October 23, 1929 – June 9, 2021
Dr. Alan Chase Donaldson, a pillar of the community and devoted husband/father/grandfather, died peacefully at home on June 9, 2021. He was born in Northampton, Mass., on Oct. 23, 1929, to Ralph Wilfred and Lila Elizabeth Chase Donaldson. Alan attended preparatory school at Deerfield Academy, received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, his master’s degree from University of Massachusetts and his doctorate in geology from Penn State University. Alan joined West Virginia University faculty in 1957 as a geology professor. He served 24 years as chairman of the Geology & Geography Department at WVU from 1971 to 1995. Alan knew from a young age that he wanted to teach and credited his “geology genes” to previous generations of scientists.
He felt his long tenure was a privilege to pursue his passion.
In 1995, Alan was awarded the Distinguished West Virginia Award for outstanding achievement and meritorious service by Gov. Gaston Caperton. The Distinguished West Virginian Award, which honors a citizen’s service to West Virginia, is the highest award that can be presented to a citizen by the governor. That same year he was recipient of the I.C. White Memorial Award from the Eastern Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) for his outstanding contributions to the geologic knowledge of sedimentary rocks in the Appalachian Basin. He was recognized by the Eastern Section of AAPG as the 1989 Outstanding Educator, written by Dr. Robert Shumaker for being an excellent teacher at both the introductory and advanced teaching levels. After he partially retired in 1995, he continued to teach geology classes as professor emeritus for the next 10 years until 2005, as well as organized and taught seminars/courses for the energy and environmental industries, commonly with support from other geologists.
He supervised 14 Ph.D. and 70 M.S./M.A. graduates, and these bonding experiences rank with the highest highlights of his career. He published over 50 papers largely related to sedimentation and sedimentary rocks. His national reputation in research led to him being invited to the prestigious Geological Society of America’s Centenary Volumes on a Decade of North American Geology.
Alan impacted countless lives academically where he helped advance the careers of his students and faculty, many who went on to become successful in academia, government and industry. He inspired and transformed individuals from all over the world. A peopleoriented person, he was respected for his mentorship abilities, optimism, high energy and creative way he pushed the “multiple working hypotheses.” His leadership always brought out the best in people.
He met the love of his life, Ruth Ellen Rapp, at Penn State University during a getacquainted dance, shared a short engagement, married in 1957 at State College, Pa., then moved to Morgantown that same year. They shared the adventure of their lives together for the next 64 years, enjoying dancing, traveling, museums and performing arts concerts. A handwritten post-it from Alan to Ruth on their 43rd wedding anniversary remains on the mirror at their home with the words, “I now love more of you and less of me. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Always a natural athlete, Alan forged long-lasting friendships playing healthy competitive matches in tennis and other sports, and he cherished those relationships immensely.
He was led by his faith in everything he did, and as a member of the First Presbyterian Church, he served as Elder, Stephen Minister, and organizer of “Pancake Breakfast” for the homeless with enthusiasm and fervor. For a period, he was a lay preacher at the Sugar Grove and Canyon churches. He and his wife taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible Camp and adult education classes. He believed that teamwork with his wife or at the office produced “2 + 2 = 5.”
Alan enjoyed living in Morgantown as well as serving the local community and was an active member of the Morgantown Planning Commission, Morgantown Ward and Boundary Commission and neighborhood associations. He led an initiative with the Burrough’s Run Neighborhood Association to mitigate the flash flooding caused by the July 1996 storm. He identified the water issues and presented stormwater management solutions to the Morgantown community. Without his efforts, many homeowners would have had disastrous and continuous water damage.
