RIP Daryl Karns, old friend

It is with great sadness that I was informed of the passing of Professor Daryl Karns of Hanover College, by his good friend and colleague, Harold Voris at the Field Museum of Natural History.

In 2001, I recruited naturalists to be eyes and hands for Daryl Karns, Harold Voris and Bruce Jayne who spent a summer in Singapore studying our aquatic snakes. The enthusiastic group was called the RMBR Snakehunters and project was highlighted in The Straits Times.

Daryl did a lot of work at Pasir Ris Park radio-tracking snakes and gave a public talk at the Ang Mo Kio Public Library on 4th April 2001 towards the end of his stay which was hosted by the Nature Society (Singapore).

Darul KArs-Pasir Ris Park 2001 [Harold Voris]
Click for pdf

It was such a delight to me that our paths had crossed. I enjoyed our time together and was struck by his humility, interest, camaraderie and respect for the volunteers, a true gentleman scientist, who contributed to my understanding of science and the world.

Chim Chee Kong, one of the snakehunters who would go on to study aquatic snakes for his MSc subsequently, emailed me this CNAH obituary this morning. I am posting this up here to share the sad news with the many enthusiastic RMBR Snakehunters who had the opoprtunity to work this fine gentleman.

Condolences may be sent by email to his family at morgan0109 (hotmail) or by post to:
Dr. Pam Middleton and family,
P.O. Box 83
Hanover, IN 47243

And you can share your memory of him at his obituary page here.

The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
8 June 2011


Dr. Daryl Karns, well-known herpetologist and Professor of Biology at Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana, died at the age of 61 of a sudden heart attack on the morning of 7 June 2011 near his home in Madison. Daryl was an active and vibrant teacher. Since his arrival at Hanover in 1984, Daryl was a dedicated faculty member who brought his passion for research into the classroom. He will be remembered not only as an outstanding teacher and colleague, but also for his wide-ranging research and contributions to the Rivers Institute where he was associate director. His record of service to the Hanover College campus community was significant; he will be greatly missed.

Daryl received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin, his Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas, and his Doctorate from the University of Minnesota; his teaching areas at Hanover covered evolution, ecology, and zoology.

Daryl earned The Hanover College Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity, a new award first given this year to a member of the faculty in recognition of sustained scholarly or creative achievement.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the Hanover College Foundation for Student Travel or Research Development. Contributions can be sent to the Department of Biology, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana 47243.

Update, 15 June 2011 from Harold Voris:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The memorial services for Daryl Karns were held outside at “The Point” on the campus of Hanover College last Sunday. The natural beauty of this sunny afternoon on a grassy knoll overlooking the great Ohio River was breathtaking. The tributes to Daryl were equally amazing.

The President of the College announced that the College was recognizing Daryl’s myriad contributions by naming the natural history trails adjacent to the campus after Daryl. A very appropriate tribute I think. I am attaching a pdf of the new trail map, so you can see it. Also, below is a link to a really nice story that appeared in the local newspaper regarding Daryl’s many contributions.

I know that we will all miss him in the coming years.

Harold K. Voris, Ph.D., Curator Emeritus, Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History


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