The death of Almargem’s founder, Professor João Santos, has saddened deeply those who worked with him at the Algarve’s pre-eminent environmental association but the echo of his legacy is a healthy and well organised voice in stalwart defence of the region.
Born in Gouveia, in Guarda, João Santos studied as a biologist and moved to the Algarve in 1979, where he lived in Loulé, working as a secondary school teacher. João Santos founded Almargem, with others, in 1988 and served on the association's various bodies including as President of the Board at which point he became the very public face of Almargems’s many environmental struggles over the three decades of its existence.
Friends described Santos as pragmatic, intelligent, resilient and with a sharply witty sense of humour, João Santos was a remarkable, coherent and uncompromising defender of the Algarve’s environment, a selfless struggle that often involved personal and family sacrifice.
Prof. João Santos will remain forever linked to the history of the Association, both for the tireless way in which he fought for a more sustainable development of the region, but also for many of the projects that he helped to create, including the hugely successful Via Algarviana pan-Algarve walking route. This project ensured that Almargem received regional, national and international recognition for the way the project promoted the environmental and cultural heritage of the region.
João Santos quietly left the association for health reasons. His last battle was against cancer which he lost on December 24th when he died at Faro Hospital.
Almargem commented, “the Association deeply regrets the irreparable loss for the county of Loulé and for the Algarve region with the premature death of Prof. João Santos. He will be remembered as one of the greatest defenders of environmental and cultural heritage, and is an example of human, scientific and pedagogical qualities that will remain etched in the memory of all those who have had the privilege and honour of knowing him as a defender of the Algarve’s environment, which he knew better than anyone, as a co-worker, as a teacher or 'simply' as a guide and companion on the unforgettable walks, which for decades her organised and guided throughout the Algarve.”
Almargem added that the legacy of Prof. João Santos is the Association which will continue his work in defending the heritage of the Algarve, a region that he loved so much,” and added heartfelt condolences, especially his wife and to their children.