In memorial of Alfonso Neri Garcia Aldrete
(Feb. 28, 2013, San Miguel Ajusco, Mexico City)
By Jose Arturo Casasola-Gonzalez
Since I was a child I have always been interested in insects and that was the reason that led me to become a biologist, but in the beginning, my knowledge of insects was limited only to the most common groups, that is, to beetles and butterflies, mainly. However, everything changed when Alfonso Garcia Aldrete opened the doors to a world totally unknown to me and it was then that I discovered the fascinating world of psocids. Alfonso was my professor at the university and he gave me General Entomology laboratory classes, one of the courses that I enjoyed the most during my entire stay at the university. Due to the interest that I showed in the classes and the ability I had to dissect and mount insects, he asked me to help him prepare the specimens with which he worked and that is how my professional career began, but it was also the beginning of a great friendship that grew over time.
For me, Alfonso was not only a teacher, he was also an "academic father" who guided me at all times and helped me develop professionally and in my personal life. I always had great respect for him, and despite the camaraderie and trust we had, for me he was always Dr. Alfonso. I always admired his way of working, he was a methodical and constant man, every day he did several activities, one after the other, he wrote a few lines for a manuscript, dissected a specimen, made an illustration and described some new species, always with great enthusiasm and also, he took time to attend to his friends and especially his family. Another thing that fascinated me was the patience and dedication with which he dissected and prepared the specimens, almost always accompanied by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, thanks to Alfonso I discovered my taste for ancient and baroque music.
I remember that one of the things that Alfonso enjoyed a lot was traveling and just as he was methodical in the laboratory, he was also methodical in the field work, he made a lot of effort in the search and collection of psocids, but he also took the opportunity to visit the places where was he going. He not only liked to contemplate natural landscapes, he also admired pre-Columbian archaeological remains and colonial baroque art, he was a cultured man. He enjoyed good food, which he always accompanied with a glass of wine or a shot of tequila.
He was a great fan of soccer and his favorite team was the gpumash from UNAM, obviously, but he also followed the gtigersh from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, his alma mater's team. Although I never asked him, I was always curious to know what happened when both teams faced each other on the field, which one did he support more?
With Alfonso I shared moments that will remain in my memory forever, his departure leaves a great void in me and although I will always remember him with joy, his absence hurts me a lot. I will always be grateful for the trust he had in me from the beginning and, above all, for the opportunity he gave me to develop professionally as a psocopterologist. However, he still had a lot to teach me and I still had a lot to learn from him. His departure is an unfortunate loss, but his legacy will prevail forever, thank you so much Dr. Alfonso Neri Garcia Aldrete!