Russell A. Dorsey Jr. was an AAPG member who loved adventure, loved traveling and spent more than 30 years using his skills as a geologist for Esso and ExxonMobil in locations around the world.
His wife, Mary, a Florida native with an ear for languages plus musical and artistic gifts of her own, equally embraced the journeys that Russell’s geological career afforded them, and together they left a record of not just involvement in but active impact on historical, archaeological, civic and cultural groups wherever they resided.
Both are now deceased – Russell in 2001, and Mary earlier this year on May 19 – but their love of preservation and working together to help ensure better futures to global populations was manifested once again recently in a dramatic way for the AAPG Foundation.
Foundation Chair Jim Gibbs, leading the July meeting of the Foundation Trustees, announced that the Dorseys at their passing left a final contribution from their estate of more than $2 million to the Foundation.
“This wonderful gift came as a complete surprise to us,” Gibbs said, “and is a great example on the generous spirit and commitment to the future that the Dorseys demonstrated throughout their lives. They clearly enjoyed being involved in activities that benefited the world around them, and now they’ve helped ensure a brighter future for AAPG and the geosciences.
“This is something that will have an immediate and significant impact on helping the Foundation continue to meet our mission of supporting educational and scientific activities,” Gibbs added. “Education and the geosciences are at a critical stage, and a gift like this will very quickly be used to help make the future much brighter for many, many people.”
Gibbs also thanked the Dorseys for their example of selfless giving, which he said could inspire others to consider the AAPG Foundation as a way to ensure a geosciences legacy.
“We’ve all faced a lot of difficulties during the past year, and we’re now entering what feels to be a new era of geoscience education,” Gibbs said. “This gift and others like it are the reasons why the Foundation has been able to weather the storm – and to position itself to influence and remain relevant in tomorrow’s world.”
The Florida Connection
Russell Dorsey, born in Buffalo, N.Y., and the son of an industrial engineer, moved around the country with his parents as a boy, residing in New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee before coming to Florida and graduating from Lee High School in Jacksonville. Mary was a Florida native, born in St. Petersburg.
Both attended Florida State University, where Mary majored in Spanish and other languages, and Russell, after having spent a year in the U.S. Army, stationed in Korea, also studied Spanish but majored in geology, once telling a reporter that he prefers “outside work.”
His first job after graduation was in Caracas, Venezuela, with Creole Petroleum Corp., for a salary “higher than many of his former professors make,” according to news reports at the time. It was the start of a lifelong love affair with the profession, and with the thrill of traveling to new places.
Russell eventually went to work for Esso (later Exxon) in Turkey, and he and Mary were married in 1955. In addition to their time in Turkey his career also made stops in South America, Guatemala, the Middle East, Cuba, Spain, Hawaii, Africa and Houston.
He also authored several geoscience journal papers.
After his retirement the Dorseys returned to Florida and continued an active life:
• Russell was a volunteer for the Citrus County Historical Society, the Crystal River Archaeological Park, the Gulf Archaeology Research Institute and head of the GARI Physical Science Department.
• Mary, who also became an avid and applauded watercolor artist, became involved in historic preservations, especially of lighthouses. She also was a member of the Citrus County Historical Society and County Museum, and board president of the gulf Archaeology Research Institute.
Together they had a passion for “giving back” to the world that had given them so many adventures.
Gifts to the Foundation
Are you interested in supporting the future of geosciences – either with a gift now, or in the form of a legacy contribution?
For more information, send an email to [email protected], or call Diane Keim at (918) 560-644; or go to the AAPG Foundation website.