When I was an undergrad at Humboldt State University I was primarily mentored by three faculty members (Richard Hurley, Tim Lawlor, Steve Smith), but I spent most of my time with then MS student Bill Stanley. Bill helped to curate the HSU Mammal Collection, and “took me under his wing” as a UG volunteer curatorial assistant. Bill ultimately landed at the Field Museum, most recently serving as Director of the Gantz Family Collection Center. Bill died unexpectedly this week, trapping small mammals in Africa. A story can be found here.
Bill Stanley was a wonderful, warm, hilarious man. His passion for biology, and life in general, was infectious. I fondly remember cold mornings in Humboldt County, checking vole traps with Bill, then heading back to Arcata in his old van, stopping in for Los Bagles. Backpacking in the Trinity Alps, camping next to a huge black bear sow in a misty meadow. Camping in the remote Sheep Mountains of Nevada in an old cabin, catching pallid bats, talking about chipmunk species. Thinking of Bill reminds me of why I love biology, and reminds me to transfer and display this passion to my students. When I think of Bill Stanley, I smile.