|Neal Immega, Ph.D.
& Inda Immega
Neal Immega and his wife, Inda, are two very special people to Houston Gem & Mineral Society. Neal wears a number of hats for HGMS. He along with a couple of other members of HGMS keep the Shop in good repair and supplied. He leads field trips. Neal puts on programs and speaks before groups on Paleontology, on HGMS and Earth Science in general.
Both Neal and Inda are docents regularly
for the Houston Museum of Natural Science
(HMNS). Neal is also the communicator to
members for HGMS. He regularly sends out
blanket email messages to members about anything
going on at HGMS and important messages from
the Board, Sections and others. Also when
third parties want to communicate with members,
on things determined appropriate to do so,
Neal is the one who sends out those messages.
It would be difficult to keep HGMS running
in the good shape it is, without the many
services provided by Neal.
P.S. He also saves the HGMS Shop thousands of dollars in Shop maintenance by putting diamond dust on the grinding and polishing wheels and other shop maintenance services.
In addition, Neal is responsible for the field trips for the Paleo Section of HGMS. It is undoubtedly safe to say that in the years since Neal became the Paleo Section's field trip chairman, Neal has annually set up more field trips most years, than in any prior year before he took over this task.
Neal and Inda both hold earth science advanced degrees. Neal is a real, honest to goodness, Paleontologist (as opposed to those of us who profess to be amateur or semi-professional Paleontologists). So if you want to see what a real Paleontologist looks like come to a Paleo Section meeting of HGMS at 7:30 P.M. on the third Tuesday night of each month (except December).
Neal Immega advises us that when Neal was a child (a very long time ago), he discovered his fatherís mineral and fossil collection in basement and became completely hooked on geology. The geological resources of the St. Louis area were more than sufficient to encourage Neal in his area of interest. Neal met his wife Inda at A&M; they got their geology doctorates together at Indiana University, both worked for Shell Oil Company. They have now been married for 32 years.
A note about Neal from another source says: The Galena, Calcite, and Barite from Southern Missouri and the Fluorite from Illinois were excellent. However the Mississippian fossils in the area became Nealís first love. Instead of the usual high school part time jobs, digging fossils provided his spending money.
Strangely, Neal's father was quite supportive of Neal spending dawn to dusk digging blastoids near Millstadt, Illinois. In Neal's Junior year of High School, he attended a National Science Foundation program in geology at Texas A&M. One thing led to another and Neal later went to college at Texas A&M on oil company scholarships. However, there were absolutely no jobs in geology when Neal graduated in 1970, so he went on to graduate school at Indiana University where Neal wrote his dissertation on the geochemistry of oysters. (now there's an exciting subject).
Neal says "Good luck beats planning". The first oil shock in 1973 did wonders for geological employment and Shell Oil brought Neal to Houston as an Exploration Geologist in 1975. In 1999, retirement and a pension made it possible for Neal to get closer to the rocks once again.
Neal is often to be found at the Houston Museum of Natural Science where he does special projects like curating the petrified wood collection, conducting classes. Neal has earned a reputation among 12-year olds as "THE tour guide" to be asked for. To further his love of fossil collecting, Neal runs field trips for the Houston Gem and Mineral Society and the Houston Geological Society. For variety, Neal likes to repair grinders and saws in the HGMS shop.
Neal has made a trip to the Proctor Museum of Natural Science and assisted in identifying some of the items on exhibit. Neal also took the Hadrosaurus third right foot metatarsal which your PMNS Curator, Terry Proctor, has on display there, but borrowed it and made a cast of it, and a number of duplicates.
Inda and Neal both work at the HGMS Show each year on the Houston Museum of Natural Science table providing information and hand out material to young people, across the hall from the HGMS Youth Section displays.
We need more biographical information on both Neal and Inda so we can tell you more about both of these important folks to both the HGMS and the HMNS.