September 17, 1950 – February 17, 2020
By Ione L. Taylor
AAPG Visiting Geoscientist Coordinator, Eastern Section
Dr. Frederick William Schroeder passed on Monday, February 17, 2020 in Tomball, Texas at the age of 69. He was born in Levittown, New York, graduated from Lehigh University, and received both his master’s and PhD in Marine Geology from Columbia University. Upon graduation, Fred and his wife Lois moved across the country to Houston where Fred then began a 32-year career with ExxonMobil. During his tenure at ExxonMobil, he made numerous contributions to petroleum exploration, especially in the areas of seismic stratigraphy and basin modeling. As one of the earliest researchers to use artificial intelligence, Fred played an integral role in developing a series of best practices that optimized seismic acquisition and interpretation specifications for 3D seismic surveys.
Fred’s passion for teaching and mentoring began at ExxonMobil, where he trained and mentored hundreds of geophysical interpreters, personally developing training material and short courses. Fred launched a major volunteer initiative through AAPG’s Visiting Geoscientist Program (VGP), designed to introduce graduate students to a geoscientist’s role in the petroleum industry. Even though he resided in the Gulf Coast Section of AAPG, through the VGP Fred visited multiple schools in Eastern Section, including University of Pittsburg, Penn State, Lehigh University, and University of Maryland. In collaboration with Eastern Section and AAPG Headquarters, Fred pioneered VGP’s entry into online delivery in 2018 through “virtual campus visits” by providing webinars that ultimately reached over 1,000 students.
As VGP Coordinator for Eastern Section, I will never forget Fred’s tireless dedication to sharing his expertise and enthusiasm for the petroleum industry. After an already long day of cross-country travel, followed by an extended presentation taking students through the entire evolution of an exploration play from prospect generation to post-well appraisal, he stayed on for hours as students lined up to speak with him. As his VGP host, I kept trying to intervene to provide him with a break, but he kindly stopped me and said it was very important to him to stay until the last student’s question had been answered. And he did – that’s the kind of person and professional he was. Fred’s contributions to Eastern Section are very much appreciated and will be remembered.
Fred was the recipient of the Jim Hartman Service to Students Award from APPG in 2019,
July 19, 1948 – December 7, 2019
By Tyler Clark
Jeff passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, December 7. He lost his battle to brain cancer at the age of 71. He was surrounded by family at the time of his passing.
Jeff was a licensed professional geologist in NC, SC, TN and TX with geology degrees from the University of Minnesota, Duluth (BA); The University of Texas at Austin (MA); and The University of Georgia, Athens (PhD). He was an AIPG Certified Professional Geologist, and Adjunct Associate Professor and member of the graduate faculty, North Carolina State University.
Before retirement, Jeff was a Senior Geologist for Energy and Mineral Resources with the North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS) and the lead scientist for the State’s Mesozoic basins’ natural gas study. Previously he worked at Arco Oil and Gas, and for various mineral exploration companies throughout the United States, and portions of Brazil and Canada.
Jeff was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration. Jeff was a member of the Carolina Geological Society for over 32 years.
Jeff was a dedicated scientist with over 220 publications on energy, mineral resources, geochemistry and geological hazards. He was also very conscientious regarding his posters having won the AAPG Eastern Section Best Poster Award four times (three in a row). As a result the AAPG Eastern Section recently named the Eastern Section Best Student Poster Award in his honor.
September 29, 1933 – April 10, 2020
By William Harrison
Dr. Paul A. Catacosinos passed away this year on April 10 at age 86. Paul was a significant contributor to our understanding of Michigan geology through his work during the 1970’s through 1990’s. Paul was a dynamic educator and researcher that impacted a generation of students and many of us who are interested in Michigan Geology.
Paul did his PhD work under Dr. James H. Fisher at Michigan State and completed his dissertation in 1972 on the Cambrian Stratigraphy of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Paul taught at Delta College for 26 years, inspiring students about geology. He also contributed his energy and enthusiasm to help the Michigan Basin Geological Society, serving as Newsletter Editor (1972-74), Vice President (1977-78) and President (1978-79).
Paul was honored by the Eastern Section of AAPG with the Distinguished Service Award (1989) and Honorary Membership (1991). He also served ESAAPG as an officer, Treasurer (1985). Secretary (1986) and President (1987).
