In Memoriam

Beverley Holloway, from Holloway (2007) taken by Birgit Rhode.

Beverley Anne Holloway

25 October 1931 – 11 May 2023

Beverley Holloway, who published on Anthribidae (Holloway, 1970, 1971, 1982, 1984), died at age 91 this May. Her last years were spent in a rest home after having a fall a few years prior (Grey et al. 2023).  Beverley’s death was preceded by that of her husband, weevil specialist Willy Kuschel, who died in 2017 (Oberprieler 2018, Brown et al. 2017), just after celebrating his 99th birthday. On Willy’s final day he finished a manuscript, refused his heart medicine and had a beer (non-alcoholic). Holloway and Kuschel were world renown, award winning taxonomists. Beverley deserves bonus points for surviving Willy’s staunch and raising their three children virtually single-handed while Willy was down the road surveying the beetles at Wattle Bay (Kuschel 1999). 

Shortly after my arrival to New Zealand in 1997, Beverley and Willy invited me to their home for a meal. We became friends and they welcomed my wife Elena and I as well as overseas coleopterists into their home.

Beverley was about half as tall as Willy, and it was she who taught me by example on how to deal with Willy’s strong character. I put into practice her Willy-telling-off-technique upon Willy’s next visit to the New Zealand Arthropod Collection, Auckland (NZAC).  He entered my office demanding full attention to complain about the length of my specific epithets and how they weren’t conjugated correctly in Latin. In firm retort, “It’s too late now Willy, the damn names are out there, nothing can be done!” He’d return a charming smile, pleased I withstood his barking. No one else seemed to challenge Willy and other staff were surprised by our banter.  On the phone with Elena Willy called me baisano.

Beverley in the kitchen (September 5, 2015)

Visits to the Kuschel home were enjoyable. Beverley was curious about new technologies. She would quiz Elena about molecular biology and new genetic methods. By contrast, Willy pontificated and lectured visitors as he delivered opinions from his pulpit, I mean position, at the dining table. I’d slip into the kitchen to have tea with Beverley and chat about her times at Harvard, friendship with Tom Eisner, and how she cared for the children while Willy was off in the bush.

Elena and I visited Beverley at the rest home, just before Covid.  Her memory at the time was relatively intact. With a laptop, I showed her a presentation on beetles; her curiosity hadn’t waned. Beverley spoke of Willy as if he was alive; and there he was preserved in a photo that hung on the wall, he looked over us, but remained silent.  

Beverley didn’t want a funeral, but the children, Gerda, Carl, and Erika, went ahead with one anyway. It was an opportunity to rejoice over Beverley’s life and dedication to family and research. I chatted with Carl, a mild mannered and friendly chap who arrived from Australia, and Gerda, a force of nature and organiser of the ceremony. 

Willy’s career continued till he died. Beverley’s grey-haired ambitions were modest. She meticulously revised the New Zealand Lucanidae, her foremost passion (Holloway 2007).  Beverley’s studies were scholarly and careful. Willy’s style more dogmatic and loftier. Each, though, had made significant contribution to their fields and were careful and astute observers. 

In the 1960’s Beverley had been pressured out of her job until the children were grown because women of the times who became pregnant weren’t allowed in the workplace. She may have felt a twinge of resentment towards Willy who continued with his research uninterrupted. Despite life’s Sturm und Drang and her hiatus from the NZAC, Beverley returned to work full time to eventually lead the Systematics Group of Entomology Division, DSIR (Department of Science and Industrial Research), from 1988–1990, retiring in 1991. Beverley’s accomplishments were lengthy. She had written 32 papers and monographs from 1954-2007, obtained a scholarship to obtain a PhD at Harvard under Frank Carpenter, undertook community involvement with woman’s rights, and more (Grey et al. 2023).

I don’t recall talking with Beverley in depth about her Anthribidae work. Her 1982 revision was seminal and exemplary. As I’m aware, it remains the only complete treatment of the family for a biogeographic region.  

Beverley and Willy’s dedication contributed to the golden years of the NZAC when I believe that taxonomy held more prominence, or at least had equal scientific stature to other programs in the old DSIR. I was lucky to befriend Beverley and Willy, happy to be involved as a small part of their large lives and humbled to work within their legacy.

Rich Leschen, Auckland, New Zealand, September 22, 2023.

Literature Cited

Brown, S., Oberprieler, R.G., Leschen, R.A. and Crosby, T.K., 2017. Guillermo (Willy) Kuschel (13 July 1918–1 August 2017). New Zealand Entomologist, 40:2, 92-97.

Grey, L., Leschen, R., Brown, S.D.J., and Crosby, T.K. 2023. Beverley Anne Holloway (25 October 1931–11 May 2023). New Zealand Entomologist.

Holloway, B. A. 1970. A new genus of New Zealand Anthribidae associated with lichens (Insecta: Coleoptera). New Zealand Journal of Science 13: 435-446.

Holloway, B. A. 1971. Entomology of the Aucklands and other islands south of New Zealand: Coleoptera: Anthribidae. Pacific Insects Monograph 27: 261-270.

Holloway, B. A. 1982. Anthribidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 3, 265 pp. 2nd impression 1985 with taxonomic index (265-268) and corrigenda (269).

Holloway, B. A. 1984. Morphology of pronotal carinae and associated surface structures in New Zealand Anthribidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 11(4): 445-450.

Holloway, B. A. 2007. Lucanidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 61. 254 pp.

Kuschel, G. 1990. Beetles in a suburban environment: a New Zealand case study. The identity and status of Coleoptera in the natural; and modified habitats of Lynfield, Auckland (1974–1989). DSIR Plant Protection Report, 3, 1–118.

Oberprieler, R.G., Lyal, C.H., Pullen, K.R., Elgueta, M., Leschen, R.A. and Brown, S.D. 2018. A Tribute to Guillermo (Willy) Kuschel (1918–2017). Diversity, 10(3) 101-132.