He was a biologist, mentor, champion, arbitrator, and advisor

Carl Frentress
Carl Frentress

Former Advanced Ecology employee and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) retiree, Carl Frentress, passed away Thursday, May 2, 2019.

A native of Henderson County, Texas, Carl grew up in a family with farming traditions. He served in the U.S. Army with a tour in Korea where he told of witnessing a North Korean MIG overfly their post.

Carl earned a bachelor of science degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University and worked as a wildlife biologist with TPWD from 1972 to 2004 where he served as one of the first non-game staff members in the department. During his career, he was recognized for his pioneering work on aerial photo interpretation and use, his expertise in bottomland hardwoods systems, his knowledge about waterfowl, and his contributions to developing the wildlife management valuation as an option under the agricultural tax exemption.

Carl came to Advanced Ecology by way of a meeting with CEO Mike Bird in the spring of 2004 at Carl’s TPWD retirement party. “Carl was out of his element,” Mike recalled. “He was not a social butterfly, and in a setting where people from all over Texas and elsewhere were there to celebrate him and the contributions he made to Texas, the environment and people he knew. This was absolutely not his setting. Carl was an unassuming man by his character; however, he commanded an understanding of our natural environment that few folks I know comprehend.”

“I looked at a stream as a necessary component of moving water away from the land and an obstacle to cross when I was cruising timber or setting up a logging job,” Mike continued. “Carl saw something totally different. He spoke of the functions of wetlands and streams and soils and plants and animals not as individual components of our environment, but as a whole; as one complemented another and depended on the other to make our environment healthy. Spending time with Carl changed me and he changed other folks whose lives he touched.”

“He commanded an understanding of our natural environment that few folks I know comprehend.” J. Mike Bird

Carl enjoyed good whiskey, good music, cooking, and socializing with people. He loved his family with a deep reverence and often expressed how proud he was of his family. He loved to hunt and fish, but he didn’t let those things get in the way of work: another one of his passions.

Following 32 years with TPWD and 13 years with Advanced Ecology, Carl retired in July 2017. He was a biologist and a mentor; he was a champion for our company and our causes; he was an arbitrator and an advisor; and he was often characterized as someone who could “either hold hands or kick butts depending on the situation.”

He is survived by his wife, Sally; two sons, Corey and Gabe; a daughter, Hope; and several grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were not available at the time of this writing.

He was our friend, and we will miss him.


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