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Howard Colley 1945 - 2015

xfgjOre body geologist, university administrator and inspiring teacher who contributed strongly to many Society bodies and initiatives.

Howard Colley was born in Manchester in 1945. He went to Sheffield University to study geology, and was awarded his PhD in 1969, his thesis being entitled The geology of Erromango, New Hebrides.

From 1969 - 77 he was employed by the Institute of Geological Sciences (now British Geological Survey) as a Senior Scientific Officer and for most of this time was seconded to the Mineral Resources Department in Fiji.  While there he wrote several important reports published by the Fijian MRD, which can be found in the Society Library.

Following two years as Lecturer in Ore Geology in the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Howard was appointed Senior Lecturer in Economic Geology at Oxford Polytechnic, later Oxford Brookes University, in 1980 and remained there for 20 years, becoming Head of Department and subsequently Pro-Vice Chancellor following the closure of the Geology Department. Howard was highly regarded by his colleagues and an inspiring teacher. 

Tributes from colleagues and students at Oxford Brookes can be found at

This forced Howard to embark on the third stage of his career, being appointed Director of institutions at the Higher Education Academy and also worked for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), his role being to inspect and advise on the standard of courses and teaching in universities in Britain and occasionally abroad.

Howard served as a member of Council in the Geological Society from 1980 - 83 and was a member of the Library Committee during that time, while also being actively involved with the Mineral Deposits Studies Group, of which he was for a while Chairman.  He was also a member of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (now the Institution of Material, Metals and Mining) throughout his career.

Howard wrote or co-authored numerous papers and gave many conference presentations on mineral deposits, chiefly relating to Fiji, but also on South America and West Africa.    He also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Geological Society from July 1983 to July 1992.

He moved to Dorset in 2010, arguably one of the most important geological areas in England, and thus contributed to the Society's 100 Geosites initiative by providing information about the Jurassic Coast locations featured on the website

Howard passed away in June 2015 and is survived by his wife Barbara (who kindly provided the portrait accompanying this tribute and additional information about his career), his two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Wendy Cawthorne