Tuesday, November 4, 2014

D. Gentry Steele Obituary 1941-2014

D. Gentry Steele, 73, of College Station, Texas, went to be with his Lord on October 27, 2014.  There will be a Celebration of Life for Gentry at the Brazos Valley Museum on Saturday November 8, 2014 at 12:00pm. 

Gentry was born to the late John and Ethel Steele on February 8, 1941 in Beeville, Texas.  He earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of Texas and then a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.  His first teaching position was at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, AB, Canada.  He returned to Texas in 1979 to teach at Texas A&M, where he influenced many generations of biological anthropologists and archaeologists.  A true renaissance scholar, Gentry made significant contributions through his research in the fields of zooarchaeology, human skeletal biology, and First American paleobiology.  He retired and was named an emeritus professor in 2002.  

At Texas A&M, Gentry was an active and productive scholar, with many academic journal articles and book publications to his credit, including Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of theAmericas, which he co-edited with Robson Bonnichsen, head of Texas A&M’s Center for the Study of the First Americans. Gentry’s classic study The Anatomy and Biology of the Human Skeleton, co-written with Claud A. Bramblett and published by Texas A&M University Press in 1988, has been praised and used as a textbook in courses around the country.

Gentry also served as the general editor of Texas A&M Press’s distinguished Anthropology Series, which attracted books ranging from The Archaeology of Death and Burial, by British author Mike Parker Pearson; to Race?: Debunking aScientific Myth, by Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle of the American Museum of Natural History; and the recently published Identifyingand Interpreting Animal Bones: A Manual, by April M. Beisaw of Vassar College.  He was also one of the eight scholarly researchers who successfully challenged the US government for the right to conduct a scientific investigation of Kennewick Man, the most important human skeleton ever discovered in America, and was a contributor to the definitive book on that subject, recently published Texas A&M Press, whose lead editor is Doug Owsley, head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution.

Gentry’s longtime interest and talents in photography came to fruition when he and his wife Patty photographed and documented journeys into West Texas in Land of the Desert Sun: Texas’ Big BendCountry.  Later, he and Jimmie Killingsworth also produced a beautiful coffee-table book called Reflections of the Brazos Valley, also published by Texas A&M Press.

Gentry leaves behind his loving wife of 34 years, Patty Steele; his daughter Heather Steele Felty and son-in-law Patrick Felty; his brother John Steele, sister-in-law Peggy Steele, sister Patsy Uzzell and brother-in-law Bobby Uzzell; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews; and countless colleagues and dear friends.

In honoring Gentry’s wishes, memorial contributions may be made to the D. Gentry Steele Scholarship Fund.

Please also share memories and tributes to Gentry at www.hillierfuneralhome.com.

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