Dr. Arthur J. Ehlmann 1928―2017

Photo courtesy of TCU.

On August 28, 2017, the meteorite world, Texas Christian University, his former students and his many friends celebrated the life of Dr. Arthur Ehlmann, a kind giant of a man, a man who called Texas Christian University home for 60 years.

People from all walks of life, academics, business people, former students and others came to honor him and to thank him for the influence he had on their lives.

Left to right: Rhiannon Rose (TCU), Steven Singletary (UNC), Tim McCoy (Smithsonian), Philip Mani. Photo by Ann Karol.

Teaching was his first calling and the one most important to him. The campus of TCU was a place where he could be himself, encouraging people to learn, helping them to be their best with empathy and his enormous knowledge.

Denise Stone, a former student, said it well: He valued education and made teaching others his lifelong work. He called it “fighting ignorance and superstition”. He said, “People that are educated soak up all kinds of knowledge whether it’s on a test or not and whether they find it of immediate value or not.” His name in the geology department was “the King,” a name that suited him well.

Photo courtesy of TCU.

Education was so important to him that even after his retirement, at age 80, he volunteered to teach GED classes to people who, as he told me, “had a difficult start in life.”

And in his own kind way he is still doing it.

From the Memorial program. Photo by Ann Karol

His other great interest was geology. He loved rocks. After he met Oscar Monnig, meteorites became his favorite rocks and with the help of his long-time friend David New, he turned Mr. Monnig’s collection into one of the largest collections in an institution.

He never tired of looking at the new rocks being brought to him in his office. And even though only 3 out of the hundreds he examined turned out to be real meteorites, he was happy and excited every time.

Oscar Monnig. Photo by author.

David New circa 1992. Courtesy D. New.

He enjoyed going to mineral shows and often went to the Tucson Show. He loved to explore show rooms and displays, to discover new meteorites and to discuss meteorites with collectors and dealers.

I am one of those dealers and I still remember my first visit to Fort Worth and Art’s office. He wished aloud that I would find a buyer for one of the large masses of Travis under his desk, just so he could finally put his feet under his desk. I remember his gentle questioning as to why I wanted one specimen rather than another. I was green then, so new at this that I did not realize until much later that he was quietly teaching me how to think through and plan a trade with an institution. Thank you, Art.

Photo by Ann Karol.

Photo by Ann Karol.

Photo by Ann Karol.

Clarendon. Photo by Rhiannon Rose.

On Saturday August 19, Art rode his bicycle, as always, from home to meet friends for lunch at TCU, and to see the large mass of Clarendon, the latest meteorite being added to the Monnig Collection. They had their usual lively conversation about minerals and meteorites near the Gallery.

Then Art collapsed.

We lost a King and a very gentle man.

Photo by Ann Karol

Anne Black
With sincere thanks to Denise Stone, Ann Karol and Dorothy Norton Kashuba.

About the Author

I am a French-native, who moved to the States many years ago. Being in Colorado, I discovered the Denver Mineral Show, and I met Dr Alain Carion, the French expert and I started helping him during the Denver Show. Eventually he got me interested in meteorites but I really learned all about them when he asked me to translate his book “Meteorites” into English. That led to many new things: translation of his second book on meteorites, of various articles and most of all it lead to the creation of my website: IMPACTIKA.com in 1998. As a full-time meteorite dealer I now attend the shows in Denver, Ensisheim and Tucson where I have my own showroom. Along the way I also participated in the creation of the International Meteorite Collectors Association, where I was elected and re-elected President, and wrote many articles that you will find on Meteorite-Times.com.
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