The Hall of Texas and Mexico Cavers

 

This page is dedicated to tributes, biographies, obituaries, and photos about departed cavers and cave scientists.

* indicates a cave-related death. All are greatly missed by caver friends and families. Readers are invited to send me files and obituaries to post.

I will gladly accept and privately store resumes and biographies of living cavers in preparation for the day when you depart for the great cave beyond.

Please send additions and corrections.

William R. (Bill) Elliott, editor, speodesmus@gmail.com 

 

Files are generally stored as pdfs or zip files to simplify file maintenance and downloading. More will be added later.

Also see In Memory of Texas Cavers last updated in 2010.

 

2019

Terry Plemons,  ?   19 August 2019, ~80. Memorial service will be on 21 October 2019, Zilker Clubhouse, Austin (by invitation only).

Ernie Garza, 20 July 1938 16 August 2019, 81

Don Broussard, 17 August 1948 – 16 May 2019, 70

Jenni Arburn, 7 February 1964 – 26 May 2019, 55

Bill Mixon, 29 December 1940 8 May 2019, 78  plus Tributes to Mixon

William H. “Bill” Russell, 1937 21 March 2019, 82

2018

Lee Jay Graves, 29 October 1959 24 November 2018, 59

Peter Strickland,  1946 – 3 July 2018, 72 

Joe C. Pearce, 1928 – 20 January 20, 2018, 90, NSS 2903. One of the founders of the original Balcones Grotto and a principal in getting the Texas Caver off the ground. 

2017

Doug Allen, ? –  6 November 2017, 50s.  Active in TCMA and TSA. Ran the Longhorn Caverns clean-up in 1988. Helped map caves in the 1990s. Worked in contract cave studies around Austin.

Jimmy Walker,  1927 – 12 October 2017, 90. Explored Mayfield Cave (Caverns of Sonora) and caves in the Sierra de El Abra in the 1950s. Talented artist.

Bob Oakley, 14 October 1944 –April 10, 2017, 72. Member of Carta Valley Sucks and other caving clubs from Uvalde.

2016

David McKenzie, 1943 14 December 2016, 73, NSS 6419. Important speleologist who mapped many caves and wrote the software Ellipse, Walls, and WallsMap.

Charlie Yates, 4 October, 1950 – 10 August 2016, 65. SWTG caver, caved in Texas and Mexico, Texas historian and re-enactor.

 

More material will be added going back to 1960…

2015

Francis “Ab” Abernethy, 3 December 1925 – 21 March 2015, 89. Folklore professor from Stephen F. Austin University, work in Xilitla and Sierra de El Abra.

2010

Robert W. “Bob” Mitchell, 25 April 1933 – 18 March 2010, 76. Cave biologist and Texas Tech University professor who pioneered many studies in Texas and Mexico, particularly Astyanax cavefishes in the Sierra de El Abra.

2009

Ed Alexander, 25 November 1942 17 October 2009, 66

Carl Ponebshek, 16 October 1924 – 14 August 2009, 84. Obit in Texas Caver 2009-07

Jack C. Burch, 11 November 1922 – 16 June 2009, 86, NSS 2175.  Obit in Texas Caver 2009-07

Richard N. “Dick” Beauchamp, 1936 – 7 July 2009, 73. NSS 3252. Obit in Texas Caver 2009-07

2006

Randy Waters, 1958 – 24 January 2006, 48

Clark Santos, 1943 – 14 January 2006, 63

2005

Fred Sawin, 1934 – 25 October 2005, 71

Brian Burton, 1961 – 14 September 2005, 44

David Hannah, 1930 – 29 January 2005

2003

Bob Cowell, ? – 5 October 2003, age 65?

Noble Stidham, ? – 26 February 2003, ~65?

2002

Stan Moerbe, ? – 11 December 2002, ~55?

Mike Moore, 1957 – April 24, 2002, 45

2001

A. Richard “Dick” Smith,  22 September 1939 – 4 July 2001, 61. An important Texas caver and geologist who was the rock of the Texas Speleological Survey for many years. Recipient of the first TSS Outstanding Service Award in 1997.

Thomas E. “Doc” Harding”, October 1928, February 2001, 72

Oren Tranbarger, 1940 – 28 January 2001, 61

2000

*Joe Ivy, 1965 – 30 September 2000, 35. Died in a technical climb failure and fall in O-9 Well.

