Brandon University mourns passing of Dr. R. K. Springer

September 21, 2022

A man stands on a hill and talks to several other people
Dr. Robert K. Springer, wearing the yellow jacket, talks to students in 2008 in Flin Flon, Man., while coming out of retirement to teach a field course.

The Brandon University (BU) community is saddened by the passing of Dr. R. K. (Bob) Springer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geology. Dr. Springer passed away on Friday, Sept. 16 at the age of 78.

Dr. Springer was born in Guelph, Ont., and grew up in Winnipeg. He attained his Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree at the University of Manitoba, before going on to earn a Master of Science and a PhD from University of California, Davis.

He began his career at Brandon University in 1971 and served until his retirement in 2005. Colleagues remember Dr. Springer as a fantastic educator with a students-first mentality and a strong skill set in field geology.

A man stands and leans on a long stake while two other men sit nearby

Dr. R. K. Springer, left, pictured in 2008 when he came out of retirement to teach a field course in Flin Flon, Man.

“I had the pleasure to be a student in many of Bob’s classes and labs during my undergraduate degree at Brandon University. He was definitely a big reason why I pursued a geology-based career.  He opened-up a fantastic window into the natural world through his teaching and mentorship,” recalls Dr. Simon A.J. Pattison, a Professor and Chair of BU’s Department of Geology. “Later I had the honour to work as a colleague of Bob’s in the Department of Geology. He really helped me get established and grounded as a junior faculty member, and was instrumental in making me feel welcome. I am deeply saddened by his passing and will miss him greatly. RIP Bob.”

A specialist in identification and evaluation of rocks and minerals, including igneous and metamorphic rocks, Dr. Springer conducted decades of field-based research in the Western Sierra Nevada Mountains and foothills of California. He also taught the biennial Field Geology course in the Flin Flon region of Manitoba from the early 1970s until the early 2000s.

Dr. Springer and his wife, Sharon, were supporters of BU and members of the Order of the Sheaf for their generous donations to the University.

Service arrangements are being made through Memories Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Western Manitoba Cancer Centre, c/o BRHC Foundation, 150 McTavish Avenue East, Brandon, MB R7A 2B3.

The flag at BU will be lowered to half-mast in his honour.