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William Harroun Behle Ph.D.

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William Harroun Behle, Ph.D. 1909 ~ 2009 William H. Behle, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of Utah, died on February 26, 2009 at Salt Lake City of causes incident to old age. He was born in Salt Lake City on May 13, 1909 to Dr. Augustus C. and Daisy H. Behle. Graduated from East High and attended the University of Utah, receiving the A.B. (1932) and the M.A. (1933). The Ph.D. was awarded him by the University of California (Berkeley) in 1937, where he was a Research Assistant in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (1933-37). He returned to the University of Utah in 1937 as a member of the staff of the Biology Department and for the next 25 years directed the general biology course and biology general education program, as well as teaching many different courses in zoology, one of which was ornithology which he taught for 35 years. Dr. Behle was Head of the Department of General Biology throughout its existence (1948-1954) and also served as premedical counselor (1943-1953). He was a Ranger-Naturalist at Grand Canyon National Park, summers of 1935, 1939, 1940 and1942. During World War II he taught courses for nurses and premedical students at the University in the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program. He was a Visiting Professor at Southern Illinois University, summers of 1959 and 1960. Dr. Behle retired from the University of Utah in 1977. Dr. Behle served terms as president of the University of Utah chapters of Phi Sigma, Sigma Xi and the American Association of University Professors. He was past president of the Utah Audubon Society, Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the Cooper Ornithological Society (National). He was a Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Dr. Behle was an Honorary Life Time Member of the Cooper Ornithological Society and Utah Museum of Natural History. He received the Distinguished Service Award in Biological Sciences of the Utah Academy of Science and the First Distinguished Natural History Award of the Utah Museum of Natural History where he served as Curator of Birds from its inception. His research specialty was the biogeography and systematics of the birds of western North America with particular reference to the birds of Utah. He conducted avifaunal surveys throughout the state for 40 years, being largely responsible for amassing a collection of about 23,000 specimens of birds at the University of Utah. His bibliography contains about 140 titles including several books. He had many professional affiliations nationwide. Locally he was a member of the Utah Audubon Society, Utah Ornithological Society, Tracy Aviary Commission, Lakefront Duck Club, Utah Chapter Sons of the American Revolution, and life member of the Utah Historical Society, reflecting his historical interests. He prepared biographies for many associates. Dr. Behle married Dorothy Davis of Salt Lake City on July 11, 1934. They had two sons: Howard W. Behle (Kerby Ann), San Rafael, California; and Raymond D. Behle (Susan), Salt Lake City. He is survived by his sons, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy, grandson, Michael and his two brothers, Charles F. Behle, M.D. and Calvin A. Behle, J.D. The family offers special thanks to Darlene and Ofilia from Danville Support Services and Alane and Tyler from Rocky Mountain Hospice for their kind and loving care. Graveside services will be at Mt. Calvary Cemetery at a future date followed by a celebration of his life. Funeral Directors, Neil O'Donnell and Sons.
Published in Deseret News from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1, 2009
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