Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Duncan McGregor, former State Geologist of South Dakota

Dr. Duncan J. McGregor, Ph.D., 93, and former Director of the South Dakota Geological Survey, died at home in Vermillion, SD, on September 14, 2014.

Duncan was born January 3, 1921 at St. Joseph, MO to the Rev. Duncan E. and Elma B (Lawrence) McGregor. He graduated from high school in Lawrence, KS, and earned his bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Kansas. Duncan served in the U.S. Navy Reserve in WWII as a communications officer aboard the escort carrier U.S.S. Thetis Bay, CVE- 90, in the Pacific Theater. After the war Duncan married Thelma Dewsbury in Auburn, MA whom he had met while at the Navy's communications school at Harvard. The couple celebrated their 66 anniversary on June 30, 2012.

Duncan and Thelma moved to Lawrence, KS in 1946 where he completed a Master’s degree in geology at KU. After working for Sinclair Oil for several years in Wyoming, during which time his daughter, Lynn, was born [in 1949].

Duncan was the South Dakota State Geologist from 1963-1981.  He retired from the Survey in 1981 retaining his role as professor of geology and serving as Chairman of the USD Department of Earth Resources until his full retirement in 1986, when he was awarded the rank of professor emeritus.

At USD, Duncan was an active member of the faculty serving on the University budget committee among others. He presented the Dean Harrington Lecture in 1985 and was an was an active member of the Clay County Historical Society and the Vermillion Rotary Club, he was honored with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

Duncan and Thelma were longtime active members of the Vermillion United Church of Christ in Vermillion.

Duncan is survived by his daughter Lynn (Jerry) Ochs of Yukon, OK and two sons: Scott (Karen) McGregor of Rapid City, SD and Brett (Val) of Nebraska City, NE, grandchildren Melissa (Everett) Robins and Andromeda (Jacob) Morrison and great grandchildren Sophie and Ethan Robins.

He was predeceased by his wife of over 66 years, Thelma, who died January 27, 2013 and two brothers: Ronald and Kenneth. A memorial has been established at the Vermillion Public Library.

A memorial service honoring both Duncan and Thelma will be held at a later date. The Hansen Funeral Home in Vermillion is handling the arrangements.

Reprinted from the Hansen Funeral Home memorial

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