Wayne A. Pryor

1928 to 1997

Wayne A. Pryor was born on May 6, 1928, in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, northwest of Pittsburgh. He earned his B.S. in geology in 1952 from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. His graduate degrees include an M.S. in geohydrology from the University of Illinois in 1954 and a Ph.D. in sedimentology from Rutgers University in 1959.

Pryor began his professional career when he joined the Illinois State Geological Survey on June 1, 1953, as a research assistant in the Division of Groundwater Geology and Geophysical Exploration. Pryor was promoted to Assistant Geologist in June 1954 as he continued investigations of the groundwater geology of southern and northeastern Illinois. Pryor expanded the Survey's regional hydrogeology studies in southern Illinois in the mid-1950s, focusing his efforts on White County. In a groundbreaking paper in 1956, he used electric resistivity logs to determine the quality of groundwater in the Pennsylvanian sandstones of southern Illinois.

From October 2, 1956, to June 3, 1957, Pryor took a leave of absence without pay so that he could resume full-time graduate work at Rutgers University. Before 1956, he had been working toward a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. With the successful completion of his preliminary exams for a Ph.D. at Rutgers in 1957, Pryor was reappointed to the Illinois State Geological Survey under George Maxey effective July 1, 1957. By 1959, he had completed his dissertation at Rutgers and resigned from the Survey to work for Gulf Research and Development Corporation in Pittsburgh. In 1965, he became a professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati and remained there for 32 years.

Even after leaving the Illinois State Geological Survey, Pryor continued to work cooperatively with it in the early 1960s, switching his earlier emphasis on groundwater to publish on Cretaceous sedimentation and the geology of the Upper Mississippi Embayment and other new directions on sand trends and paleoslope in that area and the Illinois Basin. In 1990, as senior author, he also published a major article on porosity development in Mississippian limestone and sandstone reservoirs in the Illinois Basin that appeared in American Association of Petroleum Geologists' Memoir 51, Interior Cratonic Basins.

Honored by: 
Paul E. Potter
Citation Contributed by: 
David R. Larson