William D. Hummon

hummonIt is with sadness that we share news of the passing of MBL Society Emeritus member Dr. William D. Hummon who died on January 1, 2017.

Dr. Hummon conducted doctoral research at the MBL in the late 1960s as part of the Systematics Ecology Program, and returned to MBL for further research in the 1970s. He became a Society member in 1971. He was a long-time faculty member at Ohio University in Athens (1969-2002), where he was Professor of Zoology.

An obituary written by his family is below.


William Dale Hummon (Bill), 84, died at home in Athens, Ohio, on January 1, 2017, under Hospice care. He was born on July 27, 1932, in Akron, Ohio, the son of Dale Levi Hummon and Lorena May Payne Hummon. He married Julia Margaret Raper (Meg) on December 24, 1958, at her family home in Oakton, Virginia. They have two daughters, Julia Margaret Hummon of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Cheryl Hummon of Salem, Oregon.

After earning a BA in Philosophy at the University of Montana, Missoula (1955), Bill was a conscientious objector to military service, and served as an attendant at Apple Creek State Hospital in Ohio in lieu of military service (1955-58). He then returned to the University of Montana for a BS in wildlife biology (1960), and an MA in Teaching of Biology (1961). He received a PhD in Zoology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1969).

His teaching career included Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington (1961-65) and Ohio University in Athens (1969-2002), where he was Professor of Zoology. He was an engaged advisor to generations of undergraduates. Bill ran an active research laboratory, supervising eleven MS students, two PhD students, and three Post-doctoral students, with a focus on freshwater and marine invertebrate ecology. His own research was primarily on marine Gastrotricha (microscopic, free-living invertebrates that live between sand grains on beaches). He discovered, named, described, and published several new genera and numerous new species. His research was supported by Ohio University and by federal grants, and included extended periods at marine labs in Scotland, England, Israel, Egypt, Washington, Oregon, the US Virgin Islands, and the Florida Keys. Bill was active in several scientific societies, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A founding and active member of Athens Friends Meeting (Quakers), Bill was a lifelong student of biblical history and literature and Quaker history, and did post-graduate work at the Earlham School of Religion (Quaker) in Indiana. He was a draft counselor during times of war. He enjoyed travel, backpacking, and photography. He had a special love for nature and wilderness.

Bill is survived by his wife Meg, daughter Jules and son-in-law Steve Howell, daughter Cheryl, sister Barbara Hummon Rice of St. Petersburg, Florida, and many nieces and nephews. Memorial gifts may be sent to Athens Friends Meeting (PO Box 17, Athens, Ohio 45701), Earlham School of Religion (228 College Ave, Richmond, Indiana 47374), or The Athens Conservancy (PO Box 2281, Athens, OH 45701).

A memorial service will be held at Athens Friends Meeting in Chauncey, Ohio on February 18, 2017. 3 PM service, with reception to follow.