Donald Henry Dewey

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture Michigan State University, East Lansing

Dr. Donald Henry Dewey passed away on 4 Apr. 2008. Don was emeritus professor and a long-time member of the faculty at Michigan State University (MSU), having been appointed professor of horticulture at MSU in July 1960.

A native of New York State, Dr. Dewey worked at the Cornell Geneva Experiment Station during his high school years. He had been raised on the family farm in Geneva and felt there was limited opportunity for small truck farmers, so he sought education as the answer for his future. Consequently, his early work experience at the Geneva campus led to his undergraduate and graduate studies at Cornell University. Dr. Dewey graduated from Cornell University with a BS degree in 1939. He was in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and served in India and the Marianas. Returning to Cornell, he earned a PhD in 1950 from the same institution.

Dr. Dewey came to Michigan State University in 1952 as an assistant professor. He was appointed associate professor in July 1955. His major area of concentration, aside from teaching, was research on the handling, transportation, and storage of horticultural crops. Dr. Dewey was instrumental in the initiation of the International Controlled Atmosphere Research Conference series that began at MSU in 1969. The conference continues to engage researchers working in the storage of fruits and vegetables under modified atmospheres; in Apr. 2009, it will be held in Turkey. Dr. Dewey also helped initiate the Gordon Conference series in postharvest physiology, which also continues to convene, bringing the top researchers in this area together every four years. Don served as acting chair for the department from 1978 to 1979.

Dr. Dewey's experience includes two positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first was as junior olericulturist at Cheyenne Horticulture Field Station in Wyoming from 1939 to 1946. During that time he served in the U.S. Air Force for two years, including 19 months in India and Tinian. His second position was with the USDA in Fresno, CA, where he was an associate plant physiologist. The Organization for European Economic Cooperation granted him a senior visiting fellowship (Sept. 1960 to Mar. 1961) to study at the Ditton Laboratory in Kent, England. At the time of his death, he held membership in the Society of Sigma Xi, American Society for Horticultural Science (elected a Fellow to the Society in 1973), International Society for Horticultural Science, Institute of Food Technologists, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.

Don helped the Michigan Apple Industry to develop their controlled atmosphere capacity, which led to long-term storage of the Michigan apple crop. Don was the acting chairperson of the Horticulture Department prior to the hiring of Jack Kelley as chair. Don retired in 1983. Memorials in Don's memory can be made to Michigan State University Horticulture Gardens, in care of 300 Spartan Way, East Lansing, MI 48824 or to St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church, 600 La Canada Dr., Green Valley, AZ 85614. He is survived by his wife, Bethel, who lives in Green Valley, AZ.

Randolph M. Beaudry and Frank DennisDepartment of Horticulture Michigan State University, East Lansing

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