Michael D. Delong Profile Photo

Michael D. Delong

September 17, 1958 — April 18, 2024

Trempealeau

Michael D. Delong

It is with a sad heart that we share the news that Michael Dean Delong passed away on April 18, 2024.

Mike was born on September 17, 1958, at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi to Bobby and Donna (Massie) Delong. Mike graduated from Ocean Springs High School in 1976.  After high school, Mike went on to earn his Associate Degree in Biology from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College, his Bachelor of Science in Marine Invertebrate Zoology from the University of Southern Mississippi, his Master of Science in Invertebrate Zoology from Memphis State University, and his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Idaho.  

After completing his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Louisville, Mike was offered and accepted a faculty appointment in the Biology Department at Winona State University.  There Mike met the love of his life, Robin Pruka, and they were married on October 14, 1995.  In 2000, their daughter, Savannah Marie Lanjian, became a part of their lives and their family was complete.

In 1995, Mike established the Large River Studies Center at WSU where he mentored many undergraduate students (he stopped counting after 160) as well as serving as a supervisor/committee member for numerous graduate students. He was also Chair of the Department of Biology at WSU for many years.  Mike was a highly cited river scientist. During his distinguished career, Mike gave over 200 oral presentations at national and international conferences, published over 40 peer-reviewed research papers, was the author/editor of eight books and was the lead editor of the second edition of the book, Rivers of North America.  In 2019, he was awarded the International River Science Award for service to river science.   Mike was also a founding editorial board member of the international journal River Research and Applications. Further, during his career, he successfully wrote and administered numerous grants that benefited WSU, his undergraduate students, and their research.  Mike travelled internationally and developed research collaborations (and friendships) in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, and China.  Mike served on the boards of both the Mississippi River Research Consortium and the International Society for River Science.  In May of 2022, Mike was awarded the status of Professor Emeritus for which he was extremely proud.  In his spare time, Mike enjoyed golfing, fishing, camping and being on the river.   A dear colleague and friend who will be missed but not forgotten.

Mike is survived by his wife, Robin; daughter, Savannah; his beloved dog, Nollie; brother, Bryan Delong; sister, Natasha (Gregory) Griffin; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Bernhard and Jeanette Pruka; and sisters-in laws and brothers-in-law: Tammy and Tom Kirk and Nicholas and Christina Pruka. He his further survived by nephews and nieces: Koih and Ezra Griffin; Matheau and Shelby Delong; Travis Burton; Jim (Jenelle) Kirk; Janene (Brandon Kveene) Kirk; Logan and Addysen Pruka; as well several grand-nieces and grand-nephews and many wonderful friends and extended family.  Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Bobby and Donna Delong; and his grandparents, William and Jessie Massie, and Jock and Helen Delong.

Per Mike’s wishes, there will be no funeral. Memorials may be directed to The Association for Frontotemporal Dementia (www.theaftd.org) or the WSU Foundation where a scholarship will be established in his name.

Until we are together again, my love.  Please give Lochsa, Biloxi, Tia and Noel hugs from us.


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