Hoover Mackin Dies
Geologists throughout the world were shocked by the death of Hoover Mackin on August 12, 1968. Few men in the geo logic profession have been more widely known, and very few in any profession have been so warmly cherished as teacher, friend, and intellectual stimulant. He died as a result of com plications from open heart surgery at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. He had undergone similar sugery there two years ago for installation of an artificial valve, and re cently the valve had begun to tear loose. He was, as usual, intensely active until he entered the hospital, having just completed a field excursion to teach volcanic geology in south western Utah to the senior astronauts most likely to make the first manned landing on the moon.
Joseph Hoover Mackin was born in Oswego, New York, in 1906. He received the Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, where his interest in geomorphology was kindled by the renowned Douglas Johnson. In 1932 he was employed as an Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and he remained on the faculty there thirty years before moving to Austin to be come the first Farish Professor of Geology at The Univer sity of Texas.
Hoover quickly won recognition as a teacher; his students were enthusiastic about his courses and his methods. His door was always open; he preferred small classes and strong in
dividual participation by students, but he was also a spell binding speaker in larger classes. Even when his committee chores and research materials increased until papers were stacked up on his desk, tables, chairs, and half the floor space of his office, he never turned away a student or chided a col league for interrupting. His loyalty to former students was legendary, but he was also forthright in criticism and argu ment.
Although Hoover's interest was keenest in the geological in terpretation of land forms, which led him recently into re search on moon geology, he was also a recognized expert on engineering geology and hydrology, volcanic rocks, ore de posits, and structural geology. He worked part-time for the U. S. Geological Survey and was a consultant to several elec trical power companies in the Pacific Northwest, working with hydroelectric and dam construction projects even as far away as Iceland. His publications include about 50 scientific papers plus numerous reviews and abstracts.
When the William Stamps Farish Chair of Geology, the first endowed chair at The University of Texas, was estab lished by Mrs. Libbie Rice Farish of Houston and New York in 1960, the faculty began an intensive search for the best qualified teacher in the country to occupy the new position and bring it real distinction. Hoover was the unanimous choice, and he joined the department in September 1962 after spending the previous fall here as a Visiting Professor.
Hoover has been almost unbelievably active in the affairs of national geological societies, and he was constantly in demand as a speaker at other universities and colleges. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the AAAS, and a member of the Society of Economic Geologists, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Associa tion of Petroleum Geologists. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, serving in 1965-67 as Chair man of the Earth Sciences Division. His activities with NASA and the Astrogeology branch of the U. S. Geological Survey were occupying progressively more of his time as the date for the moon landings approaches, and Hoover was as en thusiastic as a kid with a new toy in his work with the astro nauts and their equipment.
During the past year Hoover attended the meeting of the International Association of Hydrogeologists in Istanbul, Tur key as representative of the National Academy of Sciences in September, and he went from there to the IUGG meeting in Switzerland. In October he presented a series of invited lec tures at the University of Washington and led a field trip jointly with Howard Coombs, Chairman of the Geology De partment there. In January Hoover presetned a lecture at the University of California in Berkeley and another lecture at the University of Washington in Seattle. Incidentally, he was elected an "Outstanding Scientist of the Pacific Northwest" by the Northwest Scientific Association later in the spring. In March he gave an exciting paper on the "Origin of Lunar Maria" at the regional GSA meeting in Dallas, and in April presented an invited paper on "Origin of Pediments in West ern United States" at a Symposium on Pediments in Buda