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Richard Zingula


Richard Paul "Dick" Zingula passed away June 12, 2017, in Stephenville, Texas, at the age of 88. Dick was born in Marion, Iowa, on May 31, 1929, to George and Viva (Tudeen) Zingula. He worked on the farm where he was born and attended a one-room school house, graduating from Marion High School in 1947. In 1951, he graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in geology. He went on to graduate from Louisiana State University (LSU) with a master's degree in 1953 and again in 1958 with a Ph.D. in paleontology.
Dick married Patricia "Pat" Hargis in 1953 in Louisiana. They were blessed with two daughters, Paula and Elizabeth. Together, they lived in Houston, Cuba, and Calgary, Canada. They enjoyed many adventures, including SCUBA diving, exploring and traveling. Pat passed away in 2005.
Dick led a life of exploration and preservation. He spent his career as a geologist and micropaleontologist for Humble Oil and Refining Co. and Exxon Co., USA. Among many things, he worked on and studied the effects of oil rigs on marine environments. In addition to the many years he worked in Texas, he spent seven years working in Calgary, Canada, on the Alaskan pipeline. After retirement in 1986, Dick continued his work through consulting. His work also was his play. He held offices in the Houston Underwater Club Inc., the Texas Gulf Council of Diving Club and the Houston Underwater Photographic Society. He was active in Sea Space and volunteered with the Houston Gem and Mineral Society. His underwater explorations and land excavations for both work and play resulted in many scientific publications, fossil collections, scholarly lectures, family slide shows and handmade jewelry.
In 2008, he was honored with the Environmental Hero Award at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary dedication in Galveston, Texas. In 2014, Dick became a member of the LSU Dean's Circle for his contributions to teaching and research activities with the College of Science. In 2016, he donated microfossil specimens, micropaleontological supplies and reference materials to LSU's Museum of Natural Science. A fossil is named after him: the Cadulus (Gadila) zingulai Hodgkinson.
Dick was proud of his volunteer work with Interfaith Ministries. He volunteered with the Houston food pantry for 22 years. He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Houston.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; and a brother, Robert Zingula of Marion, Iowa.
Surviving are his daughters, Paula (Ron) Hamelik of Miami, Fla., and Elizabeth (Butch) Johnson of Arlington, Texas; granddaughter, Andrea Frankowski of Denver, Colo.; and brother, Gene Zingula of Marion, Iowa. Also surviving are many extended relatives who are left to cherish his memory.
Per Dick's wishes, his body was cremated. Services were held in Houston, Texas, on July 1, 2017. Interment will be at a later date.