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Dr. Dibya Kishor Singh (1934-2017)

Dr. Dibya Kishor Singh passed away on 8 June 2017 at the age of 82. Dibya was passionate about human and physical geography, his enthusiasm inspired generations of students in India and beyond. Dibya obtained a BA in Geography from Ravenshaw College in 1957, a Diploma in Statistics in 1958, a MA Geography from BHU in 1959 and a Ph. D. in Urban Geography from Gauhati University in 1972. Dibya served as Professor in West Bengal, Saugor, Gauhati, and Utkal Universities from 1960-1996 with a particular focus on Urban Geography, Regional Planning, Cartography, and Quantitative Methods. Dibya was a Fellow of the Society and a Life Member of more than 20 Geographical and Professional Societies including becoming Vice-President of National Association of Geographers, India.

John James Reed (1924-2016)

John Reed passed away on 15 November 2016. A Fellow for more than 62 years, he was one of the Society’s longest standing members. A Cornishman by birth, he served in the meteorological branch of the Fleet Air Arm during World War Two. He was a junior school teacher at South View School, Basingstoke for many years, later becoming a primary school headmaster at St Bede’s School, Winchester. In his retirement he became an accredited guide at Winchester Cathedral, a role about which he was very enthusiastic. In the later years of his retirement he wrote his memoirs tracing his Cornish childhood, wartime service, family life and experiences as a teacher and headmaster.

David Collins (1949-2016)

David Collins passed away on 8 September 2016 at the age of 68. David was passionate about glaciology, and conducted field research in this area on three continents; his enthusiasm in the field has inspired generations of students in field science. Having achieved a BA in geography from the University of Cambridge, subsequent MAs from the Universities of both Cambridge and Oxford, as well as a PhD from the University of Nottingham, David held academic posts at Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford Universities before arriving at the University of Salford in January 1999 as Professor or Physical Geography. He was a Chartered Geographer and Fellow of the Society, and was awarded the Society’s Busk Medal in 1998 for “his outstanding contribution to the study of field processes in mountain environments in a long and productive research career based around sustained field measurements”.

Dr E.M. Bridges (1931-2016)

Dr E.M. Bridges passed away in the autumn of 2016. He spent his working life as a specialist in the geography and genesis of soils, as well as the problems of soil degradation. He began his career in 1956 as a soil surveyor, working as a research scientist employed by the Rothamsted Experimental Station, and later went on to become Senior lecturer and Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Wales at Swansea. During his teaching career, Dr Bridges was invited to give lecture courses and serve as external examiner for numerous universities, and wrote over 120 contributions to scientific journals as well as authoring or co-authoring eight books. Following his retirement, Dr Bridges returned to live in the Fakenham area in 2000, where he held numerous positions over the years including Director and later Chairman of the Fakenham Town Gas Works Museum Trust, member of the Museums Norfolk Committee, and President of the Fakenham Society. He was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by Fakenham Town Council for his voluntary work at Fakenham Museum. Dr Bridges achieved Fellowship of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists, the Royal Geographical Society and the British Society of Soil Science, and was a life member of the Geographical Association.

Lord Roger Richard Edward Chorley (1930 – 2016)

Lord Chorley (widely known as Roger) passed away on 21 February 2016. Following a decade on the RGS Council, Roger served as the Society President from 1987 to 1990, and continued as an Honorary President until his death. His commitment to the Society spanned more than 50 years; his strategic and analytical skills and enthusiasm for geography played a major role in the Society’s re-shaping. Not least, Roger was involved in initiating the Forward Look strategic review, contributing to the creation of successful regional branches in England and Wales, and served on the Finance Committee for many years. These contributions are in addition to his crucial role in steering public and governmental attitudes towards GIS (particularly through the revolutionary Chorley Report in 1987), his time as Chairman of the National Trust, and his involvement on committees for organisations as various as the Ordnance Survey Review Committee, the British Council, the National Theatre and the Alpine Club. Roger also contributed significantly to the Lord’s Select Committee on Science and Technology. Lord Chorley’s geographical expertise and personal interests saw him impact upon many worlds with enduring effect.

Doreen Massey (1944 – 2016)

Doreen Massey, eminent geographer, died on 11 March 2016. Doreen’s transformative insights into the relational notions of space, place, time, power and politics now inform teaching and research around the world. Her view of the world as both actively shaping, and being shaped by, the lives of all that lived in and through it, has left a profound legacy on today’s geography.

Following her childhood in Manchester, Doreen achieved a scholarship to the University of Oxford, from which she graduated in 1966 with a first class honours degree in Geography. She went on to take a role of Professor of Geography at The Open University in 1982, and remained there for a further 25 years until her retirement in 2009. Her achievements span research, teaching, and political activism, and are recognised by a series of the highest academic awards, including the Society’s Victoria Medal in 1994, and the Prix Vautrin Lud in 1998. Doreen’s work has inspired generations of academics, activists and policy-makers.

Stanley Gregory (1926-2016)

Stanley Gregory, (commonly known as Stan), passed away on 8 April 2016. He was one of few geographers to be elected President of both the Geographical Association and the Institute of British Geographers in the 1970s. His keen promotion of the use of quantitative methods throughout geography inspired major changes to the discipline, in its mid–late twentieth century quantitative turn.

Stan obtained a first class honours degree from the Department of Geography at King’s College London. He spent the next 18 years at the University of Liverpool before being appointed to a chair at the University of Sheffield in 1968, from which he retired in 1988. Amongst his various achievements, Stan received the Society's Murchison Award in 1984, and the Royal Meteorological Society’s Hugh Robert Mill Medal and Prize in 1990.

