Our first recipient of the Division's Distinguished Service Award is the USDA's senior Plant Pathologist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Robert W. Goth grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1961 and in that same year was hired by Dr. William J. Zaumeyer as a Research Plant Pathologist in the Bean and Pea Investigations unit at Beltsville, Maryland. While in bean research, he identified the presence of the gamma race and three others of the bean anthracnose pathogen, Colletotrichum lindemuthianum, using the reactions of differential cultivars. He also identified a new bean virus, G42, and published a new puncture method for isolation of plant pathogenic bacteria. He developed a vacuum method for inoculation of common bean seeds with the halo blight bacterium.
In 1968, he transferred to potato research in which he is still active. Perhaps the most significant of his many contributions to potato pathology research has been development of a method for quantifying scab resistance/susceptibility and more recently the development of horizontal resistance to the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Along the way he isolated the causal bacterial agent of watermelon blotch and identified sources of resistance to it. Because of his broad knowledge of vegetable diseases, he has been a valuable resource person and spokesperson for the USDA and the National Program Staff of the Agricultural Research Service.
Within the Potomac Division of APS, Bob got an early start serving on the Program Committee three times in the 60's. He has subsequently served in that most sought after position in the Division, Secretary/Treasurer, after which he was rewarded with being elected to Vice President/President in 1984-85. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Memorial Fund, begun as a memorial to Dr. Joe Worley, on which the interest accrued is now funding our Memorial Fund Graduate Student Travel Grant Award.