Ont. horticulture scientist Ron Pitblado, 63

Private funeral services were held Monday in Chatham, Ont. for research scientist and ag extensionist Ron Pitblado, who died Nov. 11 of leukemia.

Pitblado announced his retirement from the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus in January 2007 after 33 years, with a resume including stints as horticulture section head, associate director of academics, and acting campus director.

Pitblado came to the university as a vegetable pest management lecturer and researcher, working in the development of insect and disease strategies for horticultural crops, which led him to “travel the globe investigating opportunities and sharing his knowledge,” the university said in a release.

His work included the development of TOM-CAST, a weather-timed pesticide spray program now used worldwide in processing tomato production, and a role in the development of the Ontario Weather Network (OWN), a project to help growers with the timely application of irrigation and pest management products.

“Sharing his understanding of mushroom production, Ridgetown Campus boasted the only mushroom education facility in Canada and when he wasn’t teaching students at Ridgetown, Ron taught mushroom production to countless farmers around the globe,” the university said.

“His unstoppable passion to investigate new possibilities for agriculture, particularly for Ontario’s fruit and vegetable industry, defined his extensive teaching, research, and extension career,” Ridgetown campus director Art Schaafsma said.

The family requested donations in lieu of flowers to the Ridgetown Campus Agri-Food Foundation and/or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

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