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Arnold Pierce Appleby, 1935 - 2018

Arnold Pierce Appleby, 1935 - 2018

Author: Whitney Wilgus/Monday, December 17, 2018/Categories: Other Blogs:, Obituaries

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Arnold Pierce Appleby of Corvallis died peacefully at home on December 6, 2018. He was 83 years old.

He was born on a farm near Formoso, Kansas, in 1935, to Howard and Argie (Pierce) Appleby. He started school in Hawthorne one-room school, and attended Lovewell and Formoso grade schools. He entered Courtland, Kansas High School as a freshman and graduated in 1953, then attended Kansas State University, graduating with a B.S. (with high honors) in Agricultural Education in 1957, and M.S. degree in Agronomy in 1958.

At Kansas State, he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho agricultural fraternity, was president of Blue Key, senior men’s honor society; and was named a Senior Leader of the university. He was awarded several scholarships, including a national Alpha Zeta scholarship.

He was married to Geraldine Smith, a high school classmate, on April 1, 1956, in Courtland. In the spring of 1958 as he neared graduation with the Masters of Science, he was offered a federal position at Oregon State University, but by summer’s end, he was informed that he could not be hired for a federal position because of his Type I diabetes.

He then enjoyed teaching math and biology one year in Bazine, Kansas High School in 1958-59. The senior class dedicated the yearbook in his honor. The oldest son, Brian, was born that December in the county seat, Ness City.

He, Gerry, and Brian then moved to Corvallis, where he joined the Crop Science (then Farm Crops) Department at Oregon State University in a state-supported position and began studies toward the PhD degree. In 1961 a second son, Brent was born. He received the Phi Sigma Award as the Outstanding Graduate Student in the Biological Sciences, which included 12 departments. He received the PhD degree in 1962. During 1962-63, the family lived in Pendleton, Oregon, where he conducted research in weed control at the Pendleton experiment station. They moved back to Corvallis in 1963 where he began teaching, conducting research and advising graduate students.

He received numerous teaching and research awards during his career. Among others, these include three Distinguished Professor awards at OSU, Fellow awards from four professional societies, the Outstanding Teacher Award and the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Weed Science Society of America, one award each year for the U.S. and Canada. He won the Outstanding Weed Scientist Award from the Western Society of Weed Science in 1991.

Three times, the students of the Crop Science Department named him the Teacher of the Year. In 1974, he was elected Vice-President of the Weed Science Society of America, which would have progressed to President, but diabetic retinopathy necessitated a serious, experimental vitrectomy eye surgery, so he resigned the office. Fortunately, the surgery was a complete success and he retained full eyesight for the rest of his life.

In 1980, he received the R.M. Wade Award as the outstanding teacher in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He served as major professor or co-major professor for 74 graduate programs. Paul Willard, Salem, died in the early 1990s, and his will bequeathed over $850,000 to the Crop Science and Horticulture Departments at OSU. In his will, he added that the reason for the gift was “in recognition of the many services provided to me over the years by Dr. Arnold Appleby.”

He retired in January 1992. In 2001, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Kansas State University College of Agricultural Sciences. In 2009, he was named a Diamond Pioneer by the College of Agricultural Sciences, and in 2010, he was inducted into the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame, one of only two on-campus faculty to ever be inducted in the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1980.

During his career, he traveled to many locations to scientific meetings and for consulting about agriculture and weed control. He visited 49 U.S. states and 33 countries on six continents.

He became a Type I diabetic in 1950 when knowledge and equipment of diabetes management was limited. He lived to see many improvements in both areas including sharper needles, portable blood sugar monitors, et al. He always felt very fortunate to survive and be relatively productive with this serious disease for so many years.

In retirement, he enjoyed visiting and corresponding with friends from around the world; reading novels, U.S. history, and biographies, gardening, doing crossword puzzles, feeding the ducks, and spending half-days at the Crop Science Department, where he maintained an office and served as Building Manager. He was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of the Agricultural Research Foundation in 1995. He was named Volunteer of the Year by the OSU Retirees Association. He authored six books on the history of two professional societies, the Crop Science Department, the weed control project at OSU, an extension of the history of the Agricultural Foundation, and a personal memoirs.

He was immensely proud of his two sons, his five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Geraldine Alice (Smith) Appleby; sons, Brian of Corvallis, and Brent and wife Stacy of Holliston, Massachusetts; brother, Dennis in Texas; sisters, Audrey Diamond and Eileen Erickson in Kansas; five grandchildren, Christine Appleby Williams, Nikki Appleby Olivas, Peter Appleby, Brittany Appleby Long, and Benjamin Appleby; great-grandsons, Theo Williams and Cole Olivas; and great-granddaughters, Lila Olivas, Madeline Williams, and Adalaided Williams.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Doris Lucille, who was stillborn; and an older brother, Edwin.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 4, at the First United Methodist Church of Corvallis. Ashes will be interred in the Oak Lawn Cemetery, Corvallis.

Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be donated to the OSU Foundation for the existing Arnold P. Appleby Educational Fund.

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