F. Raymond Fosberg Obit
dgarnitz at CAP.GWU.EDU
Wed Nov 10 01:03:03 CST 1993
F. RAYMOND FOSBERG
Dr. F. Raymond Fosberg, 85, Botanist Emeritus at the
Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, a
world-renowned authority on plant and ecosystem conservation
and on vegetation and floristics of the Pacific basin, died
Saturday, September 25, 1993 at his home in Falls Church, Va.
after a long bout with cancer.
Dr. Fosberg published his first scientific paper in 1929 while
still a student at Pomona College in California. During a career
that spanned the next 63 years, he published more than 600 papers
on plant taxonomy, plant distribution, ecology, and conservation.
He contributed to a number of scientific books. He founded and
edited the Atoll Research Bulletin, a forum for all aspects of
island biology, which has now run to 389 issues. He was also
co-editor of The Flora of Ceylon, of which eight volumes have been
published to date.
Dr. Fosberg was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1908. He
graduated from Pomona College in 1930. He earned his Master's
degree from the University of Hawaii in 1935, and his PhD in Botany
from the University of Pennsylvania in 1939. As a member of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, he spent World War II in South
America searching for wild stands of the Cinchona tree, the only
source of quinine at that time. From 1950 to 1965, as a botanist
at the U.S. Geological Survey, he contributed to many vegetation
studies, particularly in the Pacific. In 1966, he joined the
Smithsonian Institution as a special advisor on tropical botany.
He continued to work at the Smithsonian Institution even after his
"retirement" in 1978, until shortly before his death.
During his career, Dr. Fosberg received numerous honors for
his work in encouraging and publicizing the need for conservation,
and for scientific contributions to world-wide ecosystem
preservation. His advice was sought by hundreds of groups and
individuals with ecological interests, such as Rachel Carson, James
Michener, and Marlon Brando. He received four honorary degrees,
from Pomona College and from Universities in Guam, Sri Lanka, and
Fiji. He received a number of awards from various scientific
organizations including The American Geographical Society and the
Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii. He helped organize
and participated in many international scientific meetings; notable
among these were eight of the Pacific Science Congresses which are
held periodically in a host country on the Pacific rim and which
cover all aspects of natural sciences in the Pacific region.
He probably visited more Pacific islands, always for detailed
study, than any other man in the twentieth century.
He is survived by four daughters Charlen Kyle of Falls Church,
Ilima Sylva of Boulder Colorado, Karol Bradford of Woodstock,
Virginia, and Hildie Blunt of Hatfield, Massachusetts; by six
grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and by his brothers
Maynard Fosberