George A. Seiglie died in 1988 after a very full professional life which started in the Cuban civil service, progressed to the petroleum industry, then to academia and finally back to the petroleum industry During his career George positively influenced his colleagues and students. His micropaleontologic knowledge was extensive, his publications were numerous and significant, and his proprietary reports were of superb quality. At the same time, the words modest and unassuming would typify George's character.
George Seiglie was born in 1926 in Havana Province, Cuba, and received his graduate training at Havana University where he was awarded an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering (Geological). Upon his graduation in 1951, he accepted a position with the Cuban Commission of National Development. While in this service, he married Silvia Penabad in 1952, a happy union that lasted for 36 years until his death.
His outstanding professional capabilities as an engineer, geologist and micropaleontologist were quickly recognized b y the Commission of National Development when he was promoted to Geological Engineer in 1954 and subsequently Director/Research Geologist in 1956. It was during this time that George became more involved in micropaleontologic activities and was seconded to Petroleum Consultants in Pasadena, California, and later to Petroleos Mexicanos. Also during this period his two sons were born, Jorge Louis in 1953, and Carlos Alfredo in 1955. George accepted the position of Chief Micropaleontologist at the Cuban Institute of Cartography in 1960, where he was responsible for development of micropaleontologic research. A t this time, he became active in research on the larger foraminifera from the Cuban Cretaceous and also in Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous tintinnids of Cuba. In 1961, he served as Consulting Advisor on Micropaleontology to the Cuban Petroleum Institute. George's experience to this date in Cuba provided the foundation or thirteen publications, on both geologic and micropaleontologic aspects of Cuba, and also provided the data to establish two new Cretaceous genera, Ayalaina and Bermudezita.
At this juncture in his life, George and his family had to decide whether to remain in Cuba under the Castro regime or move to a less repressive society. This had to be a difficult decision for George, especially with two young sons to consider. Never afraid to face a challenge, however, George and his family moved to Venezuela where he became an Associate Professor/Investigator at the Instituto Oceanografico, Universidad de Oriente, Cumana. Here he taught historical geology and physical oceanography and also started research on the ecology and distribution of modern Caribbean foraminifera. His daughter Anna Silvia was born in Venezuela in 1963. Later, in 1966, George accepted the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, where he undertook a teaching load encompassing physical geology, historical geology and micropaleontology, as well as elementary and advanced paleontology. He was promoted to Professor at the University of Puerto Rico and, in 1969, also was appointed to the position of Scientist at the Puerto Rico Nuclear Center, Mayaguez, where he continued his research on the Tertiary stratigraphy of Puerto Rico and also on Recent foraminifera. This latter aspect focused on the response of Recent foraminifera to pollution.
George was enticed away from academia in late 1977-1978 when he accepted a postion as Senior Technical Associate with Gulf Research and Development in Houston, Texas. In this position, George undertook studies on wells from many areas of the world, including the Arabian Peninsula, West Africa, Australia, the North Sea and South America. These studies resulted in proprietary reports of outstanding caliber, as well as a series of formal publications on West African foraminifera. With the Chevron-Gulf merger in 1985 George became a Senior Biostratigrapher and studied the north rim of the Gulf of Mexico. Again, his work was of the highest quality despite the fact that he was diagnosed as having cancer in mid-1985. George valiantly fought this disease, remained on the job as long as possible, and, while in the hospital during the last few months was still trying to finalize some of his manuscripts for publication. He quietly passed away at his home on July 26, 1988.
All who knew George were impressed with his modesty and concern for others. He was an original thinker, innovative in his science, had an intense love of his work, and delighted in passing along his knowledge to colleagues and subordinates. This was accomplished with such an unassuming manner that all felt fortunate in knowing Geroge. His impressive publication record (over 100 articles), his taxonomic expertise (39 genera or subgenera established), and his extensive knowledge, did not detract from the essence of this man, which was kindness. Apart from micropaleontology, Geroge had three other prime interests. The first was his family, his second interest was in growing roses and he took pleasure in showing photographs of his better plants to his frients. H is third interest was in the field of music, and during his life he collected over 2,000 recordings of the classics. Again, he would quietly expound the virtues of one recording artist over another, imparting his extensive knowledge to others. He is, and will continue to be missed by all who knew him.