Bob Reynolds: An Infectious Good Nature

I was saddened to read of Robert E. Reynolds* death today. He has a long legacy that will be very hard for someone to fill. I learned about it via the Desert Symposium website. Though I am obviously interested in the Barstovian, and other such happy, peaceful times, I am utterly dwarfed by Bob.

Bob was a paleontologist who, together with his wife Jennifer, has a long history in that world, both in publishing and in his leadership in the Desert Symposium. He also graciously reviewed and critiqued Opalescence for me in 2015 for scientific accuracy. I strove to follow his advice (though I took literary license at times). I never met Bob in person, but we did correspond through the years.

Bob Reynolds has been the driving force behind the Desert Symposium for over 30 years. Beginning even before Bob Adams 1989 gathering (see Jefferson and Budinger paper on our History page), Bob was organizing field trips, directing large fossil excavations, exploring for minerals, and mentoring anyone interested in the Mojave. He has inspired students and PhDs to become desert rats, many of whom are still with the Desert Symposium today. In the early days, he singlehandedly solicited contributors, organized the meeting, and ran the field trip. Bob has a gift for finding interesting projects and motivating people to work on them.

This award is to acknowledge, honor and thank Bob for his decades of service. His leadership and many scientific accomplishments (e.g., Reynoldsite) are unparalled. We are honored to have known and worked with Bob. Here

He had a long career as an acclaimed vertebrate paleontologist and mineralogist, and also was an extraordinary teacher and field trip leader in the wilds of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Bob knew the desert better than most, and he will be sorely missed by all that relied on his expertise, not to mention his boundless enthusiasm for the desert and its special places. Bob’s infectious good nature and love of the desert led many of us to a deeper understanding and love of the desert. Here

Robert E. Reynolds Desert Symposium Student Research Award: This award to honor Bob Reynolds acknowledges Bob’s decades of service
 to desert sciences, from directing large fossil excavations and exploring for minerals to mentoring numerous students and apprentices, as recognized by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology with the 2019 Morris Skinner Prize. In addition, Bob has been central to holding the annual Desert Symposium for over 30 years, in many cases singlehandedly soliciting contributors, organizing the meeting, and running the field trip. Bob’s leadership and service are honored with this award by promoting student research projects. Here

Bob has a mineral, Reynoldsite, a gopher and a snail named after him!

He died peacefully at his home in Redlands, California on July 21, 2020, just 16 days ago, not 3 1/2 months after his last email. I hope that when I go it’s also peaceful.

*Robert E. Reynolds, former Curator of Earth Sciences at the San Bernardino County Museum. Geologist, biostratigrapher, member, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology; President, Southern California Friends of Mineralogy, Steering Committee, Desert Studies Symposium: CSU Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx, California


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