In Memoriam Patsy A. McLaughlin (1932-2011)

Added on 2011-04-06 09:03:42 by Lemaitre, Rafael
I am saddened to report that WoRMS paguroid taxonomic editor, Dr. Patsy A. McLaughlin, passed away from heart failure at a clinic near her home in Sedro Woolley, Washington, on April 4, 2011.
Pat, as she preferred to be called, was less than 2 months short of her 80th birthday, and had a distinguished career. It is not an exaggeration to state that she was one of the most influential carcinologists in history, men or women. Her modest character belied her great intellect and enormous knowledge on crustaceans. She was born in Seattle on May 27, 1932, and got her Ph.D. in 1972 on the other side of the USA at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Her dissertation was a monumental monograph on the hermit crabs form northwestern North America, a phenomenal work that still stands as one of the most indispensable, and beautifully illustrated single works on the taxonomy of these decapods. She worked early in her career as a Fishery Biologist at the Seattle Biological Laboratory, Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (1957-1960); then as Assistant Zoologist (1960-1963) at the Department of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, where she met her mentor and famous barnacle specialists, Dr. Dora Henry. She worked as Supervisor for Invertebrates at the Smithsonian Oceanographic Sorting Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. (1965-1968), and then went south to be Research Assistant Professor & Research Associate at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida (1969-1973), where she worked with Anthony J. Provenzano, Jr., completing numerous taxonomic works on hermit crabs and other crustaceans. She married Mr. E. J. MacGeorge while at the Rosenstiel School, and eventually moved across town to be Research Scientist and Courtesy Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami (1975-1989). She finally moved in 1987 with her retired husband to Sedro Woolley, where she became associated as Resident Scientist with the Shannon Point Marine Center, Western Washington University, at Anacortes. Overall she published many articles, catalogs, and book chapters, on many groups of crustaceans, and was the author of the classic manual “Comparative morphology of Recent Crustacea” (1980, W.H. Freeman & Co.).

Aside from her modest personality and sense of humor, Pat will be remembered—among other reasons—for her unsurpassed knowledge of the anatomy of crustaceans, influential ideas about the evolution of anomurans (especially hermit crabs), superb writing, great intellectual honesty and scientific curiosity, a total dedication to promote the study of crustaceans, and immense love for her dogs.

Pat has left a great void, and we will miss her dearly and surely increasingly so as time passes.

Dr. Rafael Lemaitre
Research Zoologist/Curator of Crustacea
Department of Invertebrate Zoology, MRC 534
National Museum of Natural History
Museum Support Center
Smithsonian Institution
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746 USA
Research office tel (301) 238-1181, rm D-1002
fax (301) 238-3361

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