Dr. William Gary Hooks

October 4, 1927January 11, 2019
Play Tribute Movie

TUSCALOOSA - Dr. William Gary Hooks, 91, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, passed away on January 11, 2019 in Huntsville, Alabama. Funeral services will be held Thursday, January 17, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Memory Chapel in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with Rev. Stephen Hooks, pastor, officiating. A private burial will follow in Memory Hill Gardens in Tuscaloosa with Memory Chapel, a Dignity Memorial Provider, directing. Visitation will be one hour prior to services. W. Gary Hooks was born on October 4, 1927 in Asheville, North Carolina to John Brantley Hooks, Jr. and Virginia Evelyn Fortune. Gary graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, receiving B.S. (1950), M.S. (1953), and Ph.D. (1960) degrees in geology. Gary married Peggy Raye Lucas on December 27, 1951 and moved to Tuscaloosa in 1954, taking a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology. He was a professor of geology at the University of Alabama from 1954 to 1994, chairman of the Department of Geology from 1969 to 1977, and acting chair from 1968 to 1969 and 1981 to 1982. He received the UA National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award in 1985, the College of Arts and Sciences Favorite Lecturer Award in 1984, and the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award in 1993. Gary continued to teach geology as an adjunct professor until his final retirement in 2013 and was an Honorary Curator of Geology of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Peggy L. Hooks, daughter Debbie Hooks Luker and husband Bob of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; three sons, William Gary Hooks, Jr. of Huntsville, Alabama, Judson David Hooks and wife, Betsy of Richardson, Texas and Stephen Borden Hooks and wife, Cyndy of Madison, Alabama; grandchildren, Ashley, Mary Catherine, William, Bobby, John, Michael, Bill, Nelson, Hunter, Caleb, Hannah, Alex, Rebekah; great-grandchildren, Daxton, River, Eliana, Benjamin, Anna, Hunter, Hailey, Hudson and Anna Logan. Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Alabama Department of Geology W. Gary Hooks Endowed Geology Fund, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Box 870338, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.



  • Visitation Thursday, January 17, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Thursday, January 17, 2019


  • Private Burial

Dr. William Gary Hooks

have a memory or condolence to add?

John Blair

January 23, 2019

I was so sorry to hear of Dr. Hook's passing. He was one of the people that shaped my life. I have so many memories that it is hard to know where to start.
I was just starting my junior year at Alabama and my grades were dismal. I had spent the first two years partying and was barely staying in school. One day I thought to myself "if I continued on the way I had been, I was never going to get a meaningful job". My Grandfather was a geologist so I thought that I would take a course in geology and see how I liked it. I signed up for Dr. Hook's Geology 101 course and that was "it". I was hooked. I loved the crystals, the geology of the Birmingham area, the way the earth was formed, everything. Dr. Hooks made it so interesting. I took all of my geology classes in my last two years at the University.
The geology department at that time probably had very little support from the University, but it had one thing! It had three of the best teachers anywhere; Dr. Hooks, Dr. Jones and Dr. Lamaroux ( probably misspelled). Dr. Hooks went the extra mile for his students. He not only taught great courses, but he used his own car to take us out in the field to see the outstanding geology of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Also he took his field course students on his annual trip out to southern Colorado and Utah ( this was before there were any girls taking geology). We climbed West Spanish Peak (a requirement ) and it almost killed me. We saw wonderful sites in these areas. What a wonderful thing Dr. Hooks did for his students.
I went on to get a master's degree and spent my entire working career in the oil and gas business and enjoyed it very much. I get back to the University periodically for a football game or for the GSAB meetings. I saw Dr. Hooks several times and he always remembered me. What a great person and a great teacher!
John Blair (class of 1966)

Tony Cagle

January 19, 2019

What a Man!

"Man Mountain Hooks" Tall and Lean with a driven purpose to make a difference to those within his reach.

Dr Hooks taught us well and drove us to excel in our geologic studies and everyday life.

He knew how to make a point and leave a indelible message in all his classes!
The Bowie Knife driven into the podium to send a clear message about a barking dog tied to a tree outside Smith Hall, during Historic Geology Lecture, implied the dog should not be there , was clearly understood by the owner.

Chasing his VW van down the road to throw our maps, done in Field Methods Class, in the window taught us the lesson that we must be timely with delivery of our assignments.

Dr Hooks was a great teacher and had a huge practical delivery of his Geologic knowledge.

I am a better man for being a student under him, and his sense of humor and wit has stayed with me all my life

May he be smiling at us as we share stories of being fortunate to have had him as a motivator and teacher.

