Tribute To J. Robert Woolsey

Cruickshank, Michael
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
Bob Woolsey was born in 1936 in the state of Georgia and grew up to be a man of great integrity, vitality, wisdom and charm, totally neutral on matters of race, gender, and religion. A true Southern Gentleman in every sense of the word. His passing on July 9, 2008, the victim of an automobile collision, left an empty space in the hearts of his family, and his many friends and colleagues throughout the globe. The posthumous award of the Moore Medal of the International Marine Minerals Society, to Dr. J. Robert Woolsey for Excellence in the Development of Marine Minerals, is a well deserved tribute to this man who spent the last 30 years of his professional career heavily involved in research and development of marine minerals on an international basis. He first came to my attention in Burma in 1979 where, as a newly appointed technical advisor to the United Nations Development Program Offshore Exploration for Tin, I had to fill the shoes of an almost legendary figure "Dr. Bob", who accompanied by his wife Maxine had spent the previous two years initiating the program. Bob had planned to completion the construction in Singapore of a unique drilling vessel the RV Sea Drill, a spud anchored, twin-hulled barge, mounted with a Becker Drill, and designed for sampling alluvial tin deposits in the coastal waters of the Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea, off Tenasserim. He had also designed and built, with the help of his side -kick Bruce Jernigan, a barge mounted dressing plant for reducing and concentrating the drill samples. The adventures of Dr. Bob in transporting the equipment to the drilling site in monsoon weather and the transfer of the drill barge from the Malaysian port of Ranong across the strait to Victoria Point in Burma with a mutinous crew will remain in the hearts and minds of his Burmese colleagues for many a long year. On his return to the States he joined, in 1980, the faculty of the University of Mississippi (UM) as assistant Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering. His prior experience in private industry and the United Nations had focused on marine mineral resources and related environmental engineering projects in Africa, South America, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific as well as south east Asia, working with dredges, mining for alluvial tin, gold, diamonds and industrial minerals. He continued to work in the area of marine minerals at UM, making a name for himself as Director of the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI).
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