Dee Ann Story

Dee Ann Story (1931-2010) Eminent Texas archeologist Dee Ann Suhm Story passed away on December 26, 2010 at her home in Wimberley, Texas after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was born to Emma and Eugene Suhm in Houston on December 12, 1931, and was preceded in death by her parents; her sister Beverly Morgan; and her husband Hal, whom she married in October of 1961. She is survived by four beloved nephews: Clayton Morgan, Tim Morgan, and Matt Morgan of Austin and Russell Morgan of Houston; her many friends from around the world; and her faithful dog, Callie. Raised in Houston, Dee Ann attended Texas Womens University in Denton and received two degrees in anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin; a Bachelor of Arts in 1953 and a Masters of Arts degree in 1956. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1963 where she was one of the first women to graduate from that program. Dr. Dee Ann Story organized and directed the archeological laboratory at the University of Utah and participated in archeological fieldwork documenting sites before the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. She was one of the earliest women to actually work in the field alongside her male colleagues. Her mentors at The University of Texas convinced Dr. Story to return to Texas, where she became Assistant Director for the Texas Archeological Salvage Project and taught in the Anthropology Department. From 1965 to 1987, she served as the first Director of the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory in addition to her teaching responsibilities as a professor. She co-authored the influential Handbook of Texas Archeology which established a typology for the artifacts of Texas' prehistory. Dr. Story became Professor Emeritus upon her retirement in 1987. Dr. Story's accomplished career in archaeology and teaching included publication of many articles and monographs on Texas archaeology, directing numerous major archaeological and research projects in Texas, and instructing and inspiring her many students. As a teacher and mentor, she made a profound impact on her students' lives. Today, they carry on her legacy at universities and research institutions across the country. Her main field of research focused on the ancestral Caddo culture of East Texas where she conducted fieldwork at Caddoan Mounds for many years. Her deep understanding of other cultures earned her honorary membership in the Caddo Tribe. Dr. Story took an active role in both national and regional professional societies, including the American Anthropological Association, Society for American Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, Plains Anthropological Society, Arkansas Archaeological Society, and Texas Archaeological Society. Her many awards are too numerous to list, but she was particularly proud of being awarded the Curtis D. Tunnell Lifetime Achievement Award,the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Archeological Society, and the Betty Lee Wright Award for Democratic Leadership from the Wimberley Democrats. Dee Ann retired from The University in 1987 and subsequently moved to Wimberley with Hal. Her work had just begun, however, as she became active in the community serving on numerous boards and acting as a trusted adviser to: theWimberley Institute of Cultures, the Hays County Historical Commission, the Wimberley Players, the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Wimberley Democrats (or Wim Dems). Her devotion to the Wimberley Institute of Cultures included serving as president of the Board and establishing a historical archive (now named in her honor). Dee Ann's annual birthday party, cleverly disguised as a Christmas party, became the social event of the year in Wimberley. She also continued her professional activities by serving on the boards of the Archeological Conservancy and the Shumla School and continuing to advise on archeological sites across the State. Dee Ann and Hal granted a conservation easement to the Archaeological Conservancy for a prehistoric site located on family land. She named the site, which of course she discovered, after her parents whom supported her in all her endeavors. A visit with Dee Ann in Wimberley always led to stories from her extensive travels that took her to every continent in the world. Accompanied by dear friends, she visited Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, China, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Central America, the Galapagos, India, Bhutan, most every National Park in the U.S., and reluctantly, Europe. Dee Ann's admiration for the work of the Archeological Conservancy gave her an excuse to embark on every one of their archeological tours, usually more than once. Her love and understanding of other cultures - and of wildlife - followed her in these travels. There were few places she travelled that would not reveal a new archeological site to her, and the professor would emerge as she taught her fellow travelers about the significance of her find. Antarctica and Africa were amongst her favorite places in the world, reflecting her admiration and fascination for geology and elephants. Dee Ann's love for her pets is legendary. Creature, a rescued blue jay that refused to rejoin the wild, protected her from friends and foes alike. Creature travelled extensively with Dee Ann and Hal, visiting most of the major national parks. Her dogs, Bridgett, Humphrey and Ginger, were constant companions, as were her loyal herd of deer and her amazing fish. Dee Ann considered dying a considerable inconvenience, as she had so much yet to accomplish. She will be missed by her family, many friends and her colleagues, but memories of her will last all our lifetimes. A memorial service is pending. Donations in her memory may be made to The Dee Ann Story Educational Fund (P.O. Box 2788, Wimberley, Texas 78676) or the Archeological Conservancy (5301 Central Ave. NE, Suite 902, Albuquerque, NM 87108). A scholarship in her honor, the Dr. Dee Ann Story East Texas Archeology Scholarship, was recently established at Stephen F. Austin State University (P.O. Box 6096-SFA Station, Nacogdoches, TX, 75962). Plans for a memorial service will be announced in the near future. Please sign the online guest registry at Thomason Funeral Home, Wimberley, TX (512) 847-2226.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on Dec. 29, 2010