News: obituary

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Stan Weitzman passed away February 16, 2017

Date Posted: 16 Feb 2017 (Show details)

Stan Weitzman, Research Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, passed away 16 February 2017.

Thomas Paul Simon passed away unexpectedly July 16

Date Posted: 23 Jul 2016 (Show details)

Thomas Paul Simon, PhD, of Bloomington, passed away unexpectedly Saturday, July 16th, 2016 at the age of 57. 

Thomas loved fish and was an ichthyologist, and had over 35 years of experience working with complex environmental ecosystem issues evaluating anthropogenic impacts on aquatic assemblages. His experience included 25 years of government service, including field and project management of investigations for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thomas had over 25 years of teaching experience from a variety of college and university systems in Indiana, including Purdue University, Indiana State, Ivy Tech Bloomington, and Indiana University Bloomington, where he was Adjunct Professor at SPEA. He was also a professor at American Public University System, and formerly a lecturer at Stone Laboratory at Ohio State. Thomas authored 16 books and had over 370 professional publications.

Ted J. Case passed away 31 December 2015

Date Posted: 18 Apr 2016 (Show details)

Ted J. Case, professor emeritus and former chair of the UC San Diego Department of Biology, died of a sudden heart attack while trail running on December 31, 2015. He was 68.

Ted's research career spanned four decades and focused on evolutionary ecology, biogeography, conservation biology and community ecology. He was exceptional among biologists in being both an accomplished mathematical theoretician as well as an adept field empiricist. Recognition of this was indicated through his many awards, including a Career Achievement Award from the University of Redlands in 2000, and his election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

Smithsonian Curator of Fishes, Richard Vari, passed away during the weekend of 15 January 2016

Date Posted: 17 Jan 2016 (Show details)

Our dear colleague Richard Vari passed away this past weekend (sometime between late Friday and early Saturday 15-16 January 2016). Rich served the ASIH in several capacities - RIP.  Governor Brian Sidlauskas submitted the following:

Richard Vari, Curator of Fishes at the Smithsonian, passed away this weekend after a year-long battle with cancer.  Details on a memorial service have not yet been finalized but will be announced when available.  He will be sorely missed.

— Brian Sidlauskas and Carl Ferraris
1 February 2016:  Rick's obituary can be found at:

Charles Congden (Chuck) Carpenter passed away 10 January 2016

Date Posted: 13 Jan 2016 (Show details)

Charles Congden (Chuck) Carpenter died January 10, 2016. Chuck was born June 2, 1921, in Denison, Iowa, the third and youngest child of Harry Alonzo and Myrtle Barber Carpenter. He grew up in Marquette Michigan where he graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1943 and immediately entered the Army Medical Corps. After the war, Chuck attended graduate school at the University of Michigan where he received his MS (1947) and PhD (1951) in Zoology. It was at the University of Michigan Biological Station, on a blind date on a Saturday night, that Chuck met the love of his life, Mary Frances Pitynski. They married in the fall of 1947 and were married for 68 years.

Chuck was a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma from 1952 until his retirement in 1987. He was the Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Stovall Museum of Natural History (now the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History). He also taught summer courses at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station at Lake Texoma for 35 summers. Chuck was a wonderful mentor to his graduate students, to whom he was known as “Doc”. He trained 26 PhD, 22 MS and three MNS students.

Chuck firmly believed that students learn best in the field and led his students on “safaris” to Mexico and the southwester U.S. every spring.

Chuck was a world-renowned herpetologist and animal behaviorist. He and his students studied a broad array of taxa, but his passion and focus was reptile behavior. Notably, he pioneered the study of head-bobbing and pushup behavior as a form of communication in lizards. He published over 150 scientific papers. A highlight of his career was two expeditions to the Galapagos Islands in 1962 and 1964 to study the behavior of lava lizards, marine iguanas and land iguanas. He received many awards for his work including the first recipient of the W. Frank Blair Eminent Naturalist award from the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, the Oklahoma Academy of Science Scientist of the Year, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern Michigan University and the University of Oklahoma Regent’s Award for Superior Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity.

Chuck was a talented musician and artist. He could not read music, but played guitar, piano and accordion by ear, and played tuba in the Army band. He had a fine tenor voice and loved to sing barber shop quartets in college and later with several of his Zoology faculty colleagues. He sang his daughters to sleep every night when they were young, always ending with “Good Night Ladies” as he left the room. His children cherish his paintings of reptiles. He was an avid collector of stamps and coins. He was a natural athlete and an absolutely fearsome competitor on the volleyball court. He walked his beloved German Shepard five miles a day until well into his 80s.

His eldest daughter, Janet, preceded Chuck in death. His wife Mary, daughter Caryn and husband Joe Vaughn of Norman; son Geoffrey of Bosque Farms, New Mexico; grandson Andrew and wife Mona Vaughn of Norman; and granddaughters Katherine Vaughn of Norman and Emile Carpenter of Bosque Farms survive him. Donations may be made in Chuck’s honor to the Charles and Mary Carpenter Endowed Fund care of the University of Oklahoma Foundation. This fund will provide support for graduate students in the Department of Biology to conduct research in the areas of natural history, ecology, animal behavior and/or conservation. A memorial in Chuck’s honor will be held at a later date.

eastern box turtle
island glass lizard
two live individuals of Lepidogalaxias salamandroides