University of California Museum of Paleontology UCMP in the field See the world (and its fossils) with UCMP's field notes.
About UCMP People Blog Online Exhibits Public programs Education Collections Research

UCMP loses a long-time Friend and alum - Nestor John Sander

This morning I was saddened to learn that long-time Friend of UCMP, Nestor John Sander (AKA Sandy) passed away.  He was nearly 98. Sandy graduated from Cal with a B.A. in paleontology in 1936 and completed his Masters in 1938. He then joined Standard Oil Company of California and was sent to Saudi Arabia the same year. There he was assigned to map the subsurface contours of a major anticlinal fold that is now the largest oil field in the world, Ghawar. This more than qualified him for an interview as part of an ABC television special: Crude- the incredible journey of oil.


Sandy was a great story teller and while most World War II history buffs encouraged conversations about his dealings with King Saud, Sandy just wanted to talk paleo.  His last visit to UCMP was some time ago as travelling became increasingly difficult for him, but his computer kept him connected, and his research never ended.  On his YouTube channel you will find a series of lectures – self-published in his home in Modesto – and covering topics of stratigraphy, foraminifera and other microfossils.  He had recently been in contact with Dave Lindberg, as he wanted to complete a series on molluscs.  He was also a published author in a more traditional sense, completing a book about the first King of Saudi Arabia whom he met in 1939 – Ibn Saud: King by Conquest.


A visit to his home always began with a glass of champagne, strawberries, and petit fours – a combo he often shared with his wife of many of years and of whom he spoke with much tenderness.  On our last visit, he entrusted me with a beautifully bound biography that he had written along with a photo album reflecting his life and his work.  These I delivered to the Bancroft Library in the hopes that they will be of interest to others.  He lived at a time of great world changes and he lived life to the fullest.  You can find out more about who Sandy really was by reading his mini-autobiography on the web – entitled Peregrinations of a Positivist.  I will really miss him.