Clyde W. (Mac) McBeth


Clyde W. (Mac) McBeth



            Clyde Warren (Mac) McBeth died in Payson, Utah, January 2005.  He was born June 5, 1909 in Payson, to Melvin Othello and Lurana Ann Taylor McBeth.  He married Pearl Elizabeth Wilding on April 28, 1937.  After her death, he married Rowena Pfeiffer McBeth on June 15, 1991. 


            Mac grew up in Payson, Utah and attended Westminster College for one year before transferring to the University of Utah where he graduated in 1933 with a degree in zoology. He was employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1929 to 1945.  During this time he received his MS degree from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.  Until 1939, he was stationed at Salt Lake City, Utah where he worked and trained under Gerald Thorne. He then transferred to the Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station at Tifton where he cooperated in research on nematicides with A.L. Taylor.  He was co-author of the first publications on the use of methyl bromide as a soil nematicide (A.L. Taylor and C.W. McBeth. 1940. Preliminary tests of methyl bromide as a nematocide. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington 7:94-96, and A.L. Taylor and C.W. McBeth. 1941. A practical method of using methyl bromide as a nematocide in the field. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington 8:26-28).


            Gerald Thorne, aware of developments in Nematology in California, informed Merlin Allen and Clyde McBeth that a nematology position was being established at the University of California Berkeley and another by the Shell Development, a branch of the Shell Chemical Company, at their laboratory in Salida, near Modesto, California.  McBeth and Allen discussed various aspects of both positions and came to the mutual agreement that Merlin would best apply for the position at Berkeley and Mac for the Shell position.  In 1945, McBeth moved to Modesto and worked for Shell Chemical Company until he retired in 1969.  He was promoted to Chief Nematologist of Shell’s Biological Research Center and to Nermatology Department Head in 1968.


            As a Nematologist at Shell, Clyde McBeth became widely known and highly respected, both nationally and internationally. He was one of the first Nematologists to screen nematicides on a large scale and he played a major part in the early development of the chemical nematicide industry.  Although much of his work at Shell was proprietary and not published, Mac was one of the co-discoverers of the nematicidal capabilities of DBCP (1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane) - later known as Nemagon (C.W. McBeth and G.B. Bergeson. 1955. 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane – a new nematocide.  Plant Disease Reporter 39:223-225).  He traveled widely in the United States and foreign countries advising in the development of nematode research programs, especially those leading to effective use of nematicides.


            An important service to the teaching of Nematology in California in the 1950s was a series of ten Short Courses ranging from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks.  The courses were designed for all interested individuals to acquaint them with the rudiments of Nematology, techniques of collection and identification, plant symptoms and various control measures.  The courses were collaborative efforts of the University of California Department of Nematology, U.C. Agricultural Extension Service, California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Shell Chemical Company.  Clyde W. McBeth was especially prominent in the organization and presentation of the courses.


            For his efforts in the development of the discipline of Nematology and his contributions to nematode control, in 1978 Clyde McBeth was awarded the highest honor of the Society of Nematologists, that of Honorary Member.


            Clyde McBeth left Modesto and moved back to Utah in 1990 after the death of Pearl, his wife of 53 years.  He is survived by his wife, Rowena, son Jim, daughter Alice, and 13 grandchildren.  He was buried January 28, 1995 in the Payson City Cemetery, Payson, Utah.


Anon. 1978.  Clyde Warren McBeth awarded honorary membership in Society of Nematologists. Nematology Newsletter (E.M. Noffsinger, ed.) 24(3).

Anon. 1995.  Death Notice: Clyde W. (Mac) McBeth. The Salt Lake City Tribune, January 27.

Raski, D., I. Thomason, J. Chitambar and H. Ferris. 2002.  A History of Nematology in California (120 p). 


B. G. Peters, C. W. McBeth, H.J. Reynolds, R. W. Baines

Riverside, California, 1953

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