Geologist, museum curator dead at 52

RENO - Thomas Lugaski, the curator of the W.M. Keck Museum at the University of Nevada, Reno, died of an apparent heart attack at his home. He was 52.

Lugaski, who died Saturday, was chairman of UNR's interdisciplinary museology program and had held the top post at the Mackay School of Mines' museum since 1989. He was instructor of the university's museology course for several years.

''He was an ideal teacher,'' said University System Regent Howard Rosenberg. ''He liked students and he knew the content backwards, forwards and upside down.''

The Fallon native held a doctorate in biology and a masters degree in geology from UNR. He was the author or co-author of more than 50 scientific papers.

Earlier this year, Lugaski helped lead a team of paleontologists, archaeologists and university geology students in excavating the 3-million-year-old fossilized bones of a mastodon south of Gardnerville, a find he described as one of the most significant discoveries of fossilized remains in Nevada.

Survivors include his wife Lillian, son Christopher and daughter Kathryn.

A funeral is scheduled Thursday at Walton Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial scholarship is being established with the Thomas P. Lugaski Fund at Mail Stop 168, University of Nevada, Reno, 89557.


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