Roger L. Kaesler

1937 - 2007

Professor Roger Leroy Kaesler of Lawrence, KS passed away Saturday, August 11, 2007, after a long bout with illness: he was 70 years old. He is survived by his wife, Jerelyn Boudreaux Kaesler; three daughters: Jane Kaesler Stotts, of Topeka, Kansas, Andrea Kaesler, of Topeka, Kansas, and Susanne Broussard Grossoehme, of Baldwin City, Kansas; one son: Stephen Kaesler, of Wichita, Kansas; five grandchildren: Conner, Gabriella, Drake, Cade, and Emma; and a brother: Walter Jr., of Golden, Colorado. Roger was born on June 22, 1937, and was raised in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He moved with his family to Wichita, Kansas, his senior year in high school. He attended the Colorado School of Mines and was in the ROTC program; he received a bachelor's in geological engineering in 1959. Roger received a master's and doctorate in paleontology from the Department of Geology, University of Kansas (KU), in 1965.

Roger joined the geology department at KU as a faculty member in 1965 and retired in 2006 as a full professor after more than 40 years of service; he frequently taught the classes "Paleontology" and "Prehistoric Life." He was also director of the KU Geology Field Camp in Cañon City, Colorado. Roger joined the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center at KU in 1982 and retired as a senior curator. In his role as professor and curator Roger educated, mentored, and inspired generations of undergraduate and graduate students at KU; several went on to hold faculty positions at various institutions of higher learning while others went on to work in various capacities, including the oil industry. Roger also served as an important mentor, friend, and colleague to many faculty members, not only at KU but throughout the United States and the world.

Roger became the director of the Paleontological Institute in 1986; associated with his work as director he edited the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. The Treatise is an internationally recognized publication series that serves as a taxonomic encyclopedia of invertebrate paleontology. While Roger was editor of the Treatise, 13 volumes were produced: among the highest publication rates the Treatise ever attained.

Roger published hundreds of scientific papers including pioneering work on the multivariate statistical analysis of fossils. In addition to the many volumes of the Treatise he edited, Roger co-edited two other books. His research focused on the study of climate change, evolution, and paleoecology; he specialized in the study of fossil and modern ostracods, an important group of crustaceans distantly related to lobsters and crabs.

In recognition of his highly successful career Roger received many awards including being appointed a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of the Paleontological Society (USA), and of the Geological Society of America. He also was awarded the Geological Society of America's Distinguished Service Award, the Haworth Distinguished Alumni Award from the Geology Department of the University of Kansas, and the Distinguished Alumni Award and van Diest Medal from the Colorado School of Mines. In addition to his academic accomplishments, Roger held numerous important positions in various scholarly organizations including the Paleontological Society and the International Palaeontological Association.

Because of his scientific and professional accomplishments and his warm and humorous personality Roger will be missed by innumerable colleagues and friends.

A memorial service was held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 4 at the KU Natural History Museum.


Kansas University news release (8/16/2007)

Lawrence Journal World article (8/17/2007)

KU Oread (8/17/2007)