When I think of Jack my mind whirls back through half a century to our first meeting at Cornell University, where Jack held a professorship. Then there was our year bridging 1964 and 1965 when, together with our families, we both took a year's sabbatical leave at the Italian Institute of Hydrobiology in Verbania-Pallanza, located on beautiful Lago Maggiore. These were the days of Vollenweider, Bonomi, and the Tonollis. In those days the Institute had become almost a think tank for young aspiring limnologists. I also recall Jack's eminence at the Canadian International Society of Limnology (SIL) meeting, and our particularly exciting post congress trip to Lake Baikal during the first SIL meeting to be held in Russia. Then there were our joint lectures in Barcelona for the very distinguished ecologist/limnologist and oceanographer, Ramon Margalef. And last but certainly not least, were our joint assaults on the casinos of Europe, which continuously tested and drove to the limit our carefully crafted roulette system of detecting non-randomness.

Many of the exact dates have long since been lost, but my memories of Jack and the great times we had together in science and recreation will never be forgotten. To me, Jack, who was only a few years older than I was, had already achieved what in modern usage would be called a “role model” status for young scientists. And over the years he helped my fledgling career along, with an early invitation to Cornell to report on my Alaska thesis work on factors limiting the productivity of red salmon lakes, and later to give a plenary lecture at the triennial meeting in Japan on the early stages of eutrophication in Lake Tahoe. Further, his development of a secchi demonstration tank and his role as “Johnny Biosphere” for conservation education inspired me to hold a Children's Science day at Tahoe for the last decade. A few of the stodgier limnologists felt it was beneath their dignity to carry a globe on their backs and campaign for conservation among the younger set. I thought it was great and after his Johnny Biosphere lecture, Margalef and I followed him along the main walkway in Barcelona recording the impressions from the public which were universally positive. Further evidence of the impact of his talking globe was the next day, when his picture with backpack globe appeared on the front page of the local newspaper. To my knowledge he never gave up this campaign to imprint conservation ideas in minds of children. His unusual intelligence, his handsome striking appearance and his subtle ever smiling sense of humor were captivating. Jack was so impressive at the SIL meeting in Canada that I can clearly remember remarking to a colleague that Jack, with his charisma, should become the Prime Minister of Canada. But let me add a touch of organization to this recall that already goes back more than half a century and try to start at the beginning.

Much of my memories of Jack are of course tied closely to limnology and the SIL congresses in various countries. The SIL congress in Russia was particularly memorable since I took two students to the meeting and we each gave a paper with the other two as coauthors. The most exciting part of the trip was our post congress trip to Lake Baikal, the world's oldest and deepest lake. The boat trip to a lakeshore youth hostel center was incredibly cold and we were huddled together in the last boat to arrive at the camp. On each table was an impressive heap of caviar, the likes of which will never be seen again. Needless to say we consumed with relish. The Scandinavian contingent were bent on swimming in the cold lake and Jack and I, although not acclimated to the frigid waters of Siberian Lake Baikal, felt honor bound to join them in a short swim. Since I happened to be in possession of a bottle of Glenn Fiddich scotch, we used it to develop the courage essential to make the plunge (Figure 1). We raced up and down the beach in the near 50°F degree air temperature to warm up, passing the bottle back and forth as a baton with a short swig at each passing. Finally we dove in with our Nordic friends and despite the pain of the ice cold water, felt we were upholding the honor of the North American limnologists. This expedition and the meeting with Russian students later provided some of the inspiration to establish the Tahoe Baikal Institute for student exchange which is now in its 20th year.

In 1964 I was due for my first sabbatical leave and learned that Jack and family would be in Italy. I quickly applied for a Guggenheim postdoctoral to join Jack and Richard Vollenweider at the Italian Institute with our two families. I worked on correcting the calibration of carbon-14, demonstrating that the older methods were extremely inaccurate and spending many an hour discussing science with Jack and Richard. In our youthful exuberance, we decided that with patience we could win at roulette and began taking short trips on the weekends up the lake to the casino at Lucarno, which was just across the Swiss border. Our plan was simple and based on the idea that a man-made wheel was likely to be imperfect, thus favoring a few numbers over the others. By dutifully recording the numbers, while making small bets on black and red, we would establish if any numbers tended to repeat which they often did. By concentrating our bets on those numbers, or especially on repeating numbers that happened to cluster, we had surprising, although not overwhelming, success. A few years later we had occasion to meet in London where we repeated our technique and also won a small amount. After the sabbatical a small package arrived from Jack and much to my delight it contained a poker chip from each of the casinos we had visited, which he had kept and imbedded in clear hard plastic as an office paper weight.

I guess what I really enjoyed most about Jack was his truly refreshing natural enthusiasm about anything he undertook. This and his natural courage were clearly evidenced by his working with David Schindler on the revision of The Algal Bowl: over fertilization of the world's freshwater and estuaries (Vallentyne, 2008), right up to his final hours. We have all lost a great friend and a wonderful man.


Vallentyne, J. R. and Schindler, D. W.
The algal bowl: over fertilization of the world's freshwater and estuaries
Univ. of Alberta Press