John C. “Jack” Briggs
Jack Briggs passed away in his sleep shortly after his 98th birthday at his home in Santa Rosa, CA on May 5. He was born in Portland, OR to Jessie C. Briggs and Revoe Briggs.
He is survived by his wife Eila of 45 years as well as nine children from previous marriages.
Jack was a prominent scholar and a pioneer in the field of biogeography where his contributions are widely recognized. He started out as a forestry major at Oregon State University but switched to fish and wildlife. While in college he earned a private pilot’s license which came in handy when he joined the Army Air Corp’s Air Transport division in 1943.
After the war he studied biology under the GI Bill obtaining his MA degree from Stanford in 1947 and his Ph.D. in 1952. Over the years he held teaching, research and administrative positions at various universities in the U.S. and Canada concluding with a 30 year career at the Marine Science Department at University of South Florida as a professor emeritus. He
continued his writing after moving away from Florida, first in association with University of Georgia and then back to Oregon State University where it all started. His research interest evolved from fish life history and systematics in the early days to historic and contemporary distributions and biodiversity of living things on land and sea. He remained active in research
until his final days still publishing papers in 2017 and working on three more in 2018.
In 1988 Jack was named a distinguished graduate of the Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University; a certified Fisheries Biologist Emeritus at the American Fisheries Society in 1990. In 2005 he was the first recipient of the distinguished Alfred Russel Wallace Award by the International Biogeography Society for his lifetime contributions. In addition to over 150 scientific articles and six books and monographs he also wrote a science-fiction book for his grandchildren “A Mesozoic Adventure” in 2007 and “A Professorial Life”, an autobiography in 2009. Jack had a rich and fulfilling life as a scholar; enjoyed travels at various points in his life; and is fondly remembered by his children and grandchildren.
Friends and colleagues may visit at the Windsor Healdsburg Crematory & Mortuary, 9660 Old Redwood Hwy, Windsor, CA 95492, on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 3-4 PM and subsequent service.