Jean Beasley will retire this spring from sea turtle hospital in Surf City

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Jean Beasley (Photo: WWAY)

SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The founder and longtime executive director of The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City will retire this spring.

Jean Beasley, 85, has been in the “turtle business” for more than four decades.

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According to a post on the sea turtle hospital’s Facebook page, Beasley will spend much of each year with her family in Tennessee.

She created the rescue and rehabilitation center in memory of her late daughter, Karen, back in 1997.

Jean Beasley (Photo: WWAY)

They also announced who will take Beasley’s place. Kathy Zagzebski has been named as the new executive director.

Kathy Zagzebski (Photo: The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center)
“Kathy has over 26 years of experience working with stranded marine animals not only on our NC coast but also on the beaches of Georgia, California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, where she was the Executive Director and President of the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay,” the post reads. “This winter she had the monumental task of admitting, caring for, and relocating over 200 cold stun turtles, several of which are now receiving further treatment in our hospital.”
“I’m excited to join the fabulous team at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center,” Zagzebski wrote. “I feel honored to carry forward Karen Beasley’s dream and Jean Beasley’s wonderful legacy. It’s such a privilege to help sick and injured sea turtles recover so they can be released back to their ocean home!”