KHS Distinguished Life Members

Robert F. Clarke: 1919-2008

Dr. Robert F. Clarke, Emporia, Kansas, passed away on, Wednesday, 2 April 2008, at Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kan. He was born 18 October 1919 in Portsmouth, Virginia, He married Elaine McNabb of Melvern, Kansas, in 1947. In 1948, he and Elaine moved to Emporia, Kansas, where he was a stationary engineer for the Santa Fe Railroad and a freelance illustrator. Dr. Clarke had always had a passion for reptiles, turtles, and amphibians, and had amassed a large collection of them. After a rain, one of the biology professors from Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University) found him collecting frogs in a ditch and encouraged him to begin college to pursue his passion, which he did in 1952 at the age of 33. He completed his Bachelors Degree in 1955 and Masters Degree in Biology in 1957 at Emporia State University. He received a prestigious National Academy of Science Fellowship to complete his Doctorate in Zoology at the University of Oklahoma in 1963. The family returned to Emporia and he taught at Roosevelt High School on the Emporia State University campus, then became a Biology Department faculty member at Emporia State University in 1968. He was Chairman of the Department of Biology at Emporia State University from 1972 to 1979. He was Assistant to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs from 1969 to 1970, where he helped to start sabbatical leave and tenure policies. He retired from Emporia State University in 1985.
As a naturalist/educator, Robert Clarke taught several areas of biology for more than 30 years, published over 50 works on herpetology, established CPR training programs in Emporia, was instrumental in starting the Chickadee Check-Off Program to assist non-game research in Kansas, was a frequent speaker at colleges and universities as part of the American Institute of Biological Scientists, and was the editor, and editor emeritus, and one of the creators of the Kansas School Naturalist. As an artist/naturalist, he was ranked in the top 10 of Kansas wildlife artists. He designed and illustrated numerous association conference covers and illustrated several of the Kansas School Naturalists. He developed and illustrated over 100 cartoon-like panels entitled "Something Wild" that appeared in over 25 Kansas newspapers.
Dr. Clarke held the office of President for the following organizations: Southwest Association of Naturalists (1971), Kansas Herpetological Society (1972), and Kansas Academy of Science (1981). He was co-founder of the Kansas Conservation Forum and held over 20 professional memberships. Dr. Clarke received the following awards: The Robert L. Packard Outstanding Educator Award by the Southwestern Association of Naturalists (1989), Kansas Wildlife Federation Conservation Communicator Award (1991), The Governor's Kansas Conservationist of the Year Award (1982). He was a Distinguished Alumnus in 1991 from Emporia State University, Emeritus Professor (1986), and Xi Phi Outstanding Graduate Student in Biology from the University of Oklahoma (1961). In his primary profession of herpetology, the pinnacle of his long and productive career was being invested as a Distinguished Life Member of the Kansas Herpetological Society.
Robert is survived by a daughter, Linda Clarke (Emporia), son, John Clarke (Wichita), and four granddaughters, Jessica, Lacy, Tara, and Kristi Clarke (Wichita). His wife, Elaine preceded him in death. He loved his family, lizards and nature, his art and friends, his Model A, making jokes and laughter. His smile and Virginia accent will be missed.

