Paul J. Fritts ’52 of Mendocino, Calif., died April 13, 2011. Born in 1930 in Topeka, Kan., he grew up riding to house calls with his grandfather, a country doctor. An outstanding student and member of the ROTC in high school, Paul was offered a place at West Point, but turned it down to study geological engineering at Mines. While studying for his professional degree, he remained in ROTC and was commissioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after graduation. He served as a second lieutenant in charge of the 41st Topographic Division of the U.S. Army in Korea. During his service, he married his first wife, Evelyn.
In 1954, Paul joined Stanolind Oil in Oklahoma. Shortly thereafter, he started teaching in the Division of Engineering at Mines. With a passion for geology, he left Mines in the early 1960s to join Chevron as a micropaleontologist in Bakersfield, Calif. In 1965, he joined California State University, Long Beach, and by 1970 was department chairman, a title he held for 14 years. In 1990, he retired from teaching and married his second wife, Roswitha B. Grannell, also a geologist.
Paul enjoyed electronics, computers, animals and recounting war stories, some of which he contributed to a book on the Korean War.