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Orville Lee Bandy: 1917-1973


Edith Vincent
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

Orville Lee Bandy died on August 2, 1973, in Inglewood, California, from acute leukemia. With his sudden and untimely passing, the field of micropaleontology lost one of its most able and productive workers, one who contributed greatly to our knowledge of the ecology, distribution and biostratigraphy of benthic and planktonic foraminifera.

Orville was born in Linden, Iowa, on March 31, 1917, but his family moved to Corvallis, Oregon, when he was four years old. His higher education began at Oregon State University, where his interest in Cenozoic paleontology and stratigraphy was aroused, and he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology there in 1940 and 1941. He served as a communications officer in the U. S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, after which he worked briefly as a micropaleontologist for Humble Oil and Refining Company in Houston. Orville began his doctoral work in 1946 under the renowned J. J. Galloway at Indiana University, and was awarded his Ph.D. two years later. His dissertation, "Eocene and Oligocene Foraminifera from Little Stave Creek, Clarke County, Alabama", has become an important and widely known contribution.

After earning his doctorate, Orville joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in 1948 and taught for 25 years until his death. From his earliest days at USC, he was an energetic researcher and prolific writer, and his work at that time dealt primarily with descriptive and taxonomic aspects of Pacific Coast benthic foraminifera. In the early 1950's, however, he became increasingly interested in foraminiferal ecology and produced a classic report in 1953 on the "Ecology and Paleoecology of Some California Foraminifera." The first part of this paper related the frequency distribution of modern benthic foraminifera off southern California to conditions of depth, temperature, salinity and oxygen content. At that time L. 0. Emery was a colleague at USC, and his store of data on oceanographic aspects of the southern California shelf greatly aided Orville's research. In this paper Orville first used a form of cumulative frequency diagrams which came to be known, in some circles, as "bandygrams." In the second part of this classic paper, Orville related his findings on modern foraminifera to fossil faunas of the nearby Ventura Basin, defining Late Cenozoic subsidence rates there. He applied his method of studying foraminiferal distribution to Gulf of Mexico faunas, and published two major papers on this area in 1954 and 1956. In 1960 he expressed his principles of paleoecology in two papers entitled "Concepts of foraminiferal paleoecology" and "General correlation of foraminiferal structure with environment", and subsequently applied these methods extensively. In 1964 and 1965 he published many papers defining foraminiferal trends in various marine basins off California, in outfall areas along the California coast, in the Gulf of Batabano, Cuba, in the Peru-Chile Trench area, and in the Antarctic. In one of his more recent major publications, published in 1969, he derived rates of subsidence and sedimentation on the basis of benthic foraminiferal distribution for middle Tertiary basins in the San Joaquin Valley, California. His interest in practical applications of his studies made him a valued consultant in the petroleum industry.

Orville's interest in foraminiferal ecology and paleoecology was directed not only toward benthic foraminifera but to planktonic species as well. In 1959 he first recognized the geologic significance of coiling ratios in Globorotalia (Turborotalia) pachyderma, a tool which he and his students utilized to define paleoclimatic trends in California sections, and which many other workers found applicable to other geographic regions. After 1960 Orville turned his talents increasingly to the study of planktonic foraminifera and their utility in the solution of paleoclimatic, paleoceanographic and biostratigraphic problems. He produced a numerous and varied array of papers on nearly every aspect of Tertiary and Quaternary planktonic foraminiferal studies, and was an acknowledged leader in this field. His latest contributions relate planktonic zonations, magnetic reversals, and radiometric dates in land sections and deep-sea cores from various geographical areas. Dr. Bandy authored nearly 150 published works to date, with several others in press.

Because of his recognized professional excellence and immense capacity for work, Orville Bandy held offices in 13 professional and honorary societies of national and international scope. He was a member of the board of directors of the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research since 1959, and served as president of the foundation in 1966-1967. Orville was National President of the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists in 1971-1972. In all of his professional offices he exhibited forceful and reasoned leadership.

Professor Bandy's tenure as Chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences at U.S.C. from 1967 to 1972 was characteristically one of intense activity. In only five years he added five members to the faculty and initiated programs in geophysics, geochemistry and chemical oceanography. Despite his highly active research program, his participation in numerous professional activities, and his departmental chairmanshipl Orville continued to teach well-attended courses in micropaleontology, paleoecology and stratigraphy. Many of the current generation of young micropaleontologists owe their thorough training to Orville's demanding teaching methods, and many postdoctoral researchers from all over the world have benefited by working with him.

Orville is survived by his wife Alda, whom he married in 1943, and by his son, Donald, and daughter, Janet Lowinger.

In all he did in life, Orville Bandy strove for excellence and demanded it of his fellows. He was an enthusiastic worker, and his students and colleagues will remember many hours of lively and penetrating discussions. Work was his consuming interest in life, and he worked hard virtually until the day of his death. Without question he was one of the giants of our time in paleontology, and his passing is all the more tragic for its suddenness. For those of us who worked closely with Orville Bandy, it is hard to accept the fact that he is gone.


Reproduced From: Micropaleontology, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 1974), pp. 116-117.
Publisher by: The Micropaleontology Project, Inc.
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