Robert Edmond Gregg
Almost two years ago, now, an event occurred that I
would never have imagined precipitating. A Belleek
Honouree Medallion surfaced, for bid, on E-BAY. It
was the medallion of the late Robert Gregg, Third
Honouree of the B.C.I.S. I wish to thank all those
who cooperated in NOT bidding such that we, as a
Society, were capable of obtaining this precious
medallion. I, along with the Worldwide B.C.I.S.
Members, now present it back to the Pottery in hopes
that it will be displayed next to Robert's picture in
the Honouree's Gallery.
Robert was a very accomplished man. His obituary only
glances at a handful of his numerous achievements.
The complete text of his obituary, from the Daily
Camera, Boulder, Colorado may be viewed at the
following Link :
Dr Gregg's Obituary !!
The Registrar's Office at the University of Chicago,
lists Robert as graduating in 1935 with a B.S. in
Zoology and completing his Ph.D., also in Zoology in
His achievements are recognized as he is honoured with
a listing in the American Men and Women of Science
Journal which may be viewed at the Link :
AMWOS Journal Listing !!
For those of you not familiar with the honour of
Emeritus, this is NOT simply an honourary degree,
it is a title bestowed on those, whom in the opinion
of their peers, have achieved the highest level of
accomplishment in their chosen field. For example,
a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science would, most
likely, also hold advanced degrees in Mathematics as
well as Electrical Engineering. They would also have
published articles in every major journal and compiled
volumes of their relevant research.
As his obituary states, Robert and his wife, spent in
excess of 40 years, collecting and categorizing ants.
This vast collection was bequeathed to the Museum of
Natural History, Chicago, Illinois. The Director of
Insect Collections at the Museum, considers Robert's
contribution the fourth most important collection of
ants in the Western hemisphere. Although the collection
contains examples of every insect species, since Robert
specialized in ants, his collection contains in excess
of ONE MILLION Species of ants.
Along with Robert's ant collection, the Museum also
was the recipient of his collected research papers and
extensive Entomological Library. Both the physical
collection and reference library are ONLY available to
students of entomology. They are not currently available
for public display.
His extensive Belleek collection was bequeathed to the
Art Museum at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Their
Curator of Collections, states that Robert's collection
contains a marvelous selection of the world famous
Belleek Basket Ware among many other rare items.
Unfortunately, similar to other museums in the world,
this one is also under funded, and as such, is not
capable of displaying his impressive Belleek Collection
on a permanent basis. It has been, and will be, on
public display in the future. No exact dates have been
set at this time but, if you are planning to be in the
Ohio area, you may wish to contact the Museum directly
at 1.513.529.2232 and ask the Museum Staff if his
collection is currently on display.
Commander Fred B. Gary, U.S.N.R., Belleek's First, and
deservedly so, Honouree remembers his very good friend
and Belleek Tour Companion, Robert 'The Bog Man', in a
couple of precious anecdotes.
On one Belleek Tour, Robert, attempting to position
himself for a 'better' camera shot, hopped over a ditch,
by the side of the road, and squarely into a 'bog'.
He emerged, mud oozing from his shoes and pants legs,
'The Bog Man'. From this moment on, Robert always
signed his correspondence with Fred as 'The Bog Man'.
For those of you not familiar with a bog, it is similar
to thick muddy marsh area which, is very often obscured
by the 'peat' growing over it.
On another occasion, during a Belleek tour, Fred recalls
that the busses were waiting for their passengers to
load for continuation on to the next destination.
Robert was nowhere to be seen. Eventually he arrived
and nervously hunted around for a glass container.
Finding none, he settled for a plastic bag and within
several minutes returned with a baggie full of ants,
a species he claimed had never been catalogued
Now, to put this in it's proper perspective, remember
that Robert's collection contained in excess of one
million unique species of ants. He was capable of
distinguishing a SINGLE NEW, unrecorded species?
Belleek's Millennium Catalogue ONLY lists 2,603 items
in current production and I couldn't even attempt to
name them all!
Our Fifth Belleek Honouree, Donald H. Clinton, remembers
his friend Robert with several succinct observations :
"He fell in love with Belleek as a small boy of 10
and told of his parent's collection growing from a
'shamrock iron pot sugar and creamer' and his own
collection exceeding 450 pieces at the time he was
honored by the Pottery in 1988.
"For Seventy years he enjoyed collecting the precious
Parian which we all treasure and his appreciation was
all the greater enhanced by his love of the people of
Ireland mid their indomitable spirit. He was as proud
as a shiny pound when they placed the Belleek Chain of
honor around his neck, that evening in Donegal, on
"It was said of him that he had a 'tireless pursuit of
knowledge' which was demonstrated in so many ways.
"Dr. Gregg was motivated by a most inquisitive mind and
the sagacity to match it. His voracious and adventurous
spirit sent him from pole to pole and then some, seeking
satisfying answers to his curiosity.
"I'll never forget being with Bob, in Ireland, when he
bought the 'King of Baskets' of Belleek baskets: THE
RATHMORE. It was an exquisite example of the craft
which crowned his collection and he carried it all the
way back to Denver on his lap, not trusting the over-head
luggage bin or the other passengers.
In retrospect, Donald, who is also the Pottery's Resident
Poet Laureate, honoured his friend Robert with a Limerick
he composed which, may be read at the Link :
Don Clinton's Remembrance Limerick !!
For those of you Belleekers, whom might not have been
privileged to view an Honouree's Medallion, below is a
display of the front and reverse of the Male flavour :
Note, the Female flavour is decorated in the Belleek
Pink Trim. Also, each medallion is Marked with the
appropriate Period Mark.
Robert Edmond Gregg, Ph.D. (Zoology), Professor Emeritus,
Phi Beta Kappa, Belleek Honouree, Friend, R.I.P.