Burt Barnes and Chuck Olson at SNRE Campfire
Burt Barnes and Chuck Olson at SNRE Campfire.

In Memoriam

Harrison Morton

Harry MortonProfessor Emeritus Harrison (Harry) L. Morton, whose teaching and research focused on tree diseases, died October 13, 2020, at the age of 81. An avid outdoorsman, Morton loved fishing and was in a group that fished on the Au Sable River and Viking Lake. He also enjoyed playing poker and was a member of the faculty poker club at SEAS during the 1970s and 1980s.

Morton taught introductory and advanced forest pathology courses to students interested in forest production and tree health. He also introduced an undergraduate course in urban forestry, encouraging many students to pursue professional careers with municipalities and the green industry. With a basic interest in microbiology, Morton’s research involved tdecay. Particularly interested in Michigan Christmas trees, he described new major foliage diseases on Douglas-firs and unraveled the biology and then disease control using chemical, cultural, and genetic resistance techniques. READ MORE

Chuck OlsonCharles (Chuck) E. Olson

Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles E. Olson Jr. died on June 28, 2020, at the age of 89. Olson had recently been nominated for the distinguished U.S. Geological Survey William T. Pecora Individual Award by three of his former remote-sensing PhD students: SEAS Associate Research Scientist and Lecturer Kathleen Bergen, and Senior Research Scientists Nancy French and Laura Bourgeau-Chavez of the Michigan Tech Research Institute. 

The letter of support from SEAS for this nomination, written in May of this year, serves as a fitting tribute to Olson’s impact as an educator and scientist. READ MORE

Patrick C. West

Patrick West

Professor Emeritus Patrick C. West, age 74, died at his home in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on April 13, 2020, after numerous health struggles. West taught at SEAS (then the School of Natural Resources and Environment) for 23 years. A tenured associate professor, West earned the distinguished title of Samuel T. Dana Chair of Outdoor Recreation in 1989. He served as director of Camp Filibert Roth and taught a wide range of courses including Environmental Natural Resources and Behavior, Integrated Field Studies, Social Impact Analysis, and Integrative Problem Solving. 

Mentoring dozens of graduate students during his tenure, West was well respected by his peers and students and was an early champion of environmental and social justice curriculum development at SNRE. READ MORE

John Witter

John Witter

Professor Emeritus John A. Witter died at home on August 4, 2020, at the age of 76. He was described as “the happiest, most enthusiastic, and most optimistic person you could ever meet.”

Witter joined the faculty of the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources (now SEAS) in 1972 as an Assistant Professor of Forest Entomology. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1976, and Professor of Entomology and Forest Dynamics in 1984. From 2000 to 2010, Witter held the George Willis Pack Professorship in Forest Entomology. During his 39 years at U-M, he was very active and enthusiastic as both a researcher and teacher. Among his many publications, he co-authored the well-known textbook, Forest Entomology: Ecology and Management. READ MORE