Bert Lear (1917-2005)

Dr. Bert Lear died suddenly in Palo Alto, California, November 8, 2005.

Bert Lear was born in 1917 in Logan, Utah.  He entered Utah State University in January 1937 majoring in Botany and Plant Pathology with a minor in Chemistry.  He completed studies for his B.Sc. in 1941.  During his last two years as an undergraduate, he served as an assistant at the Utah Experiment Station aiding in tomato disease research.


In June 1941 he was appointed as a U.S.D.A. agent at Utah State University, where he continued his work on tomato diseases.  In April 1943 he accepted a Dow Chemical Co. Fellowship in the Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1947 having carried out his thesis research under the direction of Dr. A.G. Newhall.  Dr. Lear’s thesis was entitled “The Use of Methyl Bromide and other Volatile Chemicals for Soil Fumigation.”

After graduation, Dr. Lear was appointed assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at Cornell University, where he worked on control of the Golden Nematode.  In 1952, Bert moved to New Mexico State University to begin research on nematode problems of cotton.  In 1953 he joined the faculty of U.C. Davis as Assistant Nematologist in the Department of Entomology.  At U.C. Davis, Dr. Lear initiated a course on nematode control, taught formal courses on the Principles of Nematode Control and and on Nematode Pathogenicity to Plants, supervised twelve graduate students.  He conducted extensive research on chemical and physical methods for controlling plant-parasitic nematodes, particularly in vegetable and ornamental crops.  In 1975,  when the Department of Nematology was temporarily designated a division of the Department of Entomology, Dr. Lear became a member of the Department of Plant Pathology and remained in that department until his retirement.

Bert Lear retired from U.C. Davis in January, 1985.

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