ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

In memoriam: Chuck Ingels

Chuck Ingels, left, presented a workshop on espalier training for fruit trees at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in May 2018. Photo by Pam Bone

Chuck Ingels, longtime UCCE advisor in Sacramento County, lost his battle with cancer Aug. 12.

Ingels joined ANR in 1989 as a tree and vine information analyst for the statewide Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program in Davis. In 1996, he became a UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Sacramento County, specializing in tree crops, grapes and environmental horticulture. He actively supported the UC Master Gardeners, giving workshops on urban horticulture. He gave a workshop on espalier fruit trees as recently as May.

His research and extension focused on IPM, evaluation of sustainable products and practices, water conservation and deficit irrigation, home orchards and vineyards, sustainable landscaping, alternative turfgrass species, and tree training, pruning and grafting.

During the drought, Ingels advised homeowners on how to save their landscape trees.

“Chuck's absence leaves an enormous void in all of us who knew and worked with him,” said Morgan Doran, UC Cooperative Extension director and livestock and natural resources advisor for the Capitol Corridor. “His kindness was without boundaries and he exuded an incredible energy for living a life close to nature, especially plants, staying fit, being near people he enjoyed, and doing what he felt was right. Chuck will be dearly missed.”

His expertise was often sought after by journalists for a wide range of topics, from when home gardeners should spray fruit trees, to brown marmorated stink bug, to sugar accumulation disorder in grapes for growers.

“Chuck was more than just a farm advisor,” said Farmer Fred, who devoted a segment of his KFBK Garden Show on Aug. 19 to remembering Ingels. “He was a scientist. He was a researcher. He was an engineer. And he was a communicator. He could take all the jargon of science and tell a farmer, tell a gardener, exactly what the problem is and how to treat it.”

Pam Bone, former UCCE farm advisor in Sacramento County who was a search committee member for the UCCE advisor position, told Farmer Fred, “Right away, Chuck stood out to me. He was dynamic, his presentation was very interesting and informative, but he was down to earth, too, and I think that was the thing that impressed me the most. I said, ‘This is a farm advisor. This is the type of person who can work with the growers.' He also had the responsibility of working with the Master Gardener Program and the landscapers and other people who work in the ornamental horticulture industry.”

Ingels explained codling moth mating disruption in a pear orchard during a specialty crop tour. Photo by Petr Kosina
Bone called Ingels “the father of Fair Oaks Horticulture Center,” a one-acre research and demonstration garden open to the public and managed by Sacramento Master Gardeners since 1998. “It would not have existed with him,” she said, explaining that Ingels conceived of the plan and secured funding for the project. 

Of his many publications, "The Home Orchard: Growing Your Own Fruit and Nut Trees," remains a UC best-selling book.

Ingels, who was born in 1956 and raised in Merced, earned his B.S. in fruit science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and his M.S. in horticulture at UC Davis.   

Ingels is survived by his wife, Tracy Lesperance, his son Joshua Ingels, and his siblings Carol Green, Biff Ingels, Gary Ingels and Becky Ingels.

Sympathy cards may be addressed to the UCCE office in Sacramento County at 4145 Branch Center Rd., Sacramento, CA 95827. Plans for an enduring tribute to Ingels at Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will be announced at a later date. Donations in Ingels' memory can be made to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center through the UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County website

A celebration of Ingels' life will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, Family Life Center/Conference Room A, 11427 Fair Oaks Blvd., next to the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center in Fair Oaks.

Ingels' obituary was published in the Sacramento Bee  

Posted on Friday, August 31, 2018 at 5:25 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture


I had the privilege of working with Chuck at UC SAREP in the early 1990s. He was a wonderful colleague and gentle soul. I had the pleasure of visiting the Fair Oaks Horticultural Center on the occasion of the CE centennial a few years back; what an amazing example of what Cooperative Extension is all about. Chuck is missed and fondly remembered.

Posted by Dave Campbell on September 12, 2018 at 9:31 AM

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