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In loving memory of Jack Bristol

Former Professor of Biological Science, Dean of the College of Science and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jack Bristol passed Jan. 14. Photo courtesy the UTEP College of Science’s Facebook

Jack Bristol, Ph.D., a trailblazer and a visionary at UTEP, died last month Jan. 14 , at age 84. Bristol was remembered as an excellent friend, a dedicated coworker and a devoted husband to his wife and kids by his friends and former coworkers.  

Bristol held every significant position throughout his time at UTEP, including Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College of Science, and professor of biological sciences. Some of Bristols’ coworkers and friends often recalled Bristol had a great deal of love and passion for the UTEP community, his students and the love of science.   

Jack Bristol was born in Mattoon, Illinois on April 11, 1938, to Dick and Mary Bristol. Bristol had a happy upbringing and graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa. Family members recalled that he excelled in science and played varsity basketball. 

Bristol enrolled in Cornell College shortly after high school graduation where in 1959 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological science. Soon after, in 1970, he earned his Ph.D. from Kent State. He then received a position as an assistant professor in the department of biological sciences at UTEP, where he would build a long and distinguished reputation. 

Russel Broaddus, a fellow student and friend of Bristol expressed his sympathy and admiration for Bristol in a memoriam dedicated to him. 

“I am forever grateful for his mentorship and friendship,” Broaddus said. “He was like a second father to me and many other UTEP students, his impact and legacy lives on through all those he taught and mentored.”  

A renowned professor and leader at UTEP, many of Bristol’s coworkers frequently described him as an attentive listener, a friendly and positive person and someone who many people respected. However, many close to Bristol adored his marriage to his second wife Lillian Mayberry, whom many of his former coworkers frequently referred to as the best professional couple they had ever seen. 

The loving couple both had doctorates degrees and worked in the same lab at UTEP after the pair got married in 1975. They worked endlessly together, generated a long list of scientific publications, gave several speeches and participated in professional groups at the institution. 

Aside from holding nearly every leadership position at the university, Bristol played a key role in the development of the Border Biomedical Research Center and the Model Institutions for Excellence Grant, which elevated UTEP to the status of a national model in the improvement of science, math, and engineering graduates.   

Former colleague Louis Irwin shared his thoughts about Jack Bristol in an obituary dedicated to him.  

“Jack Bristol was a major force with President Natalicio in the transition of UTEP from a regional institution to a national research university in the 1990s,” Irwin said. “He was a countless hero to students and colleagues, as he was to me.”  

Bristol eventually retired in December 1998 and was given the honorary title of Professor Emeritus. He then served the institution by being the director of the prestigious Texas Western Press. There his writing was published and received widespread acclaim.  

When Bristol was not working, he was often enjoyedbird hunting and occasionally fishing. He was also a proud member of several civic and church organizations.   

Jack Bristol, Ph.D., is survived by his wife Lillian, and his two kids. The Bristol/Mayberry Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2001 and provides undergraduate scholarships to biological science majors at UTEP.  

Erik Acosta is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Erik Acosta, Web/Copy Editor
Erik Acosta is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in theatre. Erik started working at The Prospector as staff reporter spring 2023, and now serves as the web and copy editor.
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In loving memory of Jack Bristol