In memoriam: Wilmer Wilson Bassett, Jr. 1915-1996
The Aucilla River Prehistory Project will deeply miss its wonderful friend and supporter, Wilmer W. Bassett, Jr., who passed away at the age of 81 on December 6, 1996. Born in Monticello and educated at the University of Florida, Wilmer was a leader in Florida Agriculture. He received many honors including the Bronze Star for his service as lieutenant colonel in artillery in World War II, induction into the Florida Dairy Hall of Fame, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Florida.
With regard to the Aucilla River Prehistory Project, Wilmer provided the river cabin and other valuable funding. That cabin made all the difference in the project's effectiveness, for it allowed us not only to produce better meals but also to hold substantial educational activities in the evenings.
Much to our delight, Wilmer himself played an active role in many ARPP activities. As an educator who had spent his life observing Florida natural history, Wilmer took an intense interest in the project's scientific endeavors and also showed genuine concern for the progress of its students. On his weekly trip through north Florida, he almost always spent an evening or two with our group, and this was always a big morale booster. It was also literally a "treat," because he insisted on providing three freshly baked pies. Aucilla River participants will long remember his "Dooby" pies, which uniquely provided enough calories to carry on the next day's dive.
Wilmer also led project members to garner support in legislative offices, and introduced them to civic organizations in Monticello, Gainesville and Tallahassee.
The ARPP and its readership wish to convey our love and support to his wife, Melda, his son, "Bill," his daughters Lucy, Mary and Carolyn, and to their families.
An outstanding naturalist, educator and businessman, Wilmer Bassett provided outstanding leadership to the ARPP, which we will never forget.