Spangler, Paul J. (Deceased)
Paul was born on November 21, 1924, in York, Pennsylvania. He was interested in biology since he was a young child. Through the years, his father, mother, and many good teachers encouraged him to study nature and spent time showing him the beauty and wonders of it all. After spending three years in the Navy during World War II, Paul attended Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania with financial help from the GI Bill. After receiving a BA degree in 1949, he decided to go on to graduate school and majored in entomology at Ohio University. After two pleasant years studying with and working as an assistant to Dr. William Stehr, he was granted an MS degree in entomology/zoology in 1951 (thesis, Aquatic Beetles of Ohio). He went on to the University of Kansas to study under Dr. Hungerford and Dr. Beamer. During the two years at the University of Kansas, he received a museum assistantship and most excellent curatorial training. The summer of 1952 was spent at the University of Michigan Biological Station as Dr. Hungerford’s assistant for a field course in general entomology, which was a rare treat. During that summer Paul collected and published his first description of a new species, Brychius hungerfordi, which is now on the federal endangered species list. Unfortunately and unknown to him, both Dr. Hungerford and Dr. Beamer were planning to retire in a few years and he was left without a major professor with an interest in aquatics. When the University of Missouri, through Dr. Wilbur Enns, offered him a position as an instructor with enough of a stipend that his family and he could eat, pay rent, etc., along with the opportunity to pursue his PhD degree, they moved to Columbia, Missouri. After he finished course work, he became an associate professor and a most rewarding aspect of that time was the opportunity to establish and teach a graduate course in aquatic insects. In 1957, he and his family moved to Juneau, Alaska, when he accepted a position as a fishery biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Although they planned to stay in Alaska for a much longer time, they left Juneau in September 1958 for the only job that could entice him from Alaska--an entomological position at the U.S. National Museum with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service. In 1960, he received his PhD degree in entomology/botany/zoology from the University of Missouri. In July 1962, he transferred to the Smithsonian Institute, Department of Zoology, Division of Insects, as associate curator of Coleoptera, especially aquatic Coleoptera. The Museum and Dr. Jack Clarke enthusiastically backed his wish to do extensive field work in order to study the fresh water biota. With support from various grants, he was able to spend time in the field in the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Antilles, South America, eastern and southern Africa, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. He married Phyllis Miller in 1948 and they had one son, Richard. Paul was an active member of Washington Biologists’ Field Club since his election to the Club in 1961. He served as chairman of the house and grounds committee from 1962 to 1973. Paul, age 86, died on June 05, 2011, at the Golden Age Living Center in Stover, Missouri. Obituary Paul Junior Spangler, age 86, died on June 05, 2011,at the Golden Age Living Center in Stover, Missouri. He was born on November 21, 1924, in York, Pennsylvania. Paul was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served during World War II. His higher education was gained at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, the University of Ohio and the University of Kansas before receiving his doctorate at the University of Missouri. For more than 4 decades, he was a Research Entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution, studying water beetles of the world. He also had interests in aquatic true bugs. It is difficult to discuss Paul Spangler without noting his wife Phyllis. For most of his career, she worked with him as a specimen preparator and assistant curator, and they were commonly within earshot of each other, both at the office and at their residence. Paul led fieldwork trips to many Latin American countries, returning to the USNM (United States National Museum) with copious amounts of specimens. With Karl Krombein, the Spanglers traveled to Africa, and added strong representation of African insect species. They spent fieldwork time mostly in tropical South America, and had the strong reputation of goodwill ambassadors with the staff of Museums and Institutions in that area. Paul retired from the federal government in 2002, rather abruptly, and, with Phyllis, drove to Warsaw, Missouri, where they lived out the rest of their lives on a farm with their son, Richard. Phyllis preceded Paul in death at the age of 82 on June 26, 2010. Sadly, Paul was a victim of advanced Alzheimer’s Disease in his last years. From: Ent News, The Newsletter of the Department of Entomology, Vol. 26, No. 2, June-August 2011