A phone call from his son, Carl, brought the sad news that Joe Gregory passed away on Sunday in Houston, Texas. Joe’s academic career was closely entwined with the program in paleontology at Berkeley. He received his AB (1935) and his PhD (1938) from the University of California. Moving eastward he taught for a year at Columbia and then took a staff position in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas. Joe served on the faculty of the University of Michigan (1941-46) and then Yale University (1946-60). In the fall of 1960 Joe returned to Berkeley to become Chairman of the Department of Paleontology. He remained active on the faculty and in the museum, serving as its director from 1971 to 1975, until his retirement in 1979.
Joe’s teaching and research interests were broad. He undertook studies of a variety of vertebrates, particularly amphibians and reptiles. Through the years he taught courses that caught up the interests of many students in these and other vertebrates as well as the history of the field of vertebrate paleontology.
In addition to his contributions to the Department and Museum of Paleontology, Joe was deeply involved in the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Following Charles Camp, for almost two decades he was editor of the Society’s Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates, which serves as a significant reference facilitating the research of many of his colleagues. In 1992 the Society established the Joseph T. Gregory Award that is given annually to recognize members who have followed his path and made significant contributions to the development of the SVP and the field of vertebrate paleontology.
Joseph Gregory. Photo courtesy of NM Museum of Natural History and Science.