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Posted April 14, 1999

Kenneth Gardels

Kenneth Gardels, a research staff member in the College of Environmental Design, died April 2 of liver cancer. He was 44.

Gardels received his master's degree in landscape architecture at Berkeley in 1986. He continued to pursue his research under the leadership of the late Professor Thomas Dickert, focusing on the use and development of geographic information systems (GIS) and computer technology to advance the practice of environmental planning. He became a research specialist, and helped found the Research Program in GIS and Environmental Planning (REGIS) in the Center for Environmental Design Research. His pioneering research resulted in the creation, with Susan Huse, of the world's first web-based GIS: Grasslinks.

Former colleague Robert Twiss, professor emeritus of landscape architecture, said there would be "no replacing Kenn's vision and leadership."

"Most of all, we will miss the sense of community and camaraderie he brought to our small group of scholars and students," Twiss said. "Kenn exemplified those qualities we all admire most: warmth, caring, patience, humor, dedication and a profound love of life."

Thanks to Gardels' foresight, REGIS was honored by GIS World Magazine in 1993, voted the best university web site worldwide. Last month, REGIS was ranked the most-cited university web site in the GIS field. Just a week before his death, the international Open GIS Consortium created an award honoring Gardels for his contributions to Open GIS technology and to the GIS community.

Gardels is credited with coining the term: "Open GIS," a concept that seemed far-fetched only a decade ago. Fortunately, he lived to see his idea of open access to information and computing power come into being. Now, the public, scholars and professionals are receiving information and GIS tools vital to environmental protection and land-use planning over the Internet, free of charge.

Gardels served as a technical committee member for CERES, the State of California Resources Agency web center. He also served part-time as vice-president for research and evelopment of the Regional Science Institute.

Karen Garrett

Karen Garrett, manager of survey services at the campus' Survey Research Center (SRC), died March 27 after fighting breast cancer for two years. She was 48.

Garrett began working at the survey center in the mid-1970s and for the past 15 years was a central person behind the success of its survey services.

Calling Garrett "a major figure in survey research," Henry Brady, director of the center, called her death "a great loss to social science research."

"Karen had an extraordinary knack for helping researchers figure out what they really wanted to do, and for guiding them to see what they should do," Brady said. "She had a special genius for turning research hypotheses into designs and ultimately into questionnaires that made sense to ordinary people.... Karen was among a small group of people around the country with these talents, and time and again, researchers returned to the center to seek her special abilities."

Garrett mastered the challenges of academic research and coordinated the details of project management. She was at home in the domains of academic investigation, government research and campus personnel management. During the past two decades, Garrett was involved with many path-breaking studies. She coordinated a dozen different academics to create a seamless multi-investigator questionnaire that embedded multiple experiments within a survey. In a series of welfare studies, she obtained high response rates from a very hard-to-reach population. Beginning in the early 1980s, she worked on the pioneering MenUs Health studies and related research on HIV/AIDS.

"It was a privilege to work with Karen for 19 years," said co-worker Lisa Kermish. "There was nobody smarter or swifter than she was, nobody better at seeing the big picture. She expected the best from her staff and they rewarded her with great affection and loyalty."

Garrett authored a number of publications that appeared in psychology, sociology and public health journals, and she co-edited, with Professor Troy Duster, "Biological Rhythms and Social Relations." She received her bachelor's degree from Berkeley in 1973, her MA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1977, and did PhD work at Berkeley.

On Wednesday, March 31 the campus flag was flown at half-staff in Garrett's honor. She is survived by her husband James Harris, a technology consultant for the Interactive University Project; their children, Anna, age 10, and Aidan, 5; her parents, Basil and Frances and her sister, Janice.

A memorial service was held April 2 in Piedmont. Donations in Garrett's memory may be sent to the Breast Cancer Support Group, Alta Bates Foundation, 2450 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705-9989.

Donald Savage

Professor emeritus of paleontology Donald Savage, a world-renowned expert on the origins of mammals and the evolution of anthropoid apes, died April 5 of pancreatic cancer. He moved from his home in Clayton to a hospice in Rossmoor shortly before he died. He was 81.

Savage spent much of his life correlating mammal fossils with specific geologic formations, a field known as biostratigraphy. He traveled the world in search of mammalian fossils, and was an authority on Bay Area fossils.

One of his key finds was a primate jaw that today remains one of the earliest known fossils of higher primates.

"This fossil was the earliest step toward humans," said co-discoverer Russell Ciochon, now chair of anthropology at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. "This discovery set up Burma and Southeast Asia as a pivotal center of primate evolution and helped get more people interested in Asia, in addition to Africa and Europe."

Savage was born in Floydada, Texas, in 1917. He received his BS from West Texas State University in 1937 and his MS from the University of Oklahoma in 1939 before serving a six-year stint in the U.S. Air Force.

In 1946 he came to Berkeley as a graduate student and served as an instructor in the paleontology department until 1949, when he obtained his PhD and joined the faculty. He also was appointed curator of mammals in the museum, a post he held until his retirement in 1987.

Savage served as chair of the Department of Paleontology from 1966 to 1975, and was director from 1970 to 1971. During these years he helped expand the museum collections to include plant and invertebrate fossils as well as vertebrates.

Savage is survived by his wife, Than Myint Savage of Clayton, Calif., and five children from his first marriage: Suzanne Savage of Oakland, Calif.; Sheryl Long of Gainesville, Fla.; Brandon of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Michael of Santa Monica, Calif.; and Stephanie Edsell of Eugene, Ore.

A memorial service was held at the Strawberry Canyon Club House on April 14.


April 14 - 20 (Volume 27, Number 30)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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