Integrity and passion

 

W.L. Minckley, who stands out in Craig Childs' lead essay as a three-dimensional figure of integrity and passion, died June 22 in a Mesa, Ariz., hospital from complications associated with treatment for cancer. Dr. Minckley, 65, had mentored graduate students at Arizona State University in Tempe from 1963 until his illness in June. While he received teaching and research honors both within the university and without, he cared most for the doing: researching, writing and teaching others about the imperiled fishes and aquatic habitats of the arid inland, in the U.S. and Mexico. Minckley's opinions often ran counter to those of agencies and developers. He came by his renowned courage naturally: As a 10-year-old downed by polio, he confounded medical opinion by learning to walk again; just after high school graduation, a home accident caused severe burns on his lower body. Nonetheless, he went off to college, brought home Big 8 medals for gymnastics in the flying rings and side horse at Kansas State, and went on to earn his master's degree in zoology and his Ph.D. in biology. Called "Mink" by friends and colleagues, he was curmudgeonly on the outside only. Friends remember his campfire stories, his boundless curiosity and appreciation, his delight in camping, hunting and dogs, and his respect and love for family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and seven children.