Friday, October 15, 2010

Dr. Bill's Obituary

William E. Evans
Obituary published in South Bend Tribune on October 15, 2010

Oct. 11, 1930 - Oct. 12, 2010

COLLEGE STATION, TX - William E. Evans, Ph.D., 80, of College Station, Texas, passed away on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, Texas. A memorial ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Friday, October 15, at Christ Methodist Church in College Station. The Rev. Jerry House and Tommy Myrick will officiate.

Dr. Evans is a world-renowned marine mammal acoustician and ecologist. He was one of the first scientists to work with the United States Navy's Marine Mammal Program in the 1960s. During his 10 years with the program, his primary area of research was marine mammal communication and echolocation. The result was a special research platform for recording and observing dolphins underwater called "Sea See."

He went on to be the head of the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute in San Diego and continued his remote sensing studies and their use in oceanography. Before leaving federal services, he was the presidentially-appointed chairman of the Marine Mammal Commission, promoted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association associate administrator for Fisheries, followed by his appointment as the U.S. commissioner to the International Whaling Commission and Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (NOAA).

He recognized the need for science majors to have a university-level course focusing environmental policy and management, and taught such a course at Texas A&M University for 10 years. He was adjunct professor of biology at the University of Notre Dame. He retired as managing editor of American Midland Naturalist after finishing the journal's centennial issues. His most recent research has concentrated on the study of the history of international environmental policy and how it affects the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

Dr. Evans is the author of several books, the most recent (2008) being an autobiography, 50 Years of Flukes and Flippers. He was named an Outstanding Alumnus for BGSU in 1985 and received an honorary doctorate of public service form BGSU in 1988. He was preceded in death by his parents, Justus Robert and Florence Martin Evans. Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Jean Evans; sons and daughters-in-law, Jon A. and Carylon Evans of Hespena, Ca., and Tim J., DVM, and Debora, of Columbia, Mo.; grandchildren, Andreya Evans, Courtney Evans, Kelsey Evans, Kendall Evans and Will Evans; and one great-grandson, Connor Summers.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to in memory of Bill to the BGSU Foundation, memo line: Marine-lab Bill Evans Memorial, Mileti Alumni Center, Bowling Green, Ohio, 43403. Arrangements are entrusted to Hillier Funeral Home, 2301 E. 29th St., Bryan, TX 77802, 979-822-1571. Please view and sign the guestbook at

1 comment:

Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D. said...

It was Dr. Bill who first suggested that I consider studying sirenians instead of cetaceans! He had been one of the very first scientists to investigate manatee's acoustical abilities. In 1997 when I first met him face-to-face, Dr. Bill had recently visited Belize where, to his surprise, manatees were relatively "friendly." So off I went, onto my academic journey studying manatees, which quickly led to the founding of Sirenian International. He was the water beneath my fins, as he was to so many of us in the marine mammal, bioacoustics, and fisheries world. I miss you most, Dr. Bill. Love, Caryn