His professional/technical contributions which we often still use today include:
“Cambrian Lithostratigraphy of the Michigan Basin”, 1973, AAPG Bulletin
“Origin and Stratigraphic Assessment of Pre-Mt. Simon Clastics (PreCambrian) of Michigan Basin”, 1981, AAPG Bulletin
Co-editor (with Paul Daniels) of the book “Early Sedimentary Evolution of the Michigan Basin”, 1991, GSA Special Paper 256 containing 11 peer reviewed papers on Michigan basin geology
“Stratigraphy of Middle Proterozoic to Middle Ordovician Formations of the Michigan Basin”, 1991 a paper in GSA Special Paper 256
Co-editor (with Ben van der Pluijm) of the book “Basement and Basins of Eastern North America”, 1996, GSA Special Paper 308 containing 14 peer reviewed papers
Lead author with 4 co-authors of “Stratigraphic Lexicon for Michigan” and Stratigraphic Nomenclature Chart for Michigan”, 2001, published by the Michigan Geological Survey and the Michigan Basin Geological Society.
August 30, 1925 – July 4, 2020
By Brandon Nuttall
Paul E. Potter, Ph.D., passed away on 4 July 2020. Dr. Potter had a distinguished industry and academic career during which he wrote and co-authored the books on sedimentology: Paleocurrents and Basin Analysis (1963), Sand and Sandstone (1972, 1987), and Mud and Mudstones (2005). As a member of AAPG, his contributions have been recognized with the Jules Braunstein Memorial Award (1990), Grover E. Murray Memorial Distinguished Educator Award (2002), and Sidney Powers Memorial Award. The Eastern Section of the AAPG recognized him with the Outstanding Educator (2000) and John T. Galey Memorial (2007) awards. He was the author or co-author of at least 16 papers and notes in the AAPG Bulletin. His publishing career wasn’t limited to AAPG; he has more than 200 citations in the GeoRef database. Additionally, Dr. Potter cooperated with many state geological surveys and other organizations to produce reports, maps, charts, and field trip guidebooks.
I met Dr. Potter when I attended the University of Cincinnati in the 1970s when the Department of Geology was in the oldest building on the main campus, the “Old Tech” building. I remember that in addition to his office, Dr. Potter had a separate room for his reprint library. If you were looking for him or a particular paper, he was most likely in that library with the paper. In his statistics class, I learned the importance of knowing what your data looked like and understanding the limitations of making inferences, was I justified using that F-test? Many were the times Dr. Potter would stop me in the halls, “Mr. Nuttall, I have this data set…” and I’d be off working on finding the mineralogical differences between fluvial sands on leading and trailing continental margins. He emphasized looking the part of a gentleman. Always a gentleman himself, he was rarely without a necktie.
Southern Illinois was often the destination for departmental field trips. Dr. Potter had a whistle and would enforce time on an outcrop; when that whistle blew, it was time to re-board our vehicles. Later, we would find that he had arranged with local church groups to prepare and serve home-cooked meals (usually in the church’s all-purpose room). On one occasion, while working on an outcrop of Ordovician carbonates, he enthusiastically exclaimed he had found two “fossil cow horns.” After my time at Cincinnati, Dr. Potter worked on many projects with surrounding state surveys. At the Kentucky Geological Survey, his visits always included a basket of apples. He was very good at arranging interesting transportation. We had a barge to ferry field trip participants around the Mississippian Fort Payne exposures on Lake Cumberland during a period of unusually low water. When a drought drastically lowered water levels along the Mississippi River, he arranged for a private plane flight to view the exposed point bars. I didn’t expect to be discussing investing when I visited his newly acquired condominium. And, I never did figure out when he discovered the best soda fountain in Bedford, Kentucky. He was both a mentor and a friend. I’m sure his many colleagues and students have fond memories. Paul will be missed.