- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Internationally recognized entomologist and well-known philanthropist Evert Irving Schlinger of Concord, professor emeritus, UC Berkeley Department of Entomological Sciences, passed Wednesday, Oct. 8 in Lafayette, Calif. He was 86.
Dr. Schlinger, who received his undergraduate degree from UC Davis and then his doctorate in entomology in 1957 from the University of California, Berkeley, was a world authority on a very rare, world-distributed group of spider-parasitoid flies of the family Acroceridae. His dissertation, available in the UC Davis Shields Library, was on "A Generic Revision and Catalogue of the Acroceridae (Diptera)."
He collected specimens on 37 insect-spider expeditions in 40 countries. His World Spider-Endoparasitoid Lab, located in Santa Ynez, Calif., was most recently associated with the UC Santa Barbara Department of Biology.
Dr. Schlinger chaired the departments of entomology at UC Riverside and UC Berkeley and initiated a new department at Berkeley called Conservation and Resources Studies."
The philanthropist funded professorships at universities across the U.S. with millions of dollars from his family foundation.
At UC Davis, he and his wife, Marion (now former wife), established the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics in 1996 through gifts from the Schlinger Foundation. It was their aim that the endowed chair would attract and sustain scholars and scientists working in the area of the systematics of insects, as well as arachnids.
Born April 17, 1928 in Los Angeles, Evert or "Ev" as he was known, chose UC Davis as his undergraduate school, where he quarterbacked the football team and ran track. He was a life and charter member of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association.
Dr. Schlinger received a UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Award of Distinction in 1999. A nominee wrote: "He has been an inspiring teacher, mentor and leader in entomology. Through his research foundation, he provides resources to enliven and enrich the prospects of systematics and biodiversity well into the future."
Michael E. Irwin, professional scientist emeritus from at the Illinois Natural History Survey. emailed members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology:
"Evert I. Schlinger passed away during the lunar eclipse in the early morning of Wednesday, October 8, 2014. He was a giant of a man in both stature and accomplishment. He fought for advancing science and improving the environment all of his life. He had a laser-like ability to dissect problems and find solutions. He was gentle, caring, yet held strong convictions. His work in the systematics of the small-headed fly family Acroceridae was deep and provided the foundation for future workers; his work in biological control was less known but profoundly influenced the course and development of integrated pest management. Perhaps his greatest gift to science was a cadre of students that have made impacts in many areas of entomology and education. For me, he will always be remembered as my best friend and a great mentor."
Dr. Schlinger is survived by his four children, Pete Schlinger; Mathew (Joanne) Schlinger of Redding; Jane (Brad) Omick of Lafayette, Calif.; Brian (Danelle) Schlinger of Palo Cedro, Caiif; 11 grandchildren; and brother Warren (Katie) of Pasadena, Calif.
His daughter, Jane, said her father "started his career collecting black widows at schools at the age of 9." She recalled that in addition to his love of family and science, he "loved to sing and had a love for opera--he attended the San Francisco Opera performances a lot."
Flipagram, online memory album created by daughter, Jane Omick of Layfayette