Duane F. Marble

1931 - 2022

Photo of Duane Marble

Dr. Duane F. Marble passed quietly in his sleep Tuesday February 22, 2022 with his wife and children nearby.  He loved his family, geography, his students, the outdoors, travel, good food and wine, good books, great conversation, cats, and the company of friends.

Duane was born to Francis and Beulah Marble in West Seattle, Washington, December 10, 1931. He earned three degrees from the University of Washington, earning his Ph.D. in 1959. He served on the faculties of the University of Oregon, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and The Ohio State University. At Buffalo, he established the first formal research unit dealing with Geographic Information Science (GIS) and the first graduate program in geography that provided a specialization in GIS. After retirement he held a courtesy appointment as Professor of Geosciences at Oregon State University.

What separated Duane from most professors was his active interest and involvement with his graduate students. He took an enthusiastic and supportive role as an advisor, a mentor, and a friend, providing great personal and intellectual encouragement and support, which carried on well past graduation. During his 40-year academic career, more than 75 graduate students completed their degrees under his supervision. His high standards prepared his students for successful careers, with many of these now close friends holding senior positions in academia, government, and industry.

Dr. Marble was instrumental in developing GIS as a strong, scientific academic endeavor. He established the International Symposia on Spatial Data Handling, collaborated on creating instructional software used by over 300 universities worldwide, and led GIS seminars in several countries. In 1993 he received an American Association of Geographers (AAG) Honors award and in 2011 he was awarded University Consortium of Geographical Information Science Fellow status in recognition of his remarkable impact.

After retiring from teaching, Duane and Jackie moved to Oregon and he stayed active in consulting, researching, and guiding scientific research in Geography. His presence in GIS education will continue through the Marble Fund for Geographic Science which he created in 2005. This Fund supports the William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography and the Marble-Boyle Undergraduate Achievement Award, which are administered by the AAG.

Duane is survived by his spouse of 65 years, Jacquelynne, his cousin Kathy Kelley, his children, Kim and Dan Schnell and Doug and Claire Marble, and his grandchildren, Elizabeth and Brendan.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes any memorial contributions be made to the Marble Fund for Geographic Science, managed by the American Association of Geographers (https://www.aag.org/donate/#/donate, select ‘designate my donation to “other,”’ select the Marble Fund for Geographic Science.)