It is with sadness that we share the passing of MBL Society Emeritus member Earl H. Weidner who died on August 23, 2022 at the age of 86. The MBL flag will be lowered in his memory.

Dr. Weidner first came to the MBL in 1970 as a post-doctoral fellow. He returned as a summer researcher from 1971 to 1993 and again from 1998 to 2006. Dr. Weidner was a library reader from 1994 to 1997 and from 2006 to 2022. He joined the MBL Corporation in 1971 and was an alumnus of two MBL courses—Basic Workshop On Recombinant DNA Methodology and Advanced Workshop On Recombinant DNA Methodology—both of which he took in 1992.

A memorial service will take place in Woods Hole next summer. An obituary provided by his family is below.

Earl ‘Harley’ Weidner

Following a heart attack, Earl Weidner passed away August 23, 2022 at the age of 86 at Cape Cod Hospital near the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, Massachusetts where he spent many of his summers. 

Earl was born November 13, 1935 in Burke, South Dakota and grew up in a loving farm family. He and his older brother Ray (deceased) both graduated from the University of South Dakota and had successful professional careers in the sciences.  Ray’s children and grandchildren were Earl’s family as well. A great-niece visited at Earl’s bedside shortly before he passed, and a great-nephew will carry out Earl’s final requests.

Known as ‘Harley’ to his close family, he was an uncle like no other. His stories became family folklore and will definitely be passed on through the generations. He was one of a kind; generous and loyal, with an active and curious mind and an appreciation for a fine martini and a good opera.

Earl received a Ph.D. in Biology from Tulane University in 1969 and conducted research at several institutions including Imperial College, London, The Rockefeller University, New York, and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  He joined the faculty of the LSU Department of Zoology and Physiology in 1972, teaching fall and spring semesters over 30 years and regularly conducting summer research at the Woods Hole MBL. His list of publications and academic pursuits is lengthy and available online. He remained active in research after his retirement and even added new fields of study, including investigating the death of Merriweather Lewis, and the Weidners’ ancestry.

Earl traveled frequently throughout his life, whether on adventures to new destinations or traditional trips with loved ones. When visiting family, he appreciated the simple pleasures of a meal and conversation, a church service, or holiday activities. He was also always a gracious host in Louisiana and Cape Cod. While traveling, he drank in local history, geography, and culture. Some of his favorite travels involved experiencing an astronomical event, like an eclipse, from an ideal viewing location. 

We will miss the friend who worked tirelessly to maintain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues around the world.  The campus police will miss the early morning jogger who ran many marathons including The Boston and The Antarctic Ice.  Lutheran pastors in Minneapolis will miss his weekly e-mails discussing their Zoomed Sunday sermons.   

Earl was a unique member of the department and university.  With a combination of gentleness and humility, he provided enthusiasm and optimism at every turn.  He - and his stories - will be sorely missed by all who knew him.