bob Teater, a former Ohio Department of Natural Resources director and Columbus City School Board member, died July 21 at age 86, information from ODNR Director James Zehringer said.

"During his administration, he advanced water resources and soil and water conservation and was instrumental in transferring Ohio's soil and water conservation program from (Ohio State University) Extension to ODNR," Zehringer said in a statement.

"Also during his tenure at ODNR, he oversaw the expansion of state parks including the opening of Mohican and Deer Creek State Park lodges," Zehringer said.

"Teater was also the driving force to create The Wilds, a 9,000-acre endangered species breeding sanctuary on reclaimed strip-mined land near Zanesville."

Teater led the ODNR from 1975 to 1983 and won a seat on the Columbus Board of Education in 1992. He served two full terms and resigned two years into his third term.

"Bob Teater was a wonderful human being and gentleman," said Jeff Cabot, executive director of Kids Vote Central Ohio.

Cabot was recommended to take over Teater's school board seat, but worked with Bob and his wife, Dorothy, before that.

Dorothy served terms as a Columbus city councilwoman and Franklin County commissioner.

"They supported each other and complemented each other that way," Cabot said. "Bob made the world a better place where ever he was and where ever he served."

During most of his career, Teater put in time on a farm outside Columbus.

"He was a farmer. He grew up on a farm," Cabot said. "He had a part-time venture in southwest Franklin County.

"He worked all day at ODNR and would go down and farm until the night. I always looked forward to the first crop of asparagus from his farm. He shared everything he had with everybody."

Teater also served in Korea and continued his military career in the Ohio National Guard.

He held the rank of Major General before retiring. Before working for ODNR, he was associate dean of Ohio State University's School of Agriculture.

The Teaters spent much of their life in Clintonville, but most recently lived on Dublin's southeast side.

"He had a consulting business for while, but completely retired some time ago," Cabot said.

"He was mostly just doting on his children and grandchildren and going to weddings of grandchildren and things like that."