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Posts Tagged: In memoriam

In memoriam: Lowell Lewis

 

Lowell Lewis and former ANR colleague Judy Craig got together in September 2019. Photo by Joe Craig

Lowell N. Lewis, UC ANR associate vice president emeritus and professor emeritus at UC Riverside, passed away on July 17, 2020. He recently celebrated his 89th birthday, but had been in declining health for some months.

 

Lewis received his education at Pennsylvania State University and Michigan State University prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Horticultural Science at UC Riverside in 1960. His academic fields were biochemistry and horticulture and his research during the 1960s and beyond focused on the role of gibberellins in promoting citrus color. He also worked extensively on determination of the roles of plant hormones and cellulase in abcission. In 1971, he was named research dean in the College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, a precursor of the current College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. In 1981, he was appointed director of the California Agricultural Experiment Station and assistant vice president in the UC Office of the President. In 1986, he was advanced to associate vice president. He formally retired from the university in 1991.

 

Following retirement, he served as a research consultant to the Agricultural Minister of Egypt and in 1994 began an extended period of additional service to UC, functioning as the University's liaison with the Catalonian (Spain) Institute of Agricultural Research and Technology. He was instrumental in establishing a technology transfer agreement with the Catalonian Institute and also a program of student and faculty exchange in honor of Gaspar de Portola, California's first governor who was born and raised in Catalonia. He also served on the Advisory Board of the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy and as a special advisor to the Chair of the Forum. During this period, he took up residence in Barcelona, Spain, where he remained until two years ago.

 

During his career, Lowell Lewis received many honors and awards. Among them were membership in the California Academy of Science, election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He was also nominated to participate in the Senior Executive Program at the Harvard Institute for Educational Management.

 

At the time of his death, Lewis resided in Irvine, Calif. He his survived by his three children Beth Marsh, Brad Lewis, Nancy Hermansen and several grandchildren.

 

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 3:31 PM
  • Author: Henry Vaux, Jr., professor emeritus and AVP emeritus

In memoriam: George Goodall

Grower Cliff Sponsell and George Goodall, right, at Sponsell Ranch in Santa Barbara, looking at Duke cutting replant in an avocado root rot grove in 1977.

George Goodall, emeritus UCCE farm advisor and county director, passed away June 22, 2020, at age 98. 

A fourth-generation Southern Californian, Goodall grew up on a diversified farm in Canoga Park. After serving four years in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, he earned a degree in subtropical horticulture from UCLA in 1947. Goodall was hired the same year as a UCCE subtropical fruit farm advisor for Ventura County, then in 1951 moved to serve Santa Barbara County as a farm advisor specializing in avocados, citrus, walnuts and wine grapes. He later earned a master's degree in agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1974, he became director of UCCE in Santa Barbara County until he retired in 1987.

“George was instrumental in the creation of the Williamson Act and in establishing the avocado industry amongst a lot of other things,” said Ben Faber, UCCE subtropical crops advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

“As important as his knowledge and experience, it was his manner, attitude, personality, sense of humor, etc. that made him an ideal Extension agent,” Faber said. “He was equally comfortable in the world of academia as he was in the real world of farming and people. And he loved good food, a good bottle of wine and good company. I'll never forget his laugh and his stories. He and John Evans and Bud Lee were like the three musketeer county directors who were all excellent extension administrators and at the same time outstanding farm advisors.”

George Goodall

In 1972, Goodall received the Award of Honor of the California Avocado Society. Among other industry honors, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the California Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America, the Commendation Award from the Soil Conservation Society of America, and a gold watch from Calavo Growers of California.

During his career, he authored nearly 30 papers on avocado production and many more papers on subtropical fruits.

He was a member of the American Society for Horticulture Science, the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Soil Conservation Society of America, and was a past president of the California Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America. A member of the California Avocado Society since 1949, he also belonged to the Lemon Men's Club, The California Citrus Nurserymen's Society, and the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau.

According to his family, Goodall once bestowed a Medal of Honor to former Governor Ronald Reagan for soil conservation.

After retiring from UC, Goodall did agricultural consulting in the Mediterranean, Latin America and Africa. He also became active in the Santa Barbara Rotary Club and his local genealogical society, tracing his ancestry to the origins of man and giving presentations on genealogy.

Goodall is survived by his wife Jeanne, son Stephen (Jane), grandchildren Emily (Cheyne) and Jason and great grandchildren Lyndee and Jaxton O'Gorman.

 

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 4:41 PM

In memoriam: Betty Hewitt

Betty Hewitt
Betty Hewitt, UC Cooperative Extension home economist advisor emerita in El Dorado County, passed away April 8 at age 92.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in home economics from Colorado A&M College, Hewitt served three years in the WAVES as a laboratory technologist in San Diego and Hawaii during World War II. 

In 1947, Hewitt began her UC Cooperative Extension career as a home demonstration agent in Sonoma County. In 1949, Hewitt became the first woman home economist and a founder of 4-H in El Dorado County, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. As the UCCE 4-H advisor, Hewitt expanded the program to serve more than 10,000 4-H members in countywide 4-H clubs over the years until her retirement in 1982. She also taught families nutrition, cooking, sewing, homemaking and personal finances.

“Numerous newspaper articles chronicling Betty's work and achievements, dated from as early as 1949 can be found in archive scrap books preserved at the county UCCE office,” wrote her niece, Lorraine Larsen-Hallock, an active 4-H volunteer and 4-H alumna. “Betty did not have children of her own, but always considered the 4-H youth as her children, to be nurtured through the 4-H program to help them become future leaders.” 

Read more about Hewitt's life at https://www.mtdemocrat.com/obituaries/betty-hewitt.

