Known affectionately as “MB” by his associates, peers and friends, Dr. Kumar passed away February 2, 2017. MB’s background and experience in the geosciences resulted in his appointment by Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2011 to head and aid in building the Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists. With the required nine members appointed, the board formally began operations in September 2013. MB was unanimously elected to be Chairman of the Board, a position he held for two years. His insight and leadership made the board a functioning reality. While his presence will always be with us, we will miss his input, spirit of cooperation and most of all his smile.
MB was born in India on January 4, 1942, which may have been an interesting time to grow up, considering the turmoil the world was in at that time. I do not have insight into these formative years, but do know that he received an undergraduate degree from the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, India. While there, he was awarded the Hayden Medal for academic excellence. He also set the highest achievement record for the school that remains unbroken to this day. After graduation, he went to work for the Oil India Limited Company. As a high achiever, he eventually decided to further his education and left India to pursue a Ph.D. degree at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The emphases of his studies were in geology and petroleum engineering.
After completing these studies, MB obtained a position at the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. While there, he became a highly respected researcher, working his way up the ranks to become the director of the Geological Oil and Gas Division of the Office of Conservation, a position he held for fourteen years. His research and work is frequently cited by others in the geoscience community. Many also have memories, some fond and some apprehensive, of their interaction with MB in the Oil and Gas hearings reviewed at the Department of Conservation.
But MB was not only a geoscientist. He was also a scholar of Vedic studies and the Sanskrit language. Leading perhaps to the obvious connection, MB was also a Hindu priest. In this role, MB became a beloved spiritual leader and mentor. One of his favorite books was the Bhagavad Gita. Two fond quotes follow.
Dr. Kumar (MB) is survived by Sharda Kumar, his wife of fifty-one-and-a-half years; Vinita Gandhi, his daughter, and her fiancé, Andrew Fordham; Madhuresh Kumar, his son, and Kristen M. Kumar, his daughter-in-law, and their children – MB’s grandchildren – Rohan, Mallika, and Kamryn.
William R. Finley, Chairman
Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists