In Memoriam

Bob Euler

Dr. Robert Clark Euler passed away on Sunday January 13th, in a hospital in Prescott, az at the age of 77. He suffered from failing kidneys and diabetes. Bob was the park archaeologist at Grand Canyon National Park for ten years and wrote or co-authored more than 150 publications. He was a scholar of Southwest and Great Basin tribes, as well as Canyon archaeology and history. Memorial donations can be made to the Prescott Chapter of the Archaeological Society, PO Box 1098, Prescott, az 86302.
I first met Dr. Euler in 1977 and worked with him at Grand Canyon almost daily for six years. While the printing and cataloguing of thousands of photos and analysis of flaked stone was tedious, the days and weeks in the field and on the river were glorious. He was appointed to the position of Park Anthropologist by Sen. Barry Goldwater to strengthen nps relations with the surrounding tribes, and he had almost total freedom to plan our work. Earlier he had reprised the river trips of Major J. W. Powell to relocate archaeological sites mentioned in the trip diaries. Discovering Beamer’s Cabin atop one of the stratified sites, constructed since Powell’s trip, he was able to date the cabin using the diaries and other historical data. He spent decades working with James White’s granddaughter researching White’s controversial 1867 passage through the Canyon.
My favorite personal story is that of the Anasazi Bridge at President Harding Rapid, which Bob was studying (see bqr Volume 13:4). We provided logistical support to Kenton Grua and Ellen Tibbitts to climb the route so we could photograph it from across the river. On that trip they discovered a cave above the bridge with some weaving implements. Bob wanted very much to personally inspect the cave. So one morning we embarked in the helicopter to “land” on the slope below. This was about a 45 degree slope, so the pilot planned a one-skid landing on one of the few prominences. As he nestled the skid into the soft soil, he asked me to get out first and reminded me to crouch very low while walking to the front. I was terrified. It seemed to me that the rotor was too narrowly missing the slope above, that the pinnacle was unstable, that it was possible I’d be stranded. But I opened my door, gritted my teeth, and told myself that if Bob Euler could do it, if he wanted me to do it, I could. Just as I stretched my leg to get out, the prominence crumbled and crashed into the river below. The helicopter pilot veered the chopper off the slope, and we headed home.
Bob was tenacious in his search for the truth. He was a Renaissance man, a true anthropologist, of equal parts sociocultural anthropologist, archaeologist, historian (and photographer). He believed strongly in basic research, but did not shun applied research, like so many others of his generation. He relished discussion with non-scholars for any shred of information that might lead him to a new understanding of Grand Canyon history and prehistory. He will be missed greatly by many.
Trinkle Jones

I first met Bob Euler in the summer of 1981 when I was a graduate student working on a research grant for Trinkle Jones on the North Rim of Grand Canyon. Trink and I were classmates, and she needed some assistance with a survey project on Walhalla Glades she was doing for her Masters’ thesis and with which Bob was assisting. I gladly volunteered and headed up to the North Rim to camp for a month on Walhalla. Bob was very gracious and eloquent, the quintessential archaeologist, dressed in khaki and drinking martinis. I had my introduction to “windshield” archaeology with Bob, as we bounced over numerous archaeological sites on the North Rim where dirt fire roads went over and through house mounds. I learned many things that summer from Bob, and realized one of the reasons Trink had wanted me on the survey was to bring in a third opinion into the mix relative to statistical sampling and artifact collection. Bob was of the generation where “grab samples” were the norm, and Trink and I were earnest grad students learning about sampling and the error of bias created by our predecessors. Bob had an interest in ceramics and cared less for chipped stone artifacts (unless they were finished projectile points or tools), and my background was in chipped stone identification. To make a long story short, we would find archaeological sites and record them. Bob photographed the site and collected all artifacts from randomly placed units. We packed in toy rakes (a red rake with yellow handle) to use in raking away and removing the pine duff so that the ground surface and artifacts were exposed. I actually would check Bob’s units to make sure he didn’t leave the chipped stone behind. In retrospect, I’m amazed he let me get away with checking up on him. But he did, and he became a mentor, teacher, advisor, and a member of my thesis committee.
One other notable incident occurred that first summer on that project that showed me a slightly different picture of Bob. Trink and I shared a big walled tent as our home; Bob had his own. One night, we heard quite a bit of shuffling, cross words, and chaos coming from Bob’s tent late at night. The next morning Bob announced there was a mouse in his tent and he was going to “get it”. The nighttime display continued for a few more nights, until one day, while on survey, we came across a bull snake. Problem solved. Bob collected the snake, took it back to camp, put it in the tent with the zipper open just enough to allow the snake to leave after the meal was over. We came back to camp and the snake (and mouse) was gone. Problem solved.
In the words of Dr. Euler, “It doesn’t take that much more to go first class, you just can’t stay as long”. One of the many things I will remember.
Jan Balsom

