We walked down the road a bit, with Dr. Hole in the lead, playing his fiddle and singing songs extolling the glories and mysteries of Soil. Suddenly he stopped playing, halting the march. He had us take off our shoes and socks and step barefooted out onto the prairie soil. Martha C. Anderson, PhD (Astronomy), Asst. Scientist (Soil Sci.)
When we touched on state symbols last week, The Wisconsin State Bacterium and Other Blizzardy Thoughts I omitted commentary on our state soil, Antigo Silt Loam. Dr. Hole worked in spirited fashion ofr Wisconsin to adopt a state soil.
Francis and Agnes Hole were neighbors when we lived on Riverside Drive. Great neighbors.
When I was in the front yard and saw Dr. Hole and Mrs. Hole approaching, I knew I was in for a treat. It might be political commentary and a sly tale about some prominent politician.
But more likely it was a joke about my futile efforts to rid the front lawn of mushrooms emerging from the decayed roots of a departed elm tree, a lecture on bacteria in the soil, a suggestion to be better dressed for gardening, and an invitation to a puppet show.
How could you not love a man who authored:
- "Popularizing the subject of soil" (1989)
- "Soil Songs"(pdf, 200kB)
- "More soil songs"(1985, 1991; contributed by Gundega Korsts)
- "The Pleasures of Soil Watching"(published in Orion Nature Quarterly, Spring 1988; pdf, 4.5MB)
- "The Earth beneath our Feet"(U of Wisc Emeritus Faculty Lecture, 13 Mar 1993; pdf, 1MB)
- "A conversation with terra loam, a voice of the soil" (1984, 1992; 120kB, pdf)
- "Terra loam encounters erosion, a puppet play"(120kB, pdf)
- "Some thoughts about studies of soil in k-12"(120kB, pdf)
- List of publications, 1943-1981(pdf)
Thanks to Phillip Barak, UW Associate Professor who provided this anthology and maintains the website in Dr. Hole's honor.
Francis and Agnes were always in love with each other and with life.
Take that all of you small-minded villains who try to hurt the University of Wisconsin.
Hole, Francis Doan
MADISON - Francis Doan Hole died at Oakwood Village West Retirement Community, Madison, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2002, at age 88. He suffered from multi-infarct dementia. Francis was born on Aug. 25, 1913, in Muncie, Ind., to Mary (Doan) and Allen David Hole. He had one older brother, Allen David Hole Jr. He grew up in Richmond, Ind., in a house on the edge of the Earlham College campus, where his father was a professor of geology from 1900 until 1940. His mother had been a professor of English literature at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio. Francis was the student librarian for the Morton High School symphony orchestra, and played the violin under the baton of Joseph Maddy, who later founded the National Music Camp at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He also learned to play the piano. He graduated from Earlham College in 1933, majoring in geology and biology, and earned an M.A. in French literature at Haverford College in 1934. From 1935 until 1938 he taught French and other subjects at Westtown Friends School in Pennsylvania, during which time he furthered his violin studies by taking lessons from Emmanuel Zetlin in Philadelphia. From 1938 until 1944 he pursued graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a Ph.D. in geology and soil science, interspersed with two periods of teaching geology at his alma mater, Earlham College. In June 1941 he married Agnes Calvert, a former Earlham classmate. As a conscientious objector during World War II, he performed two years of civilian public service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities at Coshocton, Ohio, Big Flats, N.Y., and Gatlinburg, Tenn. In July 1946 he joined the University of Wisconsin faculty as an assistant professor, initially with the Geological and Natural History Survey. This involved participation in soil surveys of 10 Wisconsin counties, which during the summers entailed one- and two-week sojourns to collect soil samples, followed up with cartographic work leading to the publication of county soil maps. Over the years his responsibilities grew to include teaching and research with the Department of Soil Science, and later his teaching of the geography of Wisconsin course in the Department of Geography, which earned enthusiastic acclaim from his students. A classically-trained violinist who played with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and numerous informal ensembles, he was perhaps best known for utilizing the violin during his lectures, and for the presentation of numerous songs which he composed extolling the importance of soil and the critical foundation for plant, animal and human life. His teaching excellence was recognized formally when he received the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1974. Notable among his many publications, which often contained his own illustrations, were his "Soils of Wisconsin" and "Soil Genesis and Classification," a textbook still in use, co-authored with Drs. Ralph McCracken and Stan Buol. He also created "Soil Survey Horizons" in 1960, a periodical that has been continued by the Soil Science Society of America, and designed the "Soils of Wisconsin Map" published by the Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey in 1968. His proudest accomplishment was the enactment of legislation in 1983 designating Antigo silt loam as the Wisconsin state soil, a culmination of his long campaign for a state soil symbol. Following his retirement from the University in 1983, he continued his active involvement as a professor emeritus by giving periodic lectures and courses. He also continued to give presentations on the importance of the soil, employing his soil songs and violin at schools and numerous other venues. Throughout his life and into retirement, he was involved individually and as a participant in organizations promoting world peace, non-violence, civil rights, social justice and preservation of the environment. A lifelong member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), he continued his active involvement in the Madison Monthly Meeting, Friends General Conference, and the Pendle Hill Quaker Study Center in Pennsylvania. He also traveled widely, including trips to Aalaska, Baja, Calif., New Zealand, China, India, England and Costa Rica. He is survived by his wife, Agnes; a daughter Sarah of Madison; and a son, Benjamin of College Park, Md. A memorial service will held at the UNITARIAN MEETING HOUSE, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2002, at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., 47374.
Wisconsin State Journal, January 20, 2002