By Raymond Slade, Jr.
Ernie Baker passed away in Austin, Texas on August 20, 2017. After graduating with a degree in geology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1956, he began his career with a 120-day job appointment with the Geologic Division of the USGS. His job was to map a newly discovered uranium deposit in South Texas. After that successful assignment, Ernie obtained a permanent position with the USGS in Texas. Ernie retired in 1992, and then was hired as a retired annuitant. When that position was abolished a few years later, he became a volunteer worker for the USGS. He loved his work and his many friends within the USGS.
Although Ernie shunned the limelight, he was surprised on July 28, 2006, with an office celebration of his 50 years of service to the USGS. Along with supplying geologic information and data to many co-workers, Ernie provided responses to the many data and information requests received by the Austin office. His work was always deliberate, thorough, and accurate. It is not an exaggeration to state that he knew more about Texas geology than anybody on the planet. He was a very kind and considerate to everyone and will be missed by all who knew him.
Memories of AGS's first president Peter T. Flawn
Academic, Educator, Austin Geological Society’s First President, and UT-Austin President (1979-1985, 1997)
By James W. Sansom, Jr., P.G.
In the early 1960s, I was just beginning my career as a geologist when I first met Dr. Flawn at the Bureau of Economic Geology which was then located on Little Campus. He was a strong and very good leader, outspoken, dedicated to his geological profession, and highly respected by his peers.
In 1965 the Austin Geological Society was initiated, and he became the first President of AGS. The first officers were Harold Holloway, Vice-President; Ernest T. Baker, Treasurer; and I was Secretary. Dr. Flawn was a pleasure to work with in getting our new geological society started. An article titled “Austin Geological Society: Early History and Recollections”, co-authored by Sansom and Baker, published in the Austin Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 4, 2008, tells the story of the first years of the society.
Dr. William L. Fisher shared the following memories of Dr. Flawn: “When I came to the Austin and the University of Texas 58 years ago, Peter Flawn and I had adjacent offices in Building J, on the Little Campus, as we have had in recent years in the Geological Sciences Building. But a lot happened in the intervening years. Peter Flawn was to go on to become director of the Bureau of Economic Geology and later to a distinguished career in higher education leadership at UT San Antonio and at UT Austin, culminating in the presidency of both universities. A very significant part of the standing of UT Austin is due directly to the leadership and vision of Peter Flawn. He was a good friend and my prime mentor through the years. I often sought his advice and counsel which was always insightful, wise and to the point. We have lost a truly outstanding leader and a great Texas geologist.”
Click here for the UT-Austin obituary.
Click here for the Austin American Statesman article.
Robert Lee Bluntzer
AGS member Robert Lee Bluntzer, age 83, passed away on December 2, 2016. AGS extends condolences to the Bluntzer family. More information can be found here.
In 2006 Bob wrote an AGS Bulletin paper about his work on the water well on the Texas State Capitol grounds. Click here to see the paper. In addition, Bob wrote some important reports on groundwater resources while at the Texas Water Development Board, including TWDB Report 339: Evaluation of Ground-Water Resources of the Paleozoic and Cretaceous Aquifers in the Hill Country of Central Texas.
Bob Bluntzer, P.G. was a member of the Austin Geological Society for many years and during that time was an officer and participated in society meetings and field trips. We have known each other since our days in Geology School at University of Texas at Austin and later worked for the Texas Water Development Board. Since our retirement from the State of Texas, we worked together as Consulting Geologist on several geologic projects in Central Texas. Bob gave me a copy of the Travel Guide of a West Texas Trip to Big Bend National Park and McDonald Observatory that he prepared in 2006 for the UT QUEST Organization that he and his wife, Jo, participated in for many years. His daughter, Alice Ley, and son, Peter Bluntzer, as well as, UT QUEST approved and encouraged making this Travel Guide available to those who wish to download it. Bob’s research of geology, water resources, and history of the towns and counties along the route are worthy of being shared with others.
Thank you, Bob.
James W. Sansom, Jr., P.G.
The guidebook can be accessed below:
William Leroy "Bill" Rader
AGS member William Rader passed away July 23, 2016. AGS extends condolences to the Rader family and also to his son and AGS member Bill Rader. Click here for more information.