Obituary: Allan W. Hook, Ph.D.

Services for Dr. Hook in Austin will be held Sunday, September 8th, 5pm at St. Edward’s University’s chapel followed by a Celebration of Hook aka a “Hookabration” in the Maloney Room inside the Main Building, 3rd floor on SEU’s campus (look for the tallest, red-peaked building).  

In lieu of flowers/plants of any kind, please consider a tax deductible donation to Hook’s legacy, The Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment, instead:  http://bit.ly/1KR8YDv  (Choose OTHER for donation then type in HOOK ENDOWMENT)

Condolence cards may be mailed to the Hook House, P O Box 151240, Austin, TX 78715-1240.  (I’m torn between not wanting you to waste paper but wanting to support the U.S. Post Office.  Your call.)

~      ~      ~

OBITUARY:  Dr. Allan Hook, November 17, 1953 – September 3, 2013

HDU_Hookkissingarmadillo

Allan William Hook— known to the masses as “Hook”—passed away at his home at age 59 on September 3, 2013.   Surrounding him were his family and friends who gently guided him through to this end.

Hook was born on November 17, 1953, in Quincy, Massachusetts, but spent most of his childhood in Fair Haven, New Jersey, where he excelled in school science fairs and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Summer days spent as a lifeguard at Sandy Hook beach on the Jersey shore would help shape him, physically with a trim physique that he maintained with daily laps in the pool, and spiritually with a love for the sand and salt that later led him on many fishing junkets to Port Aransas, Texas.

But it would be wandering in the wild with his mother on nature walks that ultimately inspired his passion and lifelong love for natural science. Hiking through creek beds for fossils and taking the time to stop and turn stones and leaves in search of bugs fueled his curiosity about the natural world.  He embarked on a journey of learning that began at the University of Maine (Orono) where he received a bachelors in biology. Hook obtained a masters in entomology and zoology from the University of Georgia (Athens) and under the direction and guidance of the world renowned wasp expert, Howard Evans, he completed a doctorate in zoology and entomology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Academia led him to Austin, Texas, where Hook taught at the University of Texas and then as a professor at St. Edward’s University, where he spent over 25 years teaching evolutionary biology to undergraduates. His research focused on the social behavior and biodiversity of solitary wasps.  Hook spent much of his time roaming the fields and woods of Texas collecting insects, then collaborating with colleagues on research at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory on the West Austin shores of Lady Bird Lake. He also enjoyed several sabbaticals in the rain forests of Trinidad, Honduras, and Brazil collecting and collaborating with fellow biologists and smuggling home fiery, homemade hot sauces. For his peers, he was a source of respected research and knowledge, and if they were lucky enough, a hilarious companion for collecting trips into the wild.  He was dependable as a loyal friend and an endless source of ribald jokes muttered from an infectious smile.

In addition to a large body of published research, Hook had the honor of discovering three new species of insects which now bear his name: Nemomydas hooki (fly), and two, solitary wasps—Solerella hooki and Pseudopolis hooki.

In 2009, Hook married Rosemary Guzman (a non-bug person), and as any good hymenopterist would do, he took his new wife on a honeymoon to the jungles of Chiapas.  Together, Hook and Rosemary created the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund to support his reverence and study of nature.  This fund provides scholarships to any student in the world interested in conducting creative research at the Wild Basin Preserve in Austin, Texas.

Hook was preceded in death by his parents Walter Allan Hook and Andrée Jeanne Gougé Hook. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Guzman Hook, his sister, Claire Hook Patton (Curtis) and brother, Walter David Hook (Paula), step-mom Faith Hook, step sisters Sandy McCray (Big Mike), Gay Benedict (Roger), Amy Bergh (Greg); and numerous nieces and nephews.

Hook’s ashes will be spread in Texas and in the country of Trinidad. 

Services for Hook in Austin will be held Sunday, September 8th, 5pm at St. Edward’s University’s chapel followed by a Celebration of Hook, a “Hookabration” in the Maloney Room, 3rd floor of the Main Building, on SEU’s campus.  All are welcome.

As an advocate of sustainability, Hook’s final request was to encourage a donation to the Hook Wild Basin Fund in lieu of flowers/plants.  You may make that tax deductible donation to the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund at http://bit.ly/drahook

Or, you may mail your donation to St. Edward’s University’s Advancement Office, ATTN Hook Endowment, 3001 South Congress, Austin, TX 78704.   To read more about the Hook Wild Basin Endowment, click here:    To watch the YNN Austin interview about Hook’s life, click here:  http://youtu.be/OmFFv0hfYbI

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8 thoughts on “Obituary: Allan W. Hook, Ph.D.

  1. I met Dr. Hook many years ago through Dr. Starr at UWI and he accompanied me to Nariva Swamp hunting for wasps while I did my M.Phil field work. I live in El Paso now but for some reason he crossed my mind today and I was trying to remember what school he taught at in TX to look him up. I am sad to hear of his passing as he was a fantastic Naturalist and will always remember him fondly. God bless you and accept my deepest condolences. Always in my prayers and may he rest in peace.

    Regards
    Nicholla Johnson-Arriola

  2. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Al while studying at the university of Maine. We all boarded on the 4th floor of York Hall. We are very saddened to hear of his passing and will always be remembered for his spirit and fun loving nature

  3. That was a wonderful memorial that captures the essence of Hook! I also learned several things about him I didn’t know. I’m very sorry he left us – too soon – the world has lost a bright and ribald light. Fare well, Al Hook.

  4. Dear Rosemary,
    I was saddened to hear about your husband’s passing and I’m sorry I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him, until now, through your wonderful tribute to his life.

    I know that the work he did will continue to bless many people and that you’ll cherish the happy times and adventures you had while he was here.

    Barbara

  5. Dear Rosemary,
    I am overwhelmed by the beauty of your words of love for your husband, Allan. Your sharing of some of your deepest thoughts truly moved me to tears. I can only imagine all the gut-wrenching human emotions you’ve felt on this journey with your husband. You describe an amazing man of nature in Dr. Hook so eloquently. I’m grateful to you for helping me stop right now and reflect again that life is all about love.

    My sincere condolence.

    Jackie Gabbert
    T2P

  6. Al was my friend, a fellow entomologist, and my colleague at St. Ed’s. I wish he were still among us. My check for his Fund is on its way.

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