Mountain View Voice

News - April 20, 2007

Geologist N. King Huber dies at 81

by Zunaira Durrani

A memorial service will be held Friday, April 20, for geologist emeritus and Mountain View resident N. King Huber, who died at his Mountain View home Feb. 24. He was 81.

The service will be held at the USGS Science Center in Menlo Park, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Huber had been battling cancer since last summer and died in his sleep at his home on Diablo Avenue where he had lived for 51 years.

For years, Huber was considered the de facto geologist at Yosemite National Park, a position he honored with significant scientific contributions.

He received his doctorate degree from Northwestern University and then worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for 40 years. He went on to author two notable classics on Yosemite, his area of expertise and a personal passion. "The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park" and "Yosemite National Park Geological Map" are highly regarded for their geological investigation and simple narrative. The former has sold 24,000 copies and been reprinted three times.

Before he died, Huber completed a new book titled "Geological Ramblings in Yosemite," which is currently in press.

Huber was born in Duluth, Minn., where as a child he nurtured a curiosity in natural science, amassing agates along the shore of Lake Superior and building a collection of stones, insects and tropical fish. He served in the Army during World War II and returned home to earn undergraduate and doctorate degrees in geology at Franklin and Marshall College. He met and married Martha Ann Barr, who goes by "Nan," at the college, and they remained married until his death.

Huber was transferred to California in 1955, four years after joining the USGS as a summer field assistant. A trip to Yosemite with his wife in June of that year gave Huber his first brush with the Sierra Nevada mountain range that became the focus of his career.

His 50 years of working in the central and southern Sierra Nevada culminated in Yosemite National Park, where he was involved in the publication of a geologic map of the entire park, a more detailed geologic map of Yosemite Valley, and the popular book "The Geologic Story of Yosemite."

Among other achievements, Huber served in the director's office of the USGS in Reston, Va., and conducted geological mapping of Isle Roydale National Park in Lake Superior. As of his retirement in 1994, he had over 60 scientific publications to his credit. But his love of geology led him to produce several technical and layman's guides even during a 13-year retirement as USGS Scientist Emeritus.

Huber is survived by his wife Nan; sons Steven and Richard; sister Shirlee; and grandchildren Christopher and Nathaniel. Friday's memorial service begins at 1:30 p.m. in the courtyard patio of Building 2, USGS Menlo Park Science Center, 345 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Huber's name to the Yosemite Association, P.O. Box 230, El Portal, CA 95318, or online at www.yosemite.org/helpus/donations.html.

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