Joseph T. Collins: 1939-2012

Joseph Thomas Collins Jr. 1939 - 2012 - CNAH Co-founder
Joe passed away Saturday, January 14, 2012, of a massive coronary at his vacation home on St. George Island, Florida.
He was born July 3, 1939, in Crooksville, Ohio, the son of Joseph Thomas Collins and Luvadelle Aichele Collins. After a childhood in Norwood, Ohio, he received an associate’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.
He wrote his first scientific paper in 1959 and his first book in l974. Since then, he has written over 300 scientific or semi-popular articles and 28 books.
At 19, Joe joined the recently formed regionally based Ohio Herpetological Society and immediately began to play a major role it its transformation into the internationally renowned Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles the world’s largest professional herpetological society. In his tenure Joe served the OHS/SSAR for over 40 years as an Editor, Secretary, Committee chair, and as its President in 1978.
In 1967 Joe joined the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History as a collections manager. He ultimately became the Editor of the Museum’s publications until his retirement on 5 September 1997 following a distinguished 30-year career. Notable achievements while at KU included his recognition as Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation, President of the Kansas Academy of Science, and the 1979 Classified Employee of the Year at KU.
Joe founded the Kansas Herpetological Society in 1974. Under Joe’s watchful eye, the KHS grew to be largest and most active academically based regional herpetology organization.
Joe married Suzanne Cupp on 12 December 1984. They co-founded The Center for North American Herpetology in 1994 to benefit the amphibians, crocodilians, reptiles, and turtles of North America and the scientists that study them. CNAH and the KHS established the Collins Award in 1998 in honor of Joe and Suzanne’s contributions. Given annually, the Collins Award is the largest cash prize given for excellence in herpetological scholarship and photography.
Recently Joe enjoyed his research positions at the Kansas Biological Survey and the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. He also found time to teach herpetology classes at the Regents Center in Overland Park and Washburn University.
Although his primary interest was in herpetology, he also published on mammalogy, ichthyology, systematics, and taxonomy. Joe is the state’s most prolific author about Kansas’s wildlife. The Governor of Kansas proclaimed him the Kansas Wildlife Author Laureate in 1996. His titles include Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas (three editions), Fishes in Kansas, and Turtles in Kansas. He also co-authored the Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America.
His parents and his brother, Jeffrey, preceded him in death. Survivors include his wife, Suzanne, a brother Jerry and wife Kay, a daughter Nancy Weaver (Randy), a granddaughter Chelsea (Jamie), and one great-granddaughter Laiken, his mother-in-law, Juanita Hunter, six nephews, one niece and many students whom he considered semi-adopted.

Henry S. Fitch: 1909-2009

Henry Sheldon Fitch, 99, of Lawrence, Kansas, one of the premier herpetological ecologists to grace the earth, passed away on 8 September 2009, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He was born 25 December 1909, the son of Chester Fitch and Alice T. (Chenery) Fitch in Utica, New York. After a childhood outside of Medford, Oregon, he received his B.A from the University of Oregon and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He then worked as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the San Joaquin Range in California. His career was interrupted by two tours of army duty in World War II, after which he returned to the San Joaquin Range. He married Virginia Preston in 1946, and shortly afterwards was transferred to Leesville, Louisiana.
In 1948, he assumed a professorship at the University of Kansas where he taught and served as steward of the University of Kansas Natural History Reservation. Although his primary interest was in herpetology, he published papers in community ecology, mammalogy, and ornithology, and he even wrote a book on the spiders of the KU Natural History Reservation. He retired from KU as Emeritus Professor in 1980, but continued to live and work at the Natural History Reservation until 2006.
Survivors in the immediate family include his sons, John and Chester, his daughter, Alice, five grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. His wife, Virginia, and his three siblings, Chester, Margaret, and Ruth, preceded him in death.

Eugene D. Fleharty: 1934-

Sternberg Museum of Natural History Fort Hays State University Hays

Howard K. Gloyd: 1902-1978

Howard Kay Gloyd (1902–1978) was an American herpetologist who is credited with describing several new species of reptile, such as the Florida Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti. He is also honored by having several species named after him, including the genus of Asian pit vipers, Gloydius, the Eastern Fox Snake, Pantherophis gloydi, and the Dusty Hognose Snake, Heterodon nasicus gloydi.
Born in De Soto, Kansas, Gloyd attended Kansas State University for a year, and then attained his bachelor of science from Ottawa University in 1924. He taught biology at Ottawa University until 1927 when he went to teach zoology at the Agricultural College of Kansas State University. In 1928 he wrote The Amphibians and Reptiles of Franklin County, Kansas. In 1929, he attained his masters degree at Kansas State College, and went to Michigan to become a professor of zoology at the University of Michigan.
In 1936 he became director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, a position which he would hold until 1958. In 1939, he became the vice president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, and in 1940 he published The Rattlesnakes, genera Sistrurus and Crotalus. He organized numerous expeditions to Arizona to collect specimens for the Chicago Academy of Sciences. From 1940 until 1947, he was a consultant to the State Natural History Survey of Illinois. In 1942, he attained his doctorate at Ottawa University. In 1958 he moved to Arizona to become a lecturer and research associate in the zoology department of the University of Arizona, in Tucson. In 1974 he retired to become an emeritus professor at the University of Arizona.
The Kansas Herpetological Society grants an annual scholarship named for Howard K. Gloyd and Edward Harrison Taylor.