Alejandro “Alex” Villagomez, ? – spring 2000

1999

*Christy Quintana,  1972 – 26 August 1999, 27. A vibrant young caver. A large rock struck her while on rope, Sótano del Aire, San Luis Potosí, México.

1998

Pat Copeland, 20 Novemer 1942 – 30 December 2000, 58. Died in an auto accident near San Saba, Texas.

1995

Charles R. “Squire” Lewis, 29 April 1930 – 11 April 1995, 64, NSS 6951.

*Chris Yeager, ? – 1 March 1995. Died in Cueva Cheve, Oaxaca, when his rappel rack detached from his seat sling. He was buried in the cave because it was too difficult to remove the body from a great depth.

1994

Jerry Johnson, 16 June, 1950- 9 June, 1994, 43

*Sheck Exley, 1 April 1949 – 6 April 1994, 45. Died in a deep diving accident at -906 ft. (-276 m) in Cenote El Zocatón, Tamaulipas.

 

*Ian Rolland, 1965 – 27 March 1994, 29. English caver died in rebreather diving mishap in Sótano de San Agustín, Huautla, Oaxaca.

Only much later did I learn that when he set off, on March 27 [1994], to explore the chamber that now bears his name, the last words he said to Kenny were, "If I'm not back by 10 P.M., call out the cavalry."

 

1990

*Sgt. Murray Elson, ? – 13 December 1990. Died in Bullis Hole, Bexar County, when his rappel rig detached from the rope. 

Richard O. Albert, 10 September 1920 – 10 March 1990, 69. Surgeon and naturalist from Alice, Texas, who piloted many flights over the Sierra de El Abra for Bob Mitchell’s research, discovering many caves.

 

1987

Jon Everage, ? – August 1987.

1984

*Wayne Russell, ? – 16 February 1984. Drowned while cave diving in Jacob’s Well, Comal County.

1980

Chuck Stuehm, 1928 – 31 January 1980, 52. See memorial issue of Texas Caver, 1980, no. 2.

The Chuck Steuhm Award  is for a Texas Caver who took great interest in new cavers. He exhibited this interest with his involvement with Boy Scouts and cavers alike. This award was named in his honor and is given to a “new caver”, that is, someone who has been involved with organized caving for less than two years. The requirement is that the individual show an unusua1enthusiasm for caving. Each grotto in the state may nominate someone they feel best qualifies for the award. Nominations are submitted to the Texas Caver Reunion committee, and the award is given at the annual TCR held in September or October each year. No contest is held, everyone selected for the award receives it. It is up to the individual grotto to select a caver who they want to honor for their eagerness as a new caver.

Federico Bonet (pronounced “boh-net”), 18 October 1906 – 10 June 1980, 73. Famous Spanish and Mexican cave scientist, he published important papers on the geology and biology of caves in the Sierra de El Abra, Xilitla area, and Cacahuamilpa. See obit. By James Reddell in AMCS.

Paul Boyer, ? – 1980. NSS 8422.

A.T. Jackson, ? – January 1980. Archaeologist and contributor to NSS Bulletin 10, The Caves of Texas, 1948.

1975

*Dionicio Vásquez, ? – 16 August 1975, age? Rope anchor broke, fall in Punkin Cave, Edwards County.

*David Brown, ? – 31 May 1975. Inexperienced spelunker died in Dead Deer Cave, Bexar County.

1972

*Angeline Palmer, 1954? – 15 April 1972, 18. Equipment failure and fall from rope in Devil’s Sinkhole.

1971

*Bruce Stone, 1953? – 26 November 1971, 18. Drowned in Gruta de Carrizal, Nuevo León.

*Chris Cleaveland, 1953? – 26 November 1971, 18. Drowned in Gruta de Carrizal, Nuevo León.

1966

Frank Harrison, 21 June 1901- 29 January 1966, 65. A Canadian immigrant to Mexico, Frank owned a house for 20 years at Rancho del Cielo, near Gómez Farías, Tamaulipas. He was a friend and host to many cavers and biologists. He was murdered by two radical agrarians who lived nearby; they were apprehended.

1960

*Abner J. Totty, ? – 5 September 1960. Boy Scout struck in head by large rock while on a cable ladder in Devil’s Sinkhole, Edwards County.

 

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9/5/2019