Ralph had a distinguished career with the USGS. It was quite remarkable, especially when one considers that he possessed only a Bachelor's degree in geology from UNC-Chapel Hill. Still, Heath had the chops to be named the Darcy Distinguished Lecturer by the NGWA in 1990. He lectured on, "Hydrogeology and Hazardous Waste Disposal", which you can still view on the NGWA site or below:
What I most remember about Heath is his gem of a publication, the 1983 Water-Supply Paper 2220, Basic Ground-Water Hydrology.
A classic if there ever was one, BGWH has been printed ten times and translated into German and Portuguese. Those versions are ones I know for sure; I suspect there is a Spanish version out there somewhere. It's a remarkable little book, cover the basics of groundwater hydrology with short chapters (a few pages) on various topics. Whe I taught introductory groundwater hydrology I used WSP 2220 as a supplementary text. The students generally loved it, as it simplified concepts or cut through the verbiage and described things simply. I still use it for myself today. I'm on my third copy.
After discharge from the Navy he returned to UNC Chapel Hill, receiving a BS degree in geology in 1948. During a career as a hydrogeologist with the U.S. Geological Survey from 1948 to 1982, he worked in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and North Carolina. His positions in the Geological Survey included that of Acting District Engineer in Tallahassee, District Geologist in Albany for New York and southern New England, District Chief of New York, and District Chief in Raleigh for North Carolina. While serving as District Chief in Albany he taught courses in groundwater hydrology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, NY.
Following retirement from the Geological Survey, Mr. Heath began a second career as a consulting hydrogeologist. He also became an Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering at NC State University, Lecturer in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Duke University, and Adjunct Professor of Geology at East Carolina University. He taught courses in groundwater hydrology at NC State and Carolina in the 1980's and at Duke into the 1990's. Later, he taught short courses in the Duke Senior Executive Program, for the National Research Council in Denver, for the NC State University Soil Science Department, and for Olson Enterprises of Tabor City, NC.
Mr. Heath was the author or co-author of more than 70 scientific publications, including an introductory groundwater textbook and hydrogeologic maps of the United States and of North America. His Geological Survey publication entitled Basic Ground-water Hydrology has been printed 10 times, and translated versions have been printed in both Germany and Brazil.
His professional honors include both Distinguished Lecturer and the Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer of the National Ground Water Association, the first Founders Award of the American Institute of Hydrology, Award for Distinguished Service in Hydrogeology of the Geological Society of America, and the Meritorious Service Award of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
For me, Ralph C. Heath will forever by synonymous with basic groundwater hydrology. So I won't soon forget him. But I'm sorry, Ralph, 'ground water' is now 'groundwater'.
I'll also remember him for the following quote:
'Seldom has so much money been spent so unwisely to accomplish so little.' - Ralph C. Heath, referring to the Superfund program, 1990 (apologies to Winston Churchill)