Brief Biography
I was born in March 1945 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, where, at age 7, I encountered my first memorable herp in the field (a rough green snake, Opheodrys aestivus).  I grew up as a "boy herpetologist" in Tuscumbia and, at age 11, moved to Massillon, Ohio, where my herpetological interests, and collecting, continued to grow (unfortunately, I was totally ignorant of the local Ohio Herp Society, later to become the international Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles!).   In high school, I was the weird guy who read Ditmars' snake books in study hall and collected herps with my high school buds.   I attended college at Harding College in Arkansas where I experienced southern herps west of the Mississippi.  The copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) that I, as a freshman, dug out of hibernation in January 1964 still stands as the Arkansas state size record.  In Arkansas I also met Sharon Lisle from Canyon, Texas; she and I have been married 49 years.  Sharon doesn't particularly like herps but she's a great field companion as well as a great wife and mother!  After Harding, Sharon, Sam (our parrot), and I went to Utah State University for a master's program, where, in 1969, I eventually lost the battle to avoid the Draft.  Of significance in Utah was my first exposure to herping in an arid environment.  I managed to avert having to experience the herps of Viet Nam but did serve two years with Uncle Sam as a psychiatric technician in Ft. Ord, California, where I was introduced to herps of the West Coast, and Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, where I experienced the fabulous herps of Trans-Pecos Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert.  It was here that I continued to develop a love of arid land ecology and the deep feeling that I would someday return to the desert to do herp research (a dream that was finally realized in 1997).  After finishing my Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, a truly great experience with a fine group of herpetologists, I returned to Harding College (now Harding University) where I have been teaching since December 1975.
    Sharon and I have two grown children (and former field companions), Scott Plummer and Melissa Vollmering of Arlington, Texas.  Helping these two fine young people grow up and find their niche in life was the hardest job I ever had (and also the one from which I received, and continue to receive, the greatest pleasure and satisfaction)!  Sharon always has had an uncanny ability to let me know quickly when I was spending too much time on my research at the expense of the more important things in life.  Thanks, Sharon, for helping me keep my life in proper perspective.  Solomon once asked, "A good wife, who can find?"  The answer is -- Me!


MY FAMILY - The real JOY of my life


BASEBALL, cool cars, and Steam Locomotives


MOM FUND - Supporting undergraduate research


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