Larry L. Miller

Southwestern College Winfield, Kansas

George R. Pisani

Kansas Biological Survey The University of Kansas Lawrence

Dwight R. Platt

Department of Biology Bethel College, North Newton Kansas

Hobart M. Smith: 1912-2013

Hobart Muir Smith (1912-2013)
On the morning of March 4, Hobart Smith, “Smitty”, passed away peacefully in Boulder, Colorado. With Hobart Smith’s passing, a generation of herpetologist comes to an end. Hobart contributed to the study and development of Mexican herpetology in peerless form. He pioneered herpetological field work in Mexico in the 1930´s and 1940´s, research that provided him with enough material and interest in Mexico to publish the first completed checklist and keys to Mexican amphibians and reptiles, which he published with his major professor, E.H. Taylor. Later on, Hobart and his wife Rozella were pioneers in putting together an electronic bibliographic index of the literature pertaining to the herpetofauna of Mexico, Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico, which having taken more than 20 years, unfortunately remained uncompleted.
Hobart promoted herpetology among several generations of youngsters in the US and other parts of the world with his popular books. He collaborated with a seemingly endless number of colleagues and students and had an especially encouraging attitude towards young scientists. His professional contributions are to be found in the fields of taxonomy, biogeography, evolutionary biology, comparative anatomy; totaling more than 1,600 articles and 29 books. Hobart described more than 100 new species, mostly from Mexico and Central America, and five species have been named after him. His library was donated to the Museo de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias at UNAM.
Hobart was diagnosed with bronchitis a few days before his death. He entered hospice care by his own decision and donated his body to the Colorado Anatomical Society. A memorial service was held Saturday, 9 March, in Boulder, Colorado, and a memorial is expected to be held in Mexico in the near future, possible in collaboration with the Mexican Herpetological Society. He is survived by his son Bruce Smith, a daughter Sally Nadvornik, five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.
Oscar Flores-Villela, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Biología Evolutiva, 12 March 2013

Edward H. Taylor: 1889-1978

Taylor was born in Maysville, Missouri to George and Loretta Taylor. He had an older brother, Eugene.
Taylor studied at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, graduating with a B.A. in 1912. Field trips during his time at the University of Kansas with Dr. Clarence McClung and Dr. Roy Moody helped prepare Taylor for his future endeavors.
Between 1916 and 1920 he returned briefly to Kansas to finish his M.A..
Upon completing his Bachelor's degree, Taylor went to the Philippines, where at first he held a teacher's post in a village in central Mindanao. He collected and studied the local herpetofauna extensively and published many papers. He returned to the Philippines after completing his Master's degree and was appointed Chief of Fisheries in Manila. On his many survey trips he continued collecting and studying fishes and reptiles of the islands.
In 1927, back in the U.S., he became the head of the zoology department of the University of Kansas at Lawrence. From 1929 to 1936, he studied the taxonomy of the genus Eumeces (some common skinks). Subsequently, he focused on Mexican herpetofauna, which he explored on many field trips from 1937 to 1948. In the following years, his explorations took him to Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and he published extensively on all these countries. In 1965, he turned his attention onto Caecilians after having discovered a new species on an island in the Sea of Celebes.
Along scientific career, Taylor was attached to intelligence operations. After World War I he was sent to Siberia to follow Russian Revolution under the cover of a Red Cross mission to stop typhus epidemic. During World War II, OSS employed Taylor to teach jungle survival in British Ceylon.
Edward Harrison Taylor's autobiographical memoir Edward H. Taylor: Recollection of an Herpetologist was published by the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History in 1975 [Monograph Series, Publication 4:1-160] with contributions from A. Byron Leonard, Hobart M. Smith and George R. Pisani.