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Dennis H. Hall Student Travel Grant

Colleagues and friends established this fund ​in honor and memory of Dr. Dennis H. Hall (1922-1984). The following obituary, written by R. N. Campbell and R. K. Webster, appeared in Phytopathology Vol. 75, No. 8, 1985, p. 875.

Dennis H. Hall
Dennis H. Hall died unexpectedly on November 22, 1984, in Sacramento, CA, following heart surgery. He had been working in the laboratory until entering the hospital two days earlier. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Marjorie Farr Hall, of Davis, three daughters, and 12 grandchildren.

Dennis Hall was born on May 27, 1922, in Brigham City, UT, where he received his schooling. After two years of study at Weber College and one year at Utah State Agricultural College, he served for three years with the U.S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific. He continued in the active reserves until 1959 when he retired with the rank of major. After World War II, Dr. Hall finished a B.S. degree in botany and an M.S. degree in plant pathology at Utah State University. He served as an instructor in botany at the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1949 to 1951 before enrolling in the graduate program of plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin. He was a student of pathology at the University of Wisconsin. He was a student of Professor J. C. Walker and worked on cucurbit viral diseases for his doctoral research. In 1955, he accepted a position as extension specialist in plant pathology at the University of California, Davis, with responsibility for diseases of field and vegetable crops. In addition, he was appointed lecturer in plant pathology and associate in the Experiment Station in recognition of his contributions to teaching and research in the graduate program of the department.

As an extension specialist, love of his job and enjoyment of the challenge of disease diagnosis was obvious to all who knew him—especially to those who visited his laboratory on weekends when Dr. Hall studied specimens that had accumulated while he was traveling during the week; worked on pet research projects, such as meristem culturing of sweet potatoes, garlic, and potatoes; and discussed current thoughts on many aspects of plant pathology with all who visited.

Dr. Hall was highly regarded as an extension specialist and as a plant pathologist. His assignments were in all parts of California and included all types of plant diseases. He was familiar with the entire spectrum of diseases that occur on vegetable and field crops. This expertise was recognized worldwide and was appreciated and utilized by faculty members of the Davis, Riverside, and Berkeley plant pathology departments; growers; and farm advisors. Class field trips were scheduled to include Dr. Hall and he thoroughly enjoyed his involvement with students. Dr. Hall has left a lasting impression on several generations of plant pathologists and has served as major professor for several doctoral students. He served his primary clientele, the county farm advisors, with great dedication, working with them to identify diseases and raise their proficiency in diagnosis, actively working on disease control trials, and participating in field days and extension meetings devoted to a broad range of crops.

Dr. Hall’s attention to all phases of crop production is best exemplified by his contributions to the sweet potato industry in California. This industry had an assortment of problems: soilborne pathogens, virus-infected planting stock, and unsophisticated handling practices and facilities. Over the years, Dr. Hall examined chemical means of controlling stem rot, scurf, and scab; initiated and developed a virus-free stock program; and educated the growers to the importance of seedbed sanitation and proper harvest, root curing, and storage conditions. The development of this industry was a source of pride, and his great contributions were recognized with a Special Award of Merit by the California Sweet Potato Council in 1976. His contributions of fundamental research are evident in the papers he authored or co-authored and published in journals such as Phytopathology and Plant Disease. He also authored numerous circulars and brochures that are the life blood of extension work. Dr. Hall was a member of The American Phytopathological Society and Sigma Xi and served on several society committees during his career.

Dr. Hall was an ardent “botanizer” and enjoyed identifying plants observed on field trips in the diverse ecological zones of California. He had a deep appreciation of the diversity and beauty of the natural flora of the western states and often discussed the rich flora to be found in the seemingly barren expanses of Nevada. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and other sports both as a participant and spectator.

We remember him as a loyal, cheerful friend, a respected scientist, and a dedicated, energetic worker—one who was always modest about his achievements and talents. He contributed to and enriched through his knowledge and personality all aspects of the Plant Pathology Department at Davis and California agriculture in general.