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ECN-L  February 2021, Week 1

ECN-L February 2021, Week 1

Subject:

Re: F. C. "Chris" Thompson

From:

"Michael A. Ivie" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Michael A. Ivie

Date:

Sat, 6 Feb 2021 13:09:24 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

Non-NU Email

This news hit me hard, Chris has been an important person in my life for 
decades.  We first were drawn together by more than just insect 
systematics, but also because of his love of all things Danish (his 
heritage) and my work in the former Danish West Indies. His 1981 Flower 
Flies of the West Indies came out a month before I had the cheek to do a 
talk at ESA on Fabrician type localities in the West Indies, something 
he knew far more about than I.  He was a well established professional 
and I a new grad student, but he came to my talk, and introduced 
himself.  He could not have been more gracious, and we started a long 
friendship.  A few months later, on my first visit to the SI, he gave me 
a reprint of his book, which confirmed and expanded on things I 
suspected about the history of Fabricius' Virgin Islands species.   
While in his office, he pulled down personal copies of rare books from 
the earliest days of insect taxonomy, translated critical Danish 
passages about Fabricius' connections to the Virgin Islands, and 
patiently taught me the intricacies of using Fabricius' works.  I was 
totally agog.  His library was a wonder, no one has mentioned his status 
as a world-class bibliophile. This was decades before a PDF existed, and 
access to these volumes was a rare privilege.

I saw Chris yearly after that.  Before the Dipterists got their act 
together for an annual meeting, he would always attend the Coleopterists 
Society meetings at ESA, and always accompany us to our after-meeting 
bar closing.  He was declared an Honorary Coleopterist one year in 
recognition of his encouragement and engagement.  His example of service 
to our community, young colleagues, ESA and the founding of ECN was a 
career model for my poor attempts to follow.

Chris was ever the most generous person with his time and help. He 
always cheerfully checked my latinizations before publications without 
once suggesting I could learn Latin myself, he would correct my errors 
of understanding of the Code by leading me through the answer, and never 
with any judgement.  When I began teaching the Code, he would patiently 
clarify questions to make sure I got it right.

I never went to the NMNH without visiting him, and it was always a long 
visit in the labyrinth of  his office.  Between ESA Governing Board, NSF 
panels and a year working there, and other visits, I was there 
relatively often.  His story telling was legend, and he could hold forth 
with detail and plot with incredible accuracy, always bouncing up to 
grab a book or paper to document his story.  He treated me to lunches at 
the Cosmos Club, and he and Ginny once treated Donna and I to a 
mind-shattering performance of Phantom of the Opera from the President's 
Box (yes, the actual private box of the US President!) at the Lincoln 
Center.  He repeatedly tried to recruit me to his beloved NMNH, and 
could not fathom how I could possibly want to stay in Montana when 
Washington was possible.  He loved that place dearly, but was clear-eyed 
about its problems.  Moving to Washington and our political parties were 
the only disagreements we ever had, and he was totally gracious about 
both - although he was clear I was doubly wrong. My first time at the SI 
in my wheelchair, Donna and I met he and Ginny as they packed up his 
office to move to Florida. He was horrified that I could not get my 
chair into his office, as always, worried about being kind to visitors.

For such a giant to me, I was surprised to see he was only 10 years my 
senior, that premature white mane had me fooled all those years.  Gone 
to soon, the entomological world is a poorer place without him.

Mike Ivie


-- 
__________________________________________________

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

NOTE: two addresses with different Zip Codes depending on carriers

US Post Office Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
PO Box 173145
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
USA

UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59718
USA


(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
[log in to unmask]

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