I first met Bob Euler during the early days of the Glen Canyon Environmental Studies. He called me up and wanted to talk about the impacts that Glen Canyon dam was having on the cultural resources in the Grand Canyon. I quickly determined that Bob’s expertise was founded on a larger base of his love for the Canyon. Over the years Bob and I worked together on a couple of National Research Council committees and in symposia and lecture series at the Museum of Northern Arizona and throughout the West. What I have come to realize is how important these icons of Grand Canyon are and have been in shaping our perspective of the Grand Canyon. People like Bob Euler have instilled in us the need to keep fighting for the environment. Today it is easy to get caught up in the politics and administrative minutia that evolve into seemingly endless meetings and adnauseum levels of discussion. We should never forget the important role that people like Bob Euler have had as scientists, educators and protectors of the Grand Canyon. We all owe Bob a big thanks and I for one will be tipping a beverage in his honor on my next trip into the Canyon. Take care on your journey my friend.
Dave Wegner
What a special man. We were lucky to have him on a gts river trip in ’81 and to otherwise see him in the Canyon and at lectures thereafter. I’ll never forget listening to his tale of tracing the James White story while we were visiting the Unkar ruins on a beautiful spring day when two Golden Eagles converged, seemingly one from each rim and performed several contact barrel rolls over the river. He commented that as far as he knew there were only three kinds of birds in the Canyon: eagles, dickie birds and fried chicken! I light a candle for him.
Tim Whitney

Dave Hellyer

Although Clement David Hellyer did many things in his 87 years, bibliophiles will remember Dave as the issuer of catalogues offering sales of books and ephemera about the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Founder of Five Quail Books, Dave mailed his first catalogue in 1987 and annually thereafter until he sold the business to gcrg members Dan and Diane Cassidy in 1995. Whether he intended to or not, Dave was responsible for a lot of the increased literary presence and knowledge concerning the Colorado Plateau as he ceaselessly sought to obtain not only the most current imprints but also the hard-to-find publications. The accumulated Five Quail catalogues are the premier source for bibliographic information and value concerning Canyon and River publications.
Born in Glendale, California, Dave earned a Master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University and taught everything from magazine writing to copy editing at San Diego State College and an extension course at University of California San Diego, “An Introduction to Book Collecting.” He was proficient in Spanish and Portuguese and reported award-winning coverage on Latin America for The San Diego Union. He co-authored a book on Latin American journalism, collaborated in writing the book American Air Navigator, and wrote a Writer’s Digest book club offering Making Money With Words, sharing his advice: “You must be in love with the English language, and if you don’t read more than one book every six months, forget it.”
I never met Dave in person, but knew him from numerous phone calls and correspondence since just prior to his issuing his first catalogue. In my search fpr out-of-print books, Dave and I bought and sold books to each other many times over the years. As the Special Collections Librarian at nau, I could always rely on Dave to find much obscure Colorado Plateau material for the Cline Library.
After selling Five Quail Books, Dave continued the book business with his daughter as Bee Creek Books, embracing the latest technology and selling general Western Americana, rare, and out-of-print books via the Internet and email. On a return from a book buying trip, on November 2 at dusk a passing car
hit Dave near his home in Spring Grove, Minnesota. On November 15th at age 87, book lover and dealer Dave Hellyer issued his last catalogue. Thanks, Dave, for all the fine reading.
Richard D. Quartaroli