It was the carefully organized papers of Professor Urbanovsky that the university archivist recalled, that cracked open the door and shed light on a not-too-distant history most had forgotten. Via his, and his students’, contributions to the Texas state parks system, the Texas Heritage Trails, and even the landscaping of the Tech campus, Urbanovsky left an important mark on the Lone Star State for decades to come.
One of the original gradstudent team, Jerry Rogers, now retired from a distinguished career with the National Park Service, paints a colorful picture of the man. “Genial, friendly, outgoing beyond the normal meaning of the word, he was well liked among faculty and staff,” said Rogers, “and his reputation for innovation and unconventionality was known to all. . . . Always dressed in a rumpled suit and tie and when outdoors wearing an almost goofy little hat, he happily cultivated a reputation for being both brilliantly innovative and eccentric to the point of occasional nuttiness.”He was “a man of many ideas and much energy,” and he had secured a state contract in the amount of $30,000 a year to “identify and designate roads in Texas that would counteract the “Interstate effect”; to get cities, towns, and counties to recognize that money could be made by getting tourists to slow down and explore special places; and to understand that each community had some special identity that deserved to be recognized, preserved, and cultivated.” The spade work of these tasks he left largely to the four graduate assistants: Donald Stence, H. Alden Sievers, and Harold Dollins, in addition to Rogers.