July 2024


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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Doug Nichols—scientist, colleague, mentor, friend

Gary WamsleyBy Gary Wamsley

The Recorder Online

Several of us from Berthoud braved the slick streets and Denver traffic to pay our respects to friend and neighbor, Doug Nichols.

For the celebration of his life, we joined his family, other friends and colleagues in the Ricketson Auditorium  at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. They came from afar to honor a man who obviously meant so much to them. The collaborators on his most recent research project came from Japan and Europe to pay their respects. Several colleagues related their adventures in far flung places. Doug was an international figure and the letters from around the world were testament to his impact on science. The letter from the staff of the palynology lab in Vladivostok, Russia, telling how much he had helped them as a scientist and as a friend was typical of the responses the museum received after the news of Doug’s passing was known.

I think the best way to convey the feeling of his fellow scientists is to repeat their comments.

“Scientist, colleague, mentor, friend and always with a twinkle in his eye,” were all words used to describe him, with the mentor and the twinkle in his eye being the most repeated.

Tom Ager, a colleague from the geological survey had this to say, “Doug was a world-class palynologist/biostratigrapher who was highly respected by the international community for his meticulous research, superb publications and excellent quality photomicrographs. I will miss him for many reason, not the least of which are his infectious grins, the twinkle in his eye and his on–the-mark witty remarks.”

Several speakers had started their post graduate work with Doug. Peter Warwick, also with the geological survey had this to say, “Doug was an easy-going, very likeable person but yet he was also a very well respected research scientist. He provided a good role model to follow for someone just starting his career … I am happy to  have shared so many wonderful field experiences with him.”

I spoke with some museum volunteers who had come and they commented about how much he helped them and how approachable he was for a PhD.

I think you get the idea. His family, our community and the scientific community have lost a great friend. I feel personally morose in that I knew Doug for only a little over a year and was too busy to spend more time getting to know him. I missed a great opportunity.

You can get a sense of the breadth of his interest and his ability to write and to explain things from the articles he wrote for the Berthoud Recorder. I found that many of them had been mis-categorized in the transition to this new web site. I believe I have found them all and put them in order. You can find his articles under Sections-Variety-Our Natural World.

Goodbye Doug, we miss you.

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