William “Bill” Hopkins – September 19, 2008

William “Bill” Hopkins

Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
September 19, 2008

William Eugene “Bill” Hopkins, 66, who helped preserve the Mazama Tree, died on Sept. 3, 2008. He was born on Jan. 2, 1942, in Eldorado, Ill.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany in 1968 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. In college, he met Christine Ott. They were married on June 6, 1968.

Mr. Hopkins spent summers working in Oregon on a logging crew and as a fire control aide.

After he earned a doctorate in botany at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1971, he supervised tree planters on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, pursued post-doctoral work in biomath at North Carolina State University, and began work as a Winema National Forest ecologist in 1972.

A year later, Mr. Hopkins became the region’s first area ecologist. He moved in 1976 to Lakeview and in 1977 to Bend, where his Area IV Ecology Team for the Deschutes, Fremont, Ochoco and Winema national forests was based.

He assisted Crater Lake National Park with prescribed fire and vegetation monitoring projects and helped uncover and preserve the “Mount Mazama Tree,” which was buried by the eruption of Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago and found near Chemult in a tree well buried under more than 30 feet of air-fall pumice. The tree is on display at the Klamath County Museum.

Mr. Hopkins retired in 2003 and worked as a private consultant. He and Christine divorced in 1995. In 1996, he married Billie McNiel, who preceded him in death in 2007.

Survivors include Christine, sons Karl and Bret, three grandchildren, brother Tom, and sister Eva Lee Delancy.

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