I wish all his family the peace in knowing his passing is only another step in Dr Hooks journey to seeing all our of our Geologic Past and Future


David Anthony "Tony" Cagle BS Professional Degree Geology 76"

Mike Curry

January 17, 2019

Every time I stood to preach when Dr. Hooks was present, I knew he was the smartest man in the room. Yet, he listened intently with open Bible. Often he would wait for me after the service to discuss the unsearchable riches of Christ.
I always left Dr.Hooks presence encouraged and motivated to study the Word more.
A southern gentleman in every way. A rare breed indeed. A life worthy of imitation.

Julie Bridges

January 17, 2019

I will never forget this funny and intelligent professor. Never forgot his class or his old fashioned van he drove. I developed a true appreciation for geology, archeology, fossils, rocks from his classes. One of the best summers I ever had at UA, 1988!
Your family is in my prayers!
Julie bridges

Dana Williams Cook

January 16, 2019

I learned many pieces of wisdom as a student of Dr. Hooks, especially in the field. The one that has been foremost in mind since I met him in the late 1970s was:
Never be 3rd in line when walking through the woods. Snakes are alerted by #1, aim at #2, and bite #3. Don’t be #3.
Our family will miss his guidance; he was one of a kind!
DanaWilliamsCook,BSinGeology, 1981
TerryCook,BSinGeology1978, MS 1983
EmmaCook,Intro to Geol w/DrH 2009

Heather Renz

January 16, 2019

One of my most favorite people...EVER! Your going Home leaves a void, and you will be sorely missed! But I will see you when I get Home!

Betsy Hooks

January 16, 2019

I first knew him as Dr. Hooks. Geology professor extraordinaire. Prankster. Over all cool dude. Along with geological knowledge he imparted , I learned........
* one of his steps equaled about 3 of mine. Being in the field or on a hike with him was nothing short of a marathon.
*never wear shorts in the field because he WOULD lead you through a briar patch
*always have a plastic bag to put field notes in because he WOULD lead you into chest-deep water
*always have your heliotrope pencil handy
When I married David I got to know him as Papa Hooks. Father extraordinaire. Prankster. Our very own Indiana Jones.
He was soft-spoken and gentle with his grandchildren and loved to challenge them with “true test” questions.
Spanish Peaks, Colorado was his #1 destination. He loved to go there and he loved to tell stories of past trips there.
We all loved to hear his stories and they were all hilarious. Stories about field trips, his early escapades and pranks pulled on his colleagues.

Thanks for the memories Papa Hooks
BS Geology ‘83
Daughter-in-law ‘84❤️

sammy patterson

January 15, 2019

Dr. Hooks was larger than life. The students were both terrified of and enamored with him. As an undergraduate, we once had a long weekend and I decided to go home to Georgia and asked my friend David Hooks to take care of my aquarium. I gave David the key to my apartment and left Tuscaloosa for Georgia. When I returned and was sitting in class, Dr. Hooks said: "Hey Sammy I like the picture above your sofa." Being a little dumbfounded I simply said "thanks". Everyone in the class looks at me wide-eyed and surely thought wow Dr. Hooks went to Sammy's apartment. My status and self-esteem were instantly elevated. After class, I found out that David had decided to go out of town for the weekend and Dr. Hooks had gone to my apartment every day to feed my fish. I still feel cool thirty-seven years later that Dr. Hooks fed my fish.
I am still enamored with Dr. Hooks to the point that my children know what he looks like and stories about him. My daughter is currently a student at Alabama and a year or so ago she called me and very excitedly informed me that she had seen Dr. Hooks going into Smith Hall.
He made lasting impressions on many geologists and he will be sorely missed. David, you and your family have my prayers and deepest sympathies.

Sammy Patterson P.G.
B.S. Geology Alabama 1983
M.S. Geology Texas A&M 1987
M.B.A. Alabama 1989

Neal & Katie Lineback

January 15, 2019

Dear Peggy and Family,

We are very sorry to hear about Gary. I enjoyed so much the 18 years I spent there at the University of Alabama and Gary was the department chair over the first six of those and a friend until I left to return to Appalachian State in North Carolina. Gary taught me a great deal just by association and I admired his spirit and intellect and he treated me much better than I deserved. We all had such wonderful times together. Among many good memories, Gary, Travis Hughes and I worked on a project on the Peace River in Florida for Phil LaMoreaux, we hunted at the Ten-High Hunting Club there in Tuscaloosa County and we played numerous practical jokes on one another. Gary made it a joy for me to come to work and I will forever be indebted to him for the opportunities and friendship he generously provided to me. Katie and I send our deepest condolences to all of you for the loss of a husband, father, grandfather and friend. He will be missed by all of us.

Neal Lineback

Susan Bowen

January 15, 2019

Such a sweet, brilliant, humble, and gentle man. I always felt better just being around him.