Glen Evans collected all manner of fossils, arrowheads, crystals and meteorites for the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas in the 1940s and '50s. He was also part of a circle of intellectuals including J. Frank Dobie, Roy Bedichek and Walter Prescott Webb who liked to spin yarns while consuming beverages stronger than water.|
Evans died July 14 at Buckner Villas in Austin after a hip injury. He was 99.
A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.
Ed Theriot, director of UT's Texas Natural Science Center , which includes the Memorial Museum, recalled a time that Evans, long after leaving UT's employ, visited his office. He was wearing an ascot and a confident air.
"Even in his 80s and 90s, he was an incredibly charismatic man. He just filled up a room with his personality. He had movie star presence," Theriot said. "In terms of his contributions to the museum, he was certainly seminal. His research and the items he catalogued span an incredible range, from paleontology to archaeology to geology, and this formed the core of a number of collections in those areas."
Born near Henrietta, about 100 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Evans spent his boyhood on the family farm, working livestock and fishing in the Little Wichita River. He began studying geology at UT in 1934, and although he never earned a degree, his quick mind and thirst for knowledge served him well when he took a job as a field geologist with UT's Bureau of Economic Geology.
He spent weeks at a time exploring Texas, often camping beneath the stars. He also served as assistant director and later as associate director of the Memorial Museum. His work for UT included the excavation of fossils of saber-toothed tigers at Friesenhahn Cave near San Antonio and the study of a meteor crater near Odessa.
He left UT in 1953 for a position in Midland with Louisiana Land and Exploration. He rose to director of the company's minerals division.
Dobie, the renowned folklorist and UT English professor, wrote in a 1956 column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Evans left UT's employ because the university didn't pay him enough to support a family of four.
"Considering the stores and powers of his mind, the way the elements are mixed in him, and his energy, I would regard him as being worth more to a university than any million-dollar building the university that let him go has acquired since he left," Dobie wrote.
Dorothy Newcomb , Evans' daughter, said her father often gathered in the evenings with Dobie, Bedichek and Webb at Dobie's ranches, including Paisano, west of Austin, which now serves as a UT retreat for writers.
Evans is also survived by another daughter, Carolyn Boyd; his wife, Darla; a sister, Mary Royer of Henrietta; and four grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the wildflower center, the Hospice at Buckner Villas, the Nature Conservancy, the Save Our Springs Alliance or a favorite charity.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on July 29, 2010