Carl Buckner Rexroad
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Carl Buckner Rexroad
  • April 2, 1925 - October 27, 2016
  • Bloomington, Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON -- Dr. Carl Buckner Rexroad, 91, died Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 at the Meadowood Pavillion in Bloomington, with his wife Carol at his side.
Carl was an internationally recognized conodont paleontologist with the Indiana Geological Survey and Indiana University, joining the Survey in 1961. Conodonts are micro-fossils used to define and identify geologic periods.
Carl formally retired from the Survey after more than 50 years, but continued as a research affiliate, publishing scientific research into 2016. At his retirement reception in June 2003, he was delightfully surprised to receive "The Sagamore of the Wabash," Indiana's highest honor, bestowed by then Gov. Frank O'Bannon. Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians and citizens who have contributed greatly to Hoosier heritage.
Carl was born in Columbus, Ohio, on April 2, 1925 to May and Carl N. Rexroad. Shortly thereafter he moved to Columbia, Mo., where both parents taught at Stephens College.
Carl graduated from University High School in Columbia in 1943 and entered the Army during World War II, serving in the field artillery from 1943-1946. He was stationed in the Philippines as the war ended.
After the Army, Carl attended Dennison University in Ohio for one year before returning to the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1949 and his master's of science degree in geology in 1950. After earning his master's, Carl was an instructor from 1950-1953 at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.
Carl married Edythe Rose Evans on April 7, 1951 in Ruston, and she preceded him in death in 1996 in Bloomington. He also was preceded in death by his sister, Bonnie Sue Reid of Independence, Mo.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1955, and taught at Texas Tech University and the University of Houston before moving to Bloomington, where he ardently followed the Hoosiers in all sports. He also was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa in 1967-'68 (the one year IU's football team went to the Rose Bowl) and a research assistant to the associate geologist for the Illinois State Geological Survey in the summers of 1954-1961.
Carl's research resulted in 124 publications and 73 abstracts. He presented papers around the world, including China, Germany, England, Canada and Australia. Carl was also active in numerous professional societies, and often organized and led field trips. Foremost among his professional society activities was his involvement in the Pander Society, an international organization founded in 1967 for the promotion of conodont paleontology. He was most proud to receive the Pander Medal in 1992, after having served as Chief Panderer (newsletter editor) from 1985 to 1990. In 1998, the Professional Geologists of Indiana awarded Carl its first Lifetime Achievement Award for his exemplary professionalism during his career. Other societies in which he was active included the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Geological Society of America, Indiana Academy of Science, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, and the International Union of Geological Sciences.

Colleagues in conodont paleontology have honored Carl by naming three conodont taxa after him: the early Silurian genus Rexroadus; the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian species Spathognathodus rexroadi; and the subspecies Neoprioniodus erectus rexroadi..

Carl married Carol Pierce on Sept. 19, 2010 in Bloomington. She and her three children, Elizabeth Balcar (Jerry Teplitz), Joanne Murdock (Brian Wiprud) and Peter Balcar survive him. Carl also is survived by his son, Carl E. Rexroad of Carbondale, Ill., and his wife Kelly; two grandchildren, Nicolas Skovgaard (Nancy) of Herrin, Ill., and Carly Rexroad (Dave Engelkenjohn) of Boulder, Colo., and three great grandchildren, Ariana, Archer and Aurora Skovgaard.
Travel has always been important to Carl, whether it was for work or for pleasure. Before her death, Carl and Edythe traveled extensively. He and Carol continued to travel well into his 80s.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bloomington. A reception will follow at Meadowood Retirement Community from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Carl B. Rexroad Geological Sciences Endowment fund at the University of Missouri, 302 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65201.
Online condolences may be given at www.DayDeremiahFryeFuneral Home.com