In Memory

Eric Essene - Class Of 1957

Eric J. Essene Obituary

Eric J. Essene, a highly regarded and widely cited professor emeritus of geological sciences, died of kidney cancer on May 20 in Ann Arbor. Born in Berkeley, California, on April 26, 1939, he was 71 upon his death. Eric received his Bachelor of Science in geology from MIT in 1961 and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1967. He was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge Univer-sity in 1967-1968 and a research fellow at Australian National University, Canberra from 1968 to 1970. He joined the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in 1970. Considered by many of his peers to be the most influential petrologist of his generation, Eric received numerous awards and honors including the 2010 Penrose Medal, the top prize awarded by the Geological Society of America to individuals who signifi-cantly advance the study of geosciences. Another of Eric's enduring legacies is his direction and co-direction of over 100 M.S. and Ph.D. students, many of whom have gone on to stellar careers in the geosciences and are themselves training the next generation of geoscientists. Although always serious and hard-working at science, Eric enjoyed and loved life fully, often displaying his mischievous side with pranks still talked about even today among his friends and colleagues. Eric's father, Frank J. Essene, Ph.D. was a professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where Eric grew up. His mother, Molly (Rieva) Blazek Essene, M.F.A., was a beloved kindergarten teacher. In addition to his sister Karen of Honolulu, Hawaii, Eric is survived by his wife Joyce M. Budai, Ph.D., mother of sons Adam L. Essene and Zachary A. Essene, all of Ann Arbor, Michigan; former wife Gail E. Jones of Sanibel, Florida, mother of daughters Ren S. Essene, M.P.A. of Washington, D.C. and Missoula, MT, and Michelle Essene Harold-son, M.D. - wife of Jeff Harold-son, Pharm. D., and mother of Kai Dean Haroldson and Soren Eric Haroldson - all of Excelsior, Minnesota. The memorial gathering will be held at the Michigan League on Saturday, June 5 at 11 am. Donations in honor of Eric can be made to the Eric J. Essene Endowment for Graduate Student Fellowships c/o Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan, 2534 C C Little Bldg, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1005 or online at www.lsa.umich. edu/ alumni/giveonline