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 10:38 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H

Humiston speaks to House Ag Committee on value of agricultural research

From left, Robert Duncan, Texas Tech University chancellor; Jacqueline Burns, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences dean for research and director; Humiston; Walter H. Hill, Tuskegee University dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences and vice provost for Land-Grant Affairs; Steven H. Tallant, Texas A&M University president; and Carrie L. Billy, president and CEO of American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

“The general public and, in particular, large funders tend to not view agriculture as a particularly sexy topic. We've done such a great job for over 150 years of providing a safe, secure, wonderful, bountiful food supply that people take it for granted,” VP Glenda Humiston told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, explaining the challenges of fundraising for public agricultural research.

A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding, Humiston told U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture.
Humiston was among the six higher education leaders invited to Washington, D.C., to speak on the importance of university agricultural research and innovation on June 22.

“Agricultural research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) when he announced the hearing on The Next Farm Bill: University Research. “With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, U.S. production agriculture will continue to be asked to produce more with fewer resources, and the best way to do that will be through strategic investments in agricultural research. I look forward to hearing from university leaders about the opportunities and challenges they face in ensuring American agriculture remains a world leader in cutting-edge technology and research.”

Conaway asked why the universities' agriculture programs lack infrastructure like labs and greenhouses and have $8.4 billion in deferred maintenance.

“As we've dealt with cuts and increased costs, it's been easy to say, ‘We can put off fixing that roof or put off buying that new piece of equipment a few more years if we can keep those researchers doing their work,'” Humiston explained. “Unfortunately, I think that's been going on for decades rather than a few years and that's why it's gotten so critical."

Humiston and the other guests described how their institutions partner with private industry and other government agencies to leverage federal funding.

Highlights of Humiston's remarks

  • A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding specifically dedicated to supporting research and Cooperative Extension programs at America's land-grant universities.
  • The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities.
  • A recent study found the return on investment for federal funding of the public land-grant system averages 21:1, corresponding to annual rates of return between 9 percent and 10 percent.
  • With University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serving as a vital partner, California's $47 billion agricultural sector continues to make California the nation's top agricultural state.
  • In the past fiscal year, UC ANR has served more than 1.4 million adults and youth directly, published 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
  • Although progress is being made to incrementally increase appropriations to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, it remains funded at considerably less than the $700 million authorized in the previous two Farm Bills.

To watch a recording of the hearing, visit YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckbfCTTuZs0. Humiston appears at the 24:45 mark.

For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.

The committee has scheduled listening sessions, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders across the country. They will be in California on Aug. 5 in Modesto.

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Eric Natwick, UCCE Imperial County advisor, hangs up his insect net after 36 years

Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz presents Eric Natwick a plaque on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.
After a long and distinguished career with the UC Cooperative Extension office in Imperial County, entomologist Eric Natwick has decided to hang up his insect net. Natwick graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1980 and began work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in their insect lab in Tucson, Ariz. On July 1, 1981 he moved to the Imperial Valley where he joined the UCCE Imperial County office as the entomology advisor.

Since then, he has been a critical resource for pest management needs in field crops, alfalfa and vegetables. Besides alfalfa, his main focus has been on cotton, cole crops, lettuce, melons, onions and bell peppers. His most recent work has been working to spot and send out important information to growers and pest control advisers (PCAs) on the potentially devastating sugarcane aphid. Some of his other important projects include whitefly host plant resistance in cotton, insecticidal control of cotton pests and whitefly control in melons, and the tomato yellow leaf curly virus, a disease that threatens both commercial tomato production fields as well as home gardens.

Back in the 1990s, Natwick's work and research on the pink bollworm, which was invading the region's cotton fields, was instrumental in changing growers' practices by restricting cotton planting and terminating dates. The pink bollworm is no longer as severe a pest as it once was.

He has also put in an enormous amount of work into combatting the sweetpotato whitefly, for which he has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally. He worked on pesticide evaluations for short-term control of the pest and tested alfalfa varieties for whitefly resistance. Natwick also helped develop an alfalfa irrigation management strategy to reduce whitefly numbers.

UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie presents to Natwick a plaque recognizing 35 years of contributions to UC.
During his time at UCCE Imperial County, Natwick's expertise in entomology was sought out all over the world. He has given presentations and provided consulting to more than 25 countries, including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and most recently Spain. In 1994, he received a distinguished service award as outstanding research advisor.

Former UCCE Imperial County director Khaled Bali said, “Eric has always been a hard worker and is one of the top one percent of advisors in having achieved the highest step (Step 9) in the UC system six years ago.”

Another former colleague, Michael Rethwisch of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln said, “It takes a special person to be a successful low-desert cooperative extension entomology advisor. It takes grit, perseverance, self-motivation, leadership and an expert eye for new insect pests and resulting challenges when diseases are involved. Eric, you not only survived, but thrived!”

UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie said, “Because of his great knowledge, Eric has been our ‘go-to' person for our new advisors when they had questions or needed ideas. I can say that Eric has been a great artist of research in the field of entomology whose position will not easily be filled.”

In addition to his research, Natwick served two terms on the Holtville City Council, was mayor in 1988-89 and was director of UCCE Imperial County for five years. He has also done extensive mission work internationally.

Natwick was recently honored at a retirement party. About 70 of his colleagues, friends and employees turned out to say thanks for his years of service. He and his wife, Lisa, recently moved to Cedar City, Utah, where they plan to enjoy their “golden years”.

This article was published in the Imperial Valley Press on July 6, 2017.

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 10:29 AM
  • Author: Trish Burich-McNeece
 
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