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IN MEMORIAMDr. Sagastegui, director and curator from HUT and HAO in Trujillo, passed away. See Obituaries here (Spanish), and (Google Engilsh translate) here. [Posted 16 July 2012]
In Memoriam, Edward G. Voss
Eminent Michigan botanist and long standing expert on nomenclature, Edward G. Voss passed away Feb. 13, 2012, a few days short of his 83rd birthday. Born in Delaware, Ohio, Ed spent his entire professional career, including a productive retirement that began in 1996, at the University of Michigan, studying the plants and Lepidoptera of his adopted state. He is best known among botanists for his three volume Michigan Flora, plus his work on botanical history, especially his “Botanical Beachcombers,” and for his long service to the International Association of Plant Taxonomy, serving as secretary of the editorial committee of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature from 1969 to 1981 and chairman from 1981 to 1987. Ed also had a strong interest in Lepidoptera, publishing a number of papers on the butterflies and moths of northern Michigan. He was a highly skilled field botanist and collector, a dedicated teacher who was very focused on showing students the living plants in their natural settings, especially during his many summers teaching at the University of Michigan Biological Station, and a strong advocate for plants and their environments.
Arrangements have not yet been finalized.
Tony Reznicek and Richard K. Rabeler,
University of Michigan Herbarium [Posted 16 February 2012]
In Memoriam, Leslie David Gottlieb
Leslie David Gottlieb was born in New York City in 1936. Following a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1957, he earned a Master's degree from Oregon State University in 1965, where he studied hybridization between species of manzanita in southwestern Oregon. His PhD at the University of Michigan in 1969 examined patterns of diversity and mechanisms of speciation in Stephanomeria. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Genetics at the University of California, Davis where he taught classes in genetics and evolutionary biology, and served as department chair for three years during the mid-1980s. Gottlieb researched a broad array of subjects including plant speciation, polyploidy, biochemical evolution of isozymes and molecular genetics. He will be long remembered as a pioneer and strong advocate for the application of biochemical and molecular data to plant systematics. Many of his studies dealt with rare and endangered species, particularly in the genera Clarkia and Stephanomeria. He also wrote the Flora of North America treatment of Stephanomeria.
Gottlieb published more than 120 research papers and received a number of awards including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1975), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1985), Alumni Association Fellow of Oregon State University (1993), and the Botanical Society of America Merit Award (2000) and Centennial Fellow Award (2006).
In 2004, Leslie and his wife Vera Ford Gottlieb retired from UC Davis to Ashland, Oregon. He was active in the Native Plant Society of Oregon, and served as the Chair of the Rare and Endangered Plants Committee. He passed away on January 31, 2012, from the complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 75. [Posted 16 February 2012]
In Memoriam, Bernard Verdcourt (20 January 1925 - 25 October 2011)
See the obituary published in The Telegraph. [Posted 6 February 2012]
In Memoriam, Osvaldo Morrone, 1957-2011
Elizabeth A. Kellogg, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Some systematists leave a permanent stamp on the taxonomy of a group of plants, with their names associated in some way with virtually every taxon in their study group. Osvaldo Morrone was such a person. In a relatively short career he published an extraordinary number of papers, most in collaboration with his friend and colleague Fernando Zuloaga, and nearly all focused on the grass tribe Paniceae. The team of Morrone and Zuloaga marched steadily through hundreds of the 2000+ species of pancioid grasses, leaving for the community a great stream of revisions and monographs, and completely changing our view of species, genera, subtribes, and their relationships. While many systematists are content to produce a single major monograph in their lives, Osvado produced several. It is characteristic of this body of work that each paper was illustrated, the conclusions supported by anatomical and micromorphological data, and thoroughly documented. Molecular data were produced as well, often in collaboration with Osvaldo’s wife Liliana Giussani, and were integrated into the morphological and taxonomic projects. In short, the papers are definitive.
I was lucky to collaborate with Osvaldo on several projects, and to visit with him in Argentina a couple of times. He was a kind person who always had time to work with students or visitors, to explain or clarify ideas, and to learn something new about plants. Equally important, he got things done; he was a collaborator you could count on. Despite this focus on his work, he found and treasured time for his four children, of whom he was justifiably proud.
For the last several years, Osvaldo had lived with cancer, and kept it at bay with continued treatment. During this time he continued to work and maintain his characteristic focus on plants, colleagues, friends and family until the fall of 2011, when the treatments could no longer hold off the disease.
Our mutual colleague Fernando Zuloaga prepared a remembrance of Osvaldo, from which the following comments have been excerpted and translated; the original appears in Darwiniana 49(2): 257-262. 2011.
