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Anthony Meredith Evans 1929-2017

xsfgjEconomic geologist at Leicester University remembered with affection for his dedication and kindness

Tony Evans, a versatile economic geologist and Senior Lecturer in the Leicester University Department of Geology until retiring in 1990, died on 11 July aged 88 after a long illness.  

He was born and grew up in Chester and attended Ruthin School in North Wales.  He obtained his Higher School Certificate (1947) and did military service in the RAF, qualifying as a wireless mechanic.  He then went to Liverpool University to read geology and physics, obtaining an honours degree in Geology (1953).  He then attended Queen’s University, Ontario conducting four summers’ field work with the Ontario Department of Mines in the Haliburton-Bancroft mining area.  He did his PhD on the mineralogy of the copper-nickel ores of Sudbury and was appointed by the University of Leicester (1957) where he worked for the rest of his career.

As Assistant Lecturer, he joined Mac Whitaker and Trevor Ford in teaching all branches of geology up to the standard required by London University External Honours Regulations.  His duties included teaching mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geophysics, economic geology, map interpretation, geochemistry, Precambrian stratigraphy and structural geology.  

As the youngest geology department in the country Leicester aimed to put on new and imaginative courses.  Tony foresaw growing global demand for base metals, despite a shortage of exploration geologists (applied geology being then largely ignored in British universities).  He proposed a one year Masters in Mineral Exploration and Mining Geology, welcomed by the University, which provided space and appointed additional staff in applied geochemistry (Cliff James) and geophysics (Aftab Khan).  

The course started in 1965 and was an instant success.  The only comparable courses elsewhere in the world were at Imperial College and Colorado School of Mines.  It attracted UK students sponsored by NERC; but most were sponsored by mining companies and government departments worldwide.  

Tony took teaching seriously and carefully pepared lecture summaries, which students greatly appreciated.  He was less enthusiastic about the textbooks available, so (in 1980) wrote his own: Ore Geology and Industrial Minerals: An Introduction, which has become a classic, running to a third edition in 1993. In 1995 he edited the equally successful complementary Introduction to Mineral Exploration, which ran to two editions.

He was a great field-course leader , visiting well-known mining areas in Europe with help from colleagues from nearby universities. This led to exchange visits and international collaboration in teaching and research - later with EU funding.  He supervised research students and published over 50 papers on radiometric dating, fluid inclusions, ore mineralogy, sulphide mineralisation, ore genesis, structural control of mineralization, and applied geology education.

Tony was elegant and cultured, with interests ranging from classical music and theatre to Test cricket.  He was kind and considerate to students and younger colleagues, to whom he was welcoming and helpful and who remember him with great affection.  A devout Christian and dedicated family man, he was active in the church at his home in Burton-on-the-Wolds.

He is survived by his wife Jo and children Nick and Caroline and will be sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues.

By Aftab Khan