Laura Lee Weinzierl
Laura Lee Lane Weinzierl (1900-1928) was a pioneering micropaleontologist and an early expert in the method of biostratigraphic dating using fossil foraminifera.
Mrs. Laura Lee Weinzierl, nee Laura Lee Lane, died very unexpectedly in Houston, Texas, on September 28, 1928, from a sudden and severe attack of asthma. At the time of her death she was acting as a consulting micropaleontologist in association with Alexander Deussen, consulting geologist of Houston, Texas.
Early years and educaton
Mrs. Weinzierl was born in Louisville, Kentucky, July 28, 1900. Her early childhood days were spent in west Texas on a ranch. At the age of seven she accompanied her mother to Germany, where she lived for four years attending her first school while her mother was studying music. In the early part of 1911 she lived with her mother at Seven Oaks, Kent, England.
In 1911 she returned to America with her mother and lived in San Antonio for a short time. She was taken by her grandmother and mother to Los Angeles, where she attended a public school for approximately two years. After some time her family returned to San Antonio, and she graduated from the San Antonio High School in 1917. In the first year at the State University, her ambition was to major in English, but later, through the good advice and careful training of Professor Whitney, she chose geology as her profession, specializing the last years in paleontology.
In the summer of 1922, through the recommendation of Professor Whitney and Miss Esther Richards (now Mrs. Paul Applin), then a paleontologist for the Rio Bravo Oil Company, she accepted a position as paleontologist with Alexander Deussen. Here she had her first practical experience, under the supervision of Miss Richards. She returned to the State University in the fall of 1922 and graduated in 1923.
In the summer of 1923 she returned to Houston, Texas, taking up her work as paleontologist with Mr. Deussen. When Mr. Deussen became associated with the Marland Oil Company, taking charge of the operations of this company in the Gulf Coast district of Texas, Mrs. Weinzierl went on the geological staff of the Marland. When the company withdrew from the Gulf Coas in January, 1928, she opened an office as consulting micropaleontologist, maintaining her office with that of Mr. Deussen.
On April 3, 1926, she was married to John F. Weinzierl, chief geologist for the North American Exploration Company. She was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, joining this organization as an associate member in 1924, being later transferred to active membership. She has been an enthusiastic attendant of all meetings of the Association since the time of her admission to membership. She was a charter member of the affiliated Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, and a member of the Houston Geological Society. She was co-author with Mr. Deussen of the paper on the Hockley Salt Dome, presented to the Houston meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 1924, and published in the Salt Dome volume of the Association.
Mrs. Weinzierl's work in paleontology has been confined largely to a study of Foraminifera, and her active work was concerned with the use of these micro-fossils in identifying the geologic formations penetrated by wells drilled in the Gulf Coast. In these determinations and indentifications she had become very expert, and her determinations of geologic horizons and formations were recognized as beyond question by geologists concerned with Gulf Coast geology.
However, her interest in paleontology was not confined to Foraminifera, as she was likewise greatly interested in all phases of paleontology and geology, although her professional work required that she devote most of her attention to Foraminifera. She possessed a very charming personality and took a keen interest in everything with which she was concerned, and it is a matter of very great regret to her many friends that one whose future promised so much should be so suddenly removed by an untimely death from a life work just commencing.
- Deussen, A., 1929, Laura Lee (Lane) Weinzierl (1900-1928)," Bull. Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol., Vol. 13, No.1 (January, 1929), pp. 94-96