V. L. Yeats

19190206 –


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Vestal L “Pappy” Yeats passed away peacefully in his sleep Friday night, July 28, 2017. He was a veteran serving in the Navy during World War II, an Antarctic explorer, and a professor of geology at Texas Tech.

Pappy was born in Fort Worth in 1919, and later moved to the Rio Grande Valley where he grew up. He discontinued his studies at the University of Texas to enlist in the Navy after Pearl Harbor. Stationed in New Orleans between tours of duty in the Pacific, he met his future wife, Ouida Mae.

After the war, they moved to Austin where Pappy completed his degree in geology and later moved to Lubbock to complete his masters degree. As a professor of geology, he taught the freshmen classes, mineralogy and ran the geology labs.

During his tenure, he participated in three Texas Tech expeditions to Antarctica, mapping areas of the Shackleton and Beardmore Glaciers. Yeats Glacier is named for him.

Ouida passed away in 2003. He is survived by his son Austin, daughter-in-law Nina; grandson Tyler; and nephew Robert Haynes.


In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Vestal and Ouida Yeats Endowed Scholarship at Texas Tech.


6 thoughts on “V. L. Yeats”

  1. Pappy always had a smile for everyone. I met him through the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society where he was a charter member. I appreciated the time he spent explaining and indentifying rocks for anyone who said, “Do you know what this is?” Even though he was retired, his classroom was wherever he might be at the time. He will be missed.

  2. I had Professor Yeats for two Geology courses. A gentleman and very good instructor. Now overtime I see geological formation or piece of rock I remember him.

  3. A unique person with probably a genius IQ. Had Prof. Yeats for physical geology Spring 1973 semester. One of his questions on his (in)famous pop quizzes: List the factors of weathering. This man clearly had an incredible passion for his chosen profession. It was such a pleasure to be in his class. In addition to the knowledge he enthusiastically conveyed, you got his versatile, side-splitting sense of humor free of charge. Learned today of Pappy’s passing during a meeting with my CPA and I happened to bring his name up during our conversation (my CPA’s first degree was in geology). Pappy will be very much missed but will never be forgotten.

  4. A friend of many years, Pappy will be missed. We use to share sardine lunches in the Geosciences Reading Room.

  5. His family should take heart in knowing how well-liked and admired Pappy Yeats was. He was my Geology 101 instructor my freshman year at Tech, 1963. He had a great sense of humor that helped make the physical geology class interesting. (Unfortunately, he was not the professor I had for historical geology; you wouldn’t think dinosaurs could be boring, but the professor for that course managed it without trying.) I’ll never forget Mr. Yeats tales of Antarctic exploration. I’ll also never forget his dismissing the class when a student called out from the back of the room that President Kennedy had died. Another one of those “Where were you when …”” moments you never forget. Sir, it was a pleasure to know you.

  6. My favorite professor – had several of his classes in the late 70s, and I made geology my career. He ran the field school in Salida in 1979 and was alot of fun. I first encountered Pappy in a summer kids mineral class at the Tech museum around 1965. I think it was called ‘West Texas Rockhounds. This class, and Pappy’s friendly teaching nature is what got me started in geology. One thing I have never forgotten is that Pappy would bring his grandfather to the class to tell stories. He must have been 100 years old. I always figured Pappy would be around for a long time. He was a quite a guy.

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