Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


HAWLEY, John, Hawley Geomatters, PO BOX 4370, Albuquerque, NM 87106-4370 and MIFFLIN, Martin D., Mifflin & Associates, Inc, HCR 38, Box 126, Las Vegas, NV 98166,

David and Opal (Tess) Maxey, owner-operators of the Maxey Mine, produced not only some of the highest grade coal in the Bozeman, MT area, but also a son, George Burke (Burke to us, b. 4/3/1917), who became one the pre-eminent leaders of the emerging field of hydrogeology in the mid-20th Century. His seminal research on the hydrogeology of intermontane basin-fill and carbonate-rock aquifer systems of the arid southern Great Basin was based on 1) a rigorous field apprenticeship with the Meinzer-era USGS-WRD, and 2) a solid early academic background at University of Montana (B.S. 1939) and Utah State Agricultural College (M.S. 1941). Burke’s later work on carbonate aquifers was especially well served by his graduate research on Cambrian biostratigraphy of the Wasatch Mountain region, which ultimately produced a Princeton Doctoral dissertation (1951).

Burke’s dream of establishing internationally recognized state-level institutions for water-resources education, research, and public service was already being realized by 1955: first at the University of Illinois and the State Geological Survey (1955-1961) and then at the University of Nevada and the Desert Research Institute. His death at age 59 (2/6/1977) prevented Burke from fully enjoying those substantive fruits of his labors. He also actively promoted hydrogeology in the private arena, and above all in national and international professional organizations. With Phil LaMoreaux, he co-founded the GSA Hydrogeology Division in 1959. Burke was its first Chairman and a Meinzer Award recipient (1971), and he posthumously received the first Distinguished Service Award (created in his memory in 1984).

We honor Burke Maxey not only as a mentor and close colleague, but even more as a generous man of many passions. He, his beloved wife Jane Clow Maxey, and their five children welcomed all into the ever-expanding hydrogeo-family with one basic requirement: A World view that extended beyond earth science into other areas of philosophy (natural to moral), thus insuring that any interaction (classroom, office, home, night-spot, etc.) was a truly Socratic experience. Some products of the educational system and supporting institutions that he was instrumental in creating are here today, but hundreds more are out there in the Real World doing their best to get the geoscience right.