Glen L. Evans Jan. 22, 1911 - July 14, 2010
Glen L. Evans, often referred to as the "Dean of Texas Paleontology" and "The Father of Geoarchaeology" died peacefully July 14, 2010, attended by his two daughters. His was barely short of making 100 years on this planet, but the imprint of his life here endures. Born in Clay County, Texas, on January 22nd, 1911, to Clifford and Deana Evans, he spent his boyhood on the family farm working fields and livestock while making as many forays as possible to the banks of the Little Wichita River, fishing pole in hand. His inborn gifts of abundant curiosity, keen observation and memory for detail began to gather strength and fodder which would, for the rest of his life, pour out to others in oral stories of natural history holding audiences in rapt attention. In the years when his girls were young, this ability brought bedtime journeys into the lands of a grizzly bear named Sloppy Joe, Phantom Goat, Curly and Rooty, Martha Lou and Smith Dog generating a love for natural history which remains strong to this day. Long before he learned the word "geology", Glen knew his life's studies would be about the earth. Every feature of the land was of interest as was every growing thing upon it, the activities of the sky, and creatures of all descriptions, especially wild ones. He read every book and magazine he found at home as well as everything loaned or gifted from folks who began recognizing, early on, that this boy was someone apart, avid for knowledge. The effects of the Great Depression delayed Glen's long held desire for a college education, but by saving carefully the meager proceeds from years of heavy labor; by 1934 he had rebuilt sufficient funds to depart Clay County for the University of Texas in Austin. There, on a food budget of 4 bits a day, he began to acquire a foundation of knowledge upon which he would continue to build as his native inquisitiveness ran ahead of his studies. Geology was both his passion and focus, but when Glen Evans focused on one thing, related points of interest were simultaneously absorbed. A fellow student in freshman English class, Anna Julia Adams, daughter of two teachers, already knew her English. Long years after their marriage, Glen's eyes twinkled when telling the story of Julia expunging his youthful colloquialisms, buffing out his rougher edges and turning him into a presentable package. In the early days of his professional career, Glen worked as a field geologist with the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT. This was the work which fueled his soul, for it entailed weeks in the field walking the land, reading earth signs, sleeping beneath the vast star-filled skies. Some of his richest stories came from months spent in the Big Bend area, often in the company of Texas Ranger, Ray Miller. Campfires with Ray were frequently attended by soft spoken men wearing huaraches, for Ray was well known on the border, trusted and respected. An amateur photographer with an artist's eye, Glen's nature photography captured much of the lands he saw throughout his lifetime. These pictures continue to bring his visions of beauty and interest to his family and friends. The Texas Memorial Museum houses, or did house in the past, great numbers of collections amassed from Glen's years in the field. Fossils, one of the most notable being that of a saber toothed tiger found in the Friesenhahn Cave, minerals and crystals, meteorites, some from the Odessa Meteor Crater where Glen was the geologist in charge of exploration of the crater, arrowheads and flint tools, artifacts such as pottery, musket balls, gunflints and such, some from the site at Fort St. Louis, the Paul T. Seashore basket collection, a raven's nest made chiefly from barbed wire, and the list goes on. In 1953, Glen joined the geology staff at Louisiana Land and Exploration, an oil and minerals company based in New Orleans. That began a series of relocations which took him from Austin, to Midland, to Calgary, and back to Midland. Shortly after returning to Midland, Glen lost his Julia to cancer in 1971. As the new Director of the Minerals Division of LL&E, Glen relocated once again, this time to Denver, Colorado, where he retired some years later. Late in 1974, Glen married Darla Ward Kirkpatrick. His entire family found her to be a delight and were especially pleased by her ability to make him laugh. Early in 1975, Glen and Darla moved again, for what would be for Glen the final time, returning to Austin, Texas, where together they created a wonderful life. They were able to travel, read, visit with old friends and spoil their families when they came to visit. During these years Glen busied himself with compiling a small book of nature stories entitled Wildness at Risk, which Darla typed and retyped about a million times, and to which she added her charming artist's illustrations. Glen also contributed the introduction to Texas In Bloom with a foreword by Lady Bird Johnson, along with various other publications. Glen was preceded in death by his wife, Julia, his father and mother, two brothers, Chester and Carl and two sisters, Josephine Staton and Mattie Moore. He is survived by wife Darla, daughters Carolyn Boyd and Dorothy Newcomb, sister Mary Royer of Henrietta, grandchildren Julia Fiello, David Boyd, Glen Larsen and Callie Hutto as well as a number of nieces and a nephew. More information about Glen's professional accomplishments can be accessed at www.utexas.edu/tmm/exhibits/glen_evans/. A memorial service for family, friends and colleagues is scheduled for the evening of Friday, August 6th at 7:00 PM at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, Texas 78739. Telephone 512-232-0100. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hospice at Buckner Villas, Austin, The Nature Conservancy, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Save Our Springs, or a charity of your choice. To share memories and view obituary please visit www.wcfish.com
Published by Austin American-Statesman on Jul. 25, 2010.