Stan specialised in climatology, although his impact on the discipline was much wider than his pioneering climatological work, namely in his advocating the need for geographers to adopt a rigorous approach to data analysis. As such, he published Statistical methods and the geographer in 1963, co-founded  the Quantitative Methods Study Group, and served as Chair of the both the Matriculation Board and the Geographical Association’s Committee on Models and Quantitative Techniques in Teaching. His dedication to advancing rigorous scientific methods has had a lasting legacy on the discipline.

Roy Millward (1917-2016)

Roy Millward died on 25 January 2016. A long-standing Fellow of the Society, Roy had a long and distinguished academic career. Serving as Lecturer and Reader in geography at the University of Leicester, a role he held for 35 years, Roy is credited with assisting the development of a well-equipped teaching and research department during the University’s rise from college status to independent degree-awarding institution. With a keen interest in historical geography, he published 17 books, 14 of them co-authored with his colleague and friend Adrian Robinson, on the geography of Britain. He is survived by his wife, four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Professor Paul Brenikov (1921-2016)

Professor Paul Brenikov died on 17 June 2016, aged 94. A long-serving Fellow of the Society, Paul was a very experienced and influential town planner with an MA from the University of Liverpool. He began his career as a Planning Officer at Lancashire County Council and published a book on Land Use in Urban Environment in 1961. Paul lectured at the University of Liverpool before taking up post as the Head of the Department of Town and Country Planning at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne until 1986, when he was appointed as Local Plans Inspector by the Department of the Environment. Paul also had a keen interest in drawing and etching which he pursued into his retirement and, an ever enthusiastic learner, went on to receive a BA in Fine Art at the age of 85 from Sunderland University.

Christine Kelly (1929-2016)

Mrs Christine Kelly died on 15 May 2016, aged 86. Formerly the Archivist at the Royal Geographical Society, Chris carried out extensive cataloguing of the then “random contents” held up in the attic of the RGS building. She produced and published The Handlist of the Royal Geographical Society's Archives, and worked to turn the Society's archive from a large, fairly disorganised collection of papers into a highly efficient and meticulously housed modern archive. Users of the Society’s collections will forever be grateful to Chris for her great service as Archivist, producing definitive user-friendly Handlists, the benefits of which are still appreciated today.

Professor Karl Butzer (1934-2016)

Professor Karl Butzer passed away on 4th May at the age of 81. He was a profoundly influential and visionary geographer- a scholar who not only shaped his own discipline but who was also a globally recognised authority in geo-archaeology, cultural ecology and environmental history.  He made pivotal contributions to our understanding of the complex interactions between humans and their environment. He was also an advocate of fieldwork and together with his wife of 56 years, Elisabeth, he worked in Mexico, Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, South Africa and Namibia, Spain and Australia. He was an inspirational teacher, supervisor and colleague and was generous with his time, knowledge and support. He received the Society’s Busk Medal in 1979 and he was also recipient of many other honours. For example, he was awarded the Medal of the Society for American Archaeology (1981), was elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984) and the National Academy of Sciences (1996).  

Dr Anita McConnell (1936-2016)

Dr Anita McConnell, Dip Arch, BSc, PhD, FRGS, FRMetS, FRSA, who died on 28 April 2016, came to academia after doing jobs as varied as catering to the film crew of Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and lorry driving, but her BSc degree in geography at University College, London (1971) set her on a path of scholarship which lasted until the end of her life. Curator of the Science Museum (1964–1987) and Research and Associate Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (1994–2004) she leaves a corpus of small but meticulously researched and highly respected publications on scientific instrument makers which combined high level biographical research skills with impressive technical knowledge and keen historical insight. A fellow of the RGS from 1968, she served on Council for many years, and enjoyed the company of Fellow geographers at the Geographical Club.

Derek Robin Diamond (1933-2015)

Derek Diamond died on 6 May 2015 just before his 82 birthday. He was a great stalwart of British geography and of urban and regional planning in particular: throughout his academic life he single-mindedly explored the interplay between the fields of Geography and Planning. Derek played influential roles in a wide variety of areas – researcher and consultant in urban and regional planning, university administrator, journal editor, and contributor to a variety of professional societies. Above all he was a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher. An academic of ‘the old school’ and a man of impressive talents and perceptiveness, Derek’s warmth, generosity and collegiality will be greatly missed by his ex-students and colleagues and by all those with whom he came in touch.

Leila Ingrams (1940-2015)

Leila Ingrams died on 22 March 2015 aged 74. A long-serving Fellow of the Society, Leila will be remembered for the energy and passion with which she worked to promote the culture and welfare of Yemeni people. Following in the footsteps of her parents Harold and Doreen Ingrams, gold medallists of the Society, Leila was an indefatigable proponent of culture as a means of understanding and brotherhood among peoples, and harboured a characteristic aversion to ‘politics’, an attitude shaped by her years of living and working in the Middle East.

Joyce Irene Magor (1933-2015)

Dr Joyce Magor died on 16 August 2015 aged 82. A long-serving Fellow of the Society, Joyce was a world-renowned expert on the forecasting and management of migrant pests, in particular, the Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria, a devastating pest of agriculture from West Africa through the Middle East to South-West Asia. Throughout her career, Joyce was a consummate geographer, with a geographer’s ability to bring together different scientific disciplines to tackle problems. She will be remembered with great respect, gratitude and affection by researchers and operational staff in countries across Europe, Africa and Asia who have benefitted from her patient guidance and her vast experience and knowledge.


Obituaries Policy

The Society publishes obituaries of the Society’s Royal and Gold Medal recipients; Directors, Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the IBG, RGS and RGS-IBG; Editors of the RGS-IBG journals; and those of academic or other distinction (at the Society’s discretion) in The Geographical Journal. Obituaries are also published online. For further information, please contact the Managing Editor.

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