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Reaser helped build geology department

Donald F. Reaser
Donald F. Reaser

Donald F. Reaser had a love for geology that spanned most of his life, and he passed that love on to his students during a career spanning over 40 years as a professor at UT Arlington.

Dr. Reaser died Dec. 29 at a Waxahachie hospital of complications from a stroke. He was 78. Funeral services were held Jan. 2 and he was buried in Waxahachie City Cemetery.

He helped build UT Arlington's geology program, now the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

"Don, along with others, formed the foundation of the department's long-term development," said Dr. Howard Arnott, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science from 1974-90. "He was a true scholar/teacher, and as such was a great role model for both local and external colleagues."

He retired in 2003 but continued to teach at UT Arlington as a professor emeritus until last year. He had particular passion for field work, and upon his retirement, a scholarship endowment was established in his name to defray the cost of geology field camp for UT Arlington students.

"I remember Don as a scholar and gentleman; he strongly supported his department and the university in every way possible," Arnott said. "Don was one of a group of high-quality professors in geology. Together, they formed a distinguished faculty that had an abiding interest in the welfare of their students"

Dr. Reaser was born Sept. 30, 1931, in Wichita Falls to the late Norene Wales and Fred S. Reaser. He grew up in Bowie and in Highland Park, where he graduated from high school. He attended North Texas State Teachers College, now the University of North Texas, before transferring to Southern Methodist University. At SMU, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and was active in the ROTC program. He earned a bachelor's degree in geology in 1953, then served two years in the Air Force. He returned to SMU to earn a master's degree in geology in 1958.

He started his teaching career at Arlington State College, which would later become UT Arlington. After a brief stint working for Dr. Donald F. Reaser Humble Oil in West Texas, he resumed teaching in Arlington. He earned a Ph.D. in geology from UT Austin in 1975.

He was a certified professional geologist of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and a registered professional geoscientist with the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists. He was a 32nd-degree member of the Masonic Lodge.

"Don was always generous with his time and money, and always looked for the good in everyone," said John Wickham, chair of UT Arlington's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Survivors include his wife, Bette Forrest Reaser of Waxahachie; sister-in-law, Dell F. Andrews of Waxahachie; stepson, David Forrest Anderson of Richmond; cousins, James F. Strong of Point Venture, Robert Wales of Melissa and Marita Wagner of Midland; and nephews, John F. Andrews of New York,, N.Y., Jeff Andrews of Dallas and Bill Borders of Aurora, Ill.

Memorials may be made to the Donald F. Reaser Scholarship by mail, University of Texas at Arlington, P.O. Box 19049, Texas 76019, or online at the following link: