John James Prucha, 88, passed away peacefully on Oct. 22 in Syracuse, N.Y.
He was born on Sept. 22, 1924, in River Falls, Wis., to Edward J. and Katharine Prucha.
John earned his Ph.B. and M.Ph. from the University of Wisconsin in 1945 and 1946 respectively. He continued his education at Princeton University earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in 1948 and 1950. During his graduate study, he was an instructor of geology at Rutgers University and was assistant professor of geology there from 1949-1951. He was senior geologist with the New York State Geological Survey from 1951-1956 and then spent 7 years as a research geologist with Shell Development Company in Houston, Texas. His fields of specialization include structural geology, tectonophysics, basement tectonics, and regional tectonics of North America.
John joined the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University in 1963 as professor of geology and chair of the department. He served two terms as department chair from 1963 to 1970 and from 1988 to 1989. He was appointed dean of the College in 1970, serving until his appointment as vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1972. In 1985, he returned to the faculty in geology and spent a year as adjunct professor of geology at Texas A&M University,
In 1990, he retired from active service to the University and continued his professional involvement in the field of geology as a consultant. He is the author of over 30 reviews, articles, circulars, and bulletins. Additionally, he authored "Kinnickinnic Years" in 1993 with the late Norman "Bud" Foss. During his career, he was active in professional societies and as a consultant for governmental and educational entities. Locally, he served on the Board of Trustees for Le Moyne College, the Board of Directors for the Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County, and the Everson Museum of Art.
John is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Elizabeth Helfrich Prucha, and their ten children: David (Stella), Stephen (Marina), Katharine (Mario Innocenti), Carol (Daniel Evans), Mark, Barbara (Brian Clarke), Margaret (Paul Yarka), Christopher (Kathleen), Anne Marie (Hector Torres), and Andrew (Darren); 27 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren; a brother, Reverend Francis Paul Prucha, SJ; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his sister, Mary ("Mezz") Wilson.
Calling hours took place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel, 3690 Erie Blvd E., DeWitt, N.Y. Services were held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at All Saints Church, 112 Lancaster Place, Syracuse, N.Y.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the John J. Prucha Field Research Fund, Earth Sciences Department, Syracuse University, 200 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse, NY 13244.
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