"It is very difficult, but at the same time an honor, to write about my great friend and colleague of many years. ...It has been gratifying to me to share with Osvaldo so many great moments ... We met ... in 1986, ... after [he finished] his studies in the Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Universidad Nacional de la Plata, with a fellowship (beca de iniciación) from CONICET, under my direction and that of Dr. E. de la Sota. Initially Osvaldo worked at the Museo de La Plata, and during this time we published our first paper in 1986. We took our first, memorable trip together in 1987 to the northeast of Argentina with Dr. A. L. Cabrera, Silvia Botta and Marieta Múlgura. ... [T]his trip was unforgettable for the innumerable problems that we had with the vehicle, together with [Osvaldo’s] desperation at being unable to collect the Urochloas that we were looking for.
"...Osvaldo moved to the Darwinion Institute in 1987 and began a close friendship that lasted more than 24 years. In all those years we shared not just work, but also had long chats about politics and football, and endlessly designed new projects. As he would say "how wonderful to have such entertaining work!" ... I remember particularly the time that we returned late to the Institute, and stayed working into the night, without space, without computers, but more than happy. Osvaldo headed out from San Antonio de Padua, after taking care of his children, preparing food at night and so on, always with enthusiasm.
"We took innumerable trips through Argentina and others to Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, on our own or with colleagues from the Darwinion or other institutions. I will never forget the field trip that we took to Bahia Brazil, with Pepe Pensiero, and the dinner in which we ate, the counters for a lottery game, believing they were peanuts. We also shared long working days, always with the Paniceae as an excuse, at the herbaria of the National Museum of National History in Washington and that of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our final trip together was to Cuba in 2007, during with he told me about the disease that he was beginning to suffer from. After that, we tried to extend and update various aspects of the Darwinion, to incorporate more young investigators as well as to acquire equipment, and to improve the laboratories and building.
"Osvaldo’s work during his short career was enormous. He obtained his doctorate from UNLP in 1989 and was accepted to the Carrera del Investigador del CONICET in 1993. He received various important awards such as a Smithsonian Institution fellowship in 1993, an Alwyn H. Gentry grant from the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1999, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007. He directed 2 theses de Licenciatura, 7 Ph.D. theses, 15 fellows, and 3 investigators of the Carrera del Investigador of CONICET. Osvaldo also participated actively on several committees of CONICET, on doctoral thesis committees, and as a jury of Ph.D. theses; he was a member of the editorial committee for Darwiniana, a member of the editorial committee and Director of the journal Hickenia from 1995 to 2005, a member of the Advisory Board of the Darwinion from 2002 to 2004 and Subdirector of the Darwinion Institute between 2004 and 2011. He was an Adjunct Investigator of CONICET from 1993 and 1999, Independent Investigator between 1999 and 2010, and culminating with the position of Principal Investigator. He was a director or participant in a total of 40 grants. In terms of his scientific output, he published a total of 94 papers in refereed journals, 15 in national and international floras, 6 books, and 4 book chapters, and a total of 60 presentations in national or international congresses.
"I hope that I have been able to synthesize in this brief note the work and personality of an exceptional person, one who will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends."
Director, Instituto de Botanica Darwinion"
[Posted 13 January 2012]
Norton Miller (1942-2011) passed away on 7 December 2011. See the obituary published in the Albany Times Union.
Bryan H.B.S. Womersley (1922-2011) passed away 16 January 2011. He was a long standing corresponding member of ASPT. For more information, see the tribute at http://www.aspt.net/publications/newsletter/AMSA_184_3_Pg12_Womersley.pdf. [Posted 12 December 2011]
Dale Metz Smith passed away on 1/28/2011. He was 82 when he died and had been an member or emeritus member of ASPT since 1950. [Posted 22 September 2011]
Paul Arnold Fryxell (1927-2011)
Paul Arnold Fryxell died in Claremont CA, Monday, 11 July 2011, as a result of heart failure. He was born 2 February 1927 in Moline IL, the son of Hjalmar Edward Fryxell and Hulda Eunice (Peterson) Fryxell. Residing in Texas from 1965 to 2005, later he and his wife moved to Claremont. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his only brother, Robert Edward Fryxell. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Greta Albrecht Fryxell and their three children: Karl Joseph Fryxell and his wife, Margaret (Peggy) Kraft Fryxell of Fairfax VA, Joan Esther Fryxell and her husband, Timothy Michael Ross of Claremont CA, and Glen Edward Fryxell and his wife, Lenita Alverson Willhight Fryxell of Kennewick WA. There are five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and six nephews.
