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Texas A&M University Professor, Dr. Wayne M. Ahr, one of the world's leading certified petroleum geologists and an expert in the study of carbonate rocks, passed away at his home on November 3, 2011 -two years after being diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. Dr. Ahr was born on December 11, 1938 in San Antonio, Texas and grew up just 30 miles west inthe small town of LaCoste, a railroad town of approximately 400 people in Medina County which was settledin the late nineteenth century. The original colonists, including the Ahr family, were from Alsace. Wayne was very proud of his Alsatian heritage, and he even made a trip to the region between France and Germany to trace his ancestry to a village in the Black Forest along the Rhine. Wayne loved the Texas Hill Country and wrotehis doctoral dissertation on the geology of the area around Marble Falls. His work took him to remote locations all over the world - teaching, researching and consulting - and he lived and worked in many countries such as China, Belgium, England, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, Aruba and Saudi Arabia over the span of his career. He was an avid outdoorsman and particularly loved hunting and flyfishing. He was passionate about photography and enjoyed photographing Texas landscapes and wildflowers. He loved food and was an excellent cook. He had a natural talent for identifying spices and ingredients in dishes he tasted. After graduating from LaCoste High School in 1956, Wayne received his undergraduate degree in geology at Texas Western College (now the University of Texas-El Paso). He earned his Masters' Degree in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1965, and a Ph.D. in Geology from Rice University in 1967. He worked for Shell Oil in Houston for three years and then returned to Texas A&M as an Assistant Professor in 1970 where his career continued over the next 41 years until his retirement in May, 2011. He also received the Joint Appointment as Professor of Petroleum Engineering in 1998. He received many accolades over the span of his career recognizing his teaching, research and publications. He was honored to receive the title of"Mollie B. and Richard A. Williford Professor of Geology and Geophysics (1995-2002)". He was proud to receive the Outstanding Educator Award from the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies as well as the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching from the Texas A&M Former Student Association. He was a beloved teacher and the primary mentor for over 60 graduate students. One of his most notable accomplishments in his career was his appointment as a Fulbright Scholar. The Fulbright Scholarship program is the U.S. Government's flagship program of promoting international educational exchange. Through the Fulbright Scholarship, Dr. Ahr studied rocks throughout Europe from the University of Leicester in England in 1984. He was a Life Member of The Fulbright Association and served on committees of the Board of Directors of the Brazos Valley Chapter of the Fulbright Organization. "Wayne Ahr was a remarkable teacher and researcher," said Dr. Michael C. Pope, Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M. "Businesses and governments worldwide benefited from his teaching and research. His work continues through his colleagues, friends, as well as current and former students." Wayne was preceded in death by his parents Adolph W. ("Bud") and Mildred Ahr. He is survived by his daughter Kelly (Ahr) Biar and husband Scott,their children Andrew (19), Jeremy (17), Carina (10), Braden (8), and his daughter Mandy Ahr andher son Oliver Snyder (4), all of Houston, Texas. Viewing will be available at Tondre-Guinn Funeral Home in Castroville, Texas on Sunday November 13, 2011 from 4 pm to 8 pm. Family members will be present between 6 pm and 8 pm for visitation. Funeral services will be held at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in LaCoste, Texas on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 10:00 am. Interment will follow at Lytle Masonic Cemetery. An endowed fellowship has been established in his honor to provide support to graduate students and the Berg-Hughes Center at Texas A&M University. The family asks that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the Texas A&M Foundation. Please indicate "Wayne Ahr Fellowship" in the memo line. Contributions may be mailed to The Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840. A celebration of his life and his work will be held in the lobby of the Michael T. Halbouty College of Geosciences on December 7, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. Friends, former students and colleagues are welcome.
Published in Express-News on Nov. 11, 2011