Ronald W. Stanton
by Peter Warwick

On Thursday, September 27, 2001, Ronald W. Stanton of Vienna, VA, 50, a long time member of The Society for Organic Petrology (TSOP) and International Committee for Coal Petrology (ICCP), and research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), died at his home from cancer. Ron was born in 1951 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and lived in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Ron started his career at the USGS as a field assistant in 1973. Following his completion of undergraduate and masters degrees in Geology at West Virginia University, he returned to the USGS Branch of Coal Resources in 1975 as a coal geologist specializing in organic petrology.

He was responsible for developing new techniques and approaches to the description, characterization, and prediction of coal bed thickness and quality of world coal resources. Ron continued to analyze coal components throughout his career and his observations led to significant modifications of coal petrographic classifications that are currently used by the American Society for Testing and Materials and by other coal geologists throughout the world.

In 1993, Ron was appointed Assistant Branch Chief of the Branch of Coal Geology at the USGS and had responsibility for budgets and staffing. From 1995 to 1999, he served as the Team Chief Scientist of the Eastern Energy Resource Team where he was responsible for science directions, plans, and supervision of the professional and administrative staff.

Ron was recognized worldwide as a coal geologist and had been recently elected as an Honorary Member of the ICCP in 2001. He held numerous leadership positions at the American Society for Testing and Materials, Committee D5 on Coal and Coke, and was a founding member of TSOP. He was the primary organizer of the first TSOP meeting that was held in the Washington D.C. area in 1984. In addition, he was a member of the Geological Society of America, Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Society of Mining Engineers.

He was a Boy Scout leader, a soccer and basketball coach for youth leagues in Fairfax County and an organizer of the Hunter Mill Defense League, which fought development in Fairfax County. His interests included fly-fishing and bluegrass music. He played the violin, banjo, piano and trumpet.

Ron's wife Cindy has arranged for a music scholarship in Ron's honor - the RWS Scholarship Fund. It will be a scholarship for students of James Madison High School (Fairfax County) and will be administered by the high school. The scholarship will be specifically earmarked for an orchestra student in the strings program and will go either to a graduating senior or to help students with school music programs. Checks can be made out to "JMHS" and somewhere on the check should be indicated that it is for the "RWS Scholarship Fund." If you care to contribute to the scholarship (contributions are tax deductible), you can send the checks directly to Cindy Stanton at 10309 Browns Mill Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182, USA.