Charles F. Park, Jr., spent his early life in Wilmington, Delaware. He was fond of recalling that his interest in rocks and minerals dated from a time in his boyhood when he found a collection of specimens that had been discarded in his neighborhood. After high school, to satisfy an urge to see the West, he embarked as a steerage passenger on a ship bound for Galveston. A chance acquaintance on the voyage persuaded him that the New Mexico School of Mines was a good place to pursue his geologic interests, so to Socorro he went. Here he distinguished himself as captain of the basketball team, and in 1926 he was awarded a degree in mining engineering. There followed two years as a mine surveyor for the Empire Zinc Company in Hanover, New Mexico, then a master's degree in geological engineering from the University of Arizona (1929) and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Minnesota (1931). From 1931 to 1946 he was employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, rising to the position of geologist in charge of the section on metalliferous deposits. Just after World War II he moved to Stanford University as professor of geology, then for 15 years he was Dean of the School of Mineral Sciences (later Earth Sciences), and then holder of the Donald Steel professorship. After retirement in 1968, he continued to teach part time, was much in demand as a lecturer, and served as visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan.

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