Former University of Denver botany Professor Moras Shubert, who died Dec. 10, at age 100, lived a rich and productive life. Born on a farm in Nebraska near a town that bore his family name, Shubert grew up in nearby Falls City and later attended Peru State Teachers College. There, he double majored in biological science and chemical science, with a minor in mathematics.
He earned his BA from Peru in 1934 and the next year met Erne, his wife to be, at Iowa State University. They married in 1938. Shubert earned his PhD from Iowa State in 1940. At the start of World War II, he worked as a chemist in the Economic Warfare Department in Washington, D.C., before being inducted into the Navy and sent to New York City.
Shubert and his wife came to DU in 1946, and both began teaching in the botany department. In 1951, Shubert was asked to become a trustee of the Denver Botanical Foundation, which later became the Denver Botanic Gardens. He was one of 12 original members of the board and worked with famous architect Saco DeBoer on the original design. Shubert served as secretary to the board until 1998. When Erne died in April 2011, just one month shy of her 98th birthday, her memorial service was held at the gardens on June 12, the couple’s 73rd wedding anniversary.
Shubert also was known as a great competitive figure skater. He started skating at DU in 1949 in the old Arena Fieldhouse. He performed at the annual spring ice shows at DU until 2003. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was one of his ice-dancing partners.
Shubert owned a home in the 2100 block of South Columbine Street for many years and was an active member of the University Park Community Council. In the 1970s, he played a major role in developing and implementing a plan to beautify historic Buchtel Boulevard. He helped establish the Buchtel Trail, as well as the urban prairie, and gave many walking tours of the site.
“Moras attended—and participated in—nearly every University Park neighborhood meeting over the past 46 years,” says Diana Helper, a longtime member of the University Park Community Council. “He was especially honored at University Park’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2011, and his interest, advice and spirit have benefitted the neighborhood in countless ways. He will be missed.”
Among his many University activities, Shubert was commencement marshal for many years. He retired from the University in 1977, at the age of 65. He celebrated his 100th birthday on May 21.