Geoff Mottram, known to thousands as the 'owl man' set up the sanctuary with his wife, Margaret, more than 30 years ago.
He died on Friday in Barnsley Hospice after losing his battle with cancer.
Geoff, of Manchester Road, Thurlstone, devoted his life to rescuing hundreds of different species of owls, giving them a new home in his back-garden aviary before releasing healthy ones back into the wild.
He promoted the sanctuary's work at Penistone Show, in town centres, schools, libraries across the region, becoming particularly recognised with his rescued barn owl, Dorothy.
Liz Walker, on behalf of the Penistone Show organising committee told the Chronicle, he was 'a true, gentle countryman'.