Dr. Fryxell received education at Moline High School and at Augustana College in Rock Island IL (class of 1949); subsequently he received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Iowa State University. First employed by the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station (Las Cruces NM), he then taught at the University of Wichita (Wichita KS) in the Department of Botany and Bacteriology. Most of his professional career was spent as a research scientist with the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, first in Tempe AZ and then at Texas A&M University in College Station TX. Upon retirement in 1994 he moved to Austin TX. He was appointed Honorary Curator at the New York Botanical Garden in 1993, and also that year accepted a position as Adjunct Professor (in the then Department of Botany) at the University of Texas. Most of his extensive plant collections are now housed at the New York Botanical Gardens and the University of Texas. During World War II he served in the Army Air Force (1945-1946), part of which time was spent in southern Germany (Bavaria) at the Oberpfaffenhofen Air Base, where he helped entertain war-weary troops by playing saxophone for the big band music then popular. Later he received an honorable discharge and returned to his college education.
In his professional career he published widely in the technical scientific literature, including more than 200 papers in scientific journals, several books (notably The Natural History of the Cotton Tribe, the Malvaceae of Mexico, and a monograph on Pavonia), and contributions to numerous floristic works (e.g., the Flora of the Lesser Antilles, Flora Meso-Americana, Flora Novo-Galiciana, and others). He served as President of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (1983-1984) and of the Society for Economic Botany (1988-1989). Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancment of Science and of the Texas Academy of Science, he was honored with the Cotton Genetics Research Award in 1967 and the Henry Allen Gleason Award in 1989 (for an outstanding recent publication in the field of plant taxonomy, plant ecology, or plant geography). Paul Fryxell was a Fulbright Scholar in 1993, studying in Argentina. His biography is listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who's Who in the World, and several similar biographical references.
Fryxell s research work took him to many parts of the world as a botanical explorer, including extensive work in Mexico and Australia and additional field work in Central America, Venezuela, and Brazil. He specialized in the plant family Malvaceae and was sought after as a consultant for his expertise with this group of plants.
Paul Fryxell was an active member of Unitarian Universalist churches, where he lived in Arizona, in Texas, or in California, serving in various capacities. Most recently he served as coordinator of the BUUK GRUUP of the Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, a book club in which he enjoyed the lively discussions. [Posted 14 July 2011]
Ronald R. Weedon, 1939-2010
Ronald Ray Weedon, 71, died unexpectedly while working in his yard at his home in Chadron Nebraska on Tuesday 25 May 2010. Weedon, a 39 year member of the Chadron State College (CSC) faculty served as professor of physical and life sciences and curator of the High Plains Herbarium (CSCN). In addition to botany, Ron taught microbiology courses on campus for 29 years, incorporating students in research on antimicrobial properties of native plants and other topics. Ron helped expand CSCs science offerings during his tenure, helping to build programs in environmental resource management, wildlife management, plant sciences, and horticulture. In addition to his teaching duties he was involved in the campus arboretum, and ran the CSC greenhouse as a service to the campus. He planted several ornamental flower beds and often spent weekends hand weeding and pruning ornamentals around the Science Building.
Under Rons watch the CSC herbarium expanded from about 2400 specimens to nearly 60,000, becoming the second largest in Nebraska one of the largest in the northwestern Great Plains. His commitment to collections included securing the papers and library of ethnobotanist and Native American Church scholar George Morgan, as well as those of pioneering Great Plains botanist and horticulturalist Claude Barr, whose book Jewels of the Plains Ron completed and published after Barrs death in 1982. He assembled a pharmacological collection of over 10,000 items and was instrumental in rebuilding mammal collections on campus, including the acquisition of two semi-trailer loads of taxidermy specimens in 2008.
Ron was born on 16 May 1939 in Caldwell Idaho, and completed his undergraduate studies at the College of Idaho in 1964. An undergraduate trip to Mexico strongly shaped his interest in botany, and he went on to earn a masters degree and a doctorate from the University of Kansas, the latter in 1973. His dissertation was entitled Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Bidens (Compositae) in the north-central Great Plains states. Bidens remained the primary focus of Rons research through his career, and over the years he initiated a number of student research projects on the systematics and pharmacology of beggar-ticks, as well as many others in floristics, systematics and ethnobotany, having co-authored more student papers than any other instructor in the colleges history. Additionally he and a colleague developed a very successful field studies program taking groups of students on extended trips to various places such as Big Bend National Park, Badlands National Park, the Black Hills of South Dakota, countless nearby locations in Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota, on floral studies to the southeastern U.S. and beyond U.S. borders to Canada, Baja California, and Costa Rica.
Ron is survived by his daughter Jessica of Rapid City, South Dakota. His family, friends , students and colleagues will greatly miss his can-do attitude, his marvelous sense of humor, and his generous spirit. [Posted 15 November 2010]
Walter L. Meagher
It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Walter L. Meagher at age 75 on July 12, 2010. Walter, a former publisher, devoted his retirement to a passion for natural history, shared by his wife Wendy, who survives him. One focus was on floristics, from St. Kitts and western Mexico to the environs near his home in Oxford, England. He was also interested in botanical monographs and for many years supported Systematic Botany Monographs with generous annual gifts, which allowed for the timely publication of 17 volumes. The ASPT has lost a good friend and benefactor.