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Howell V. Daly
In Memoriam

Howell V. Daly

Professor of Entomology, Emeritus

UC Berkeley
Howell Vann Daly, Jr. passed away on August 27, 2018. He was born on October 30, 1933, in Dallas, Texas. By the age of nine, Howell was determined to pursue studies as a naturalist. He was a collector of many wild animals, rocks, shells, fossils, arrowheads, books, and stamps. In one of his early classes in grade school in Dallas, Howell climbed out of a classroom window and headed home early from school, claiming that he already knew everything that the teacher knew. From the age of nine to sixteen, he was involved with the Boy Scouts, achieving Eagle Scout in 1949.

Howell obtained his B.S. degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1953 with a major in biology and a minor in geology. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, mentored by the world-renowned bee biologist, Dr. Charles D. Michener.

Howell began his career at UC Berkeley in 1960 and became a full professor in 1971. He was known for his research on small, but important, groups of native bees such as the small carpenter bees of the genus Ceratina and the masked bees of the genus Hylaeus. He wrote many papers on these bees, and recently the Ceratina lived up to Howell's suggestion that they would one day be important in agricultural pollination systems. Howell was also credited for his work on using morphometric wing analysis for distinguishing the European honey bee from the Africanized honey bee in California when the latter bee entered the state. It was a breakthrough analysis for separating these two very similar-appearing bee taxa. In 1978, he was the first of three authors of a classic book, Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity (Oxford Press). Later editions of the book were continued by colleagues of Howell.

Howell had a keen sense of curiosity and was always busy and eager to learn. He was adventurous, observant, and impulsive to the point of pursuing a project that some could say verged on risk-taking. For example, on one of his two sabbaticals to Africa, he once went off into the bush in search of bee nests, and emerged from the bush followed at about 30 feet by a large African male lion. The lion may not have been hungry, as it just followed Howell and displayed only a lazy curiosity in the bee collector.

Howell was a natural teacher and was always looking for ways to improve the information he presented formally and informally to students and to others who were part of his personal world. His knowledge was transmitted enthusiastically. For Howell, it was always a teachable moment when he shared a fact or a story. If he was faced with a question that he didn't know how to answer, he would research it and later offer an explanation. Questions challenged him. Howell's classes were always filled to capacity with curious students, especially his basic Entomology 100 class on the world of insects. Students frequently called this class the best natural history class they had taken at Berkeley. 

Howell was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 1981 by the Entomological Society of America. In 1982, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Academic Senate at Berkeley, and he also served four years on the Senate's Committee on Courses of Instruction, including one year as chair. Howell retired in 1994 as professor emeritus in entomology after a distinguished career spanning 35 years at Berkeley. In 1995, he was awarded the Berkeley Citation for distinguished achievement and notable service to the university.

Howell had many hobbies, most of which were tied to his teaching and research interests. These included fly fishing and tying realistic-looking flies, which he also taught to many interested fishermen and fisherwomen in workshops at UC Berkeley. Howell had an uncanny ability to spot a good fishing hole or stream. He was a bird watcher, a painter and sculptor of the natural world, a musician (violin and clarinet), and a yachtsman.

Howell Daly is survived by his wife, Barbara Daly, and his daughter, Diane Daly. To the authors of this narrative, former students of Howell Daly, he was one of the entomology greats of the Berkeley campus. To know Howell was to know insects and the many stories that he enthusiastically shared with us. He was a storyteller at heart.

Gordon W. Frankie
Rollin E. Coville