Obituary: Marshall Blackwell Eyster – Biology Faculty 1950-88, Veteran – November 17, 2015
Obituary for Marshall Blackwell Eyster
Marshall "Tom" Blackwell Eyster of Lafayette, LA, died peacefully on November 17, 2015 at the age of 92.
Survivors include his three children, Dr. Nancy Eyster-Smith and her husband Doug of Waltham, MA, Dr. Linda Eyster of Hyde Park, MA, and Kenneth Eyster and his wife Anita of Lafayette, LA; and six grandchildren, Jessica, Marshall, and Kevin Eyster, Sheldon and Martin Smith, and Oliver Pechenik.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Grace; his parents, Marshall A. and Viola D. Eyster; and both of his sisters, Marcia E. Mason and Carolyn E. Thomas.
Tom was born in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Scott High School in Toledo and attended the University of Toledo until World War II. During the war, he joined the Army Reserve and trained as a medic at the University of Chicago medical school. He later obtained his B.S. from the University of Chicago (1945). While in Chicago, he met his future wife, Grace Marie Loescher. Together, Tom and Grace attended the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) for graduate work. Tom received both his M.S. and Ph.D. from UIUC under Dr. S. Charles Kendeigh. In 1950, Tom accepted a teaching position in the biology department at Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana, which later became the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL). For 38 years, Dr. Eyster taught wildlife management, conservation, ecology, mammalogy, and ornithology courses and also mentored a number of graduate students. During his tenure, he served as faculty advisor to the USL Biological Society and served as director of the Region VI Science Fair.
His life-time passion was ornithology, and he was a member of many birding societies. From 1966 to 1968, he served as President of the Louisiana Ornithological Society. For over two decades, he coordinated and hosted the Audubon Wildlife Films Series on the USL campus. He had a federal permit to catch and band birds for academic study. For many years, Tom served as state coordinator for the state Breeding Survey and for the North America Nest Record Card Program. He also recorded bird abundance data for numerous annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts in Louisiana.
Tom enjoyed camping and traveling with his family every summer, especially to Colorado and National Parks throughout the western United States. In later years, he traveled with Grace and friends to over 25 countries. Tom lived a very full life and will be remembered with great fondness.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Louisiana Ornithological Society. (LOS Treasurer, 504 Whitebark, Lafayette, LA 70508)
Services will be private.
View the obituary and guestbook online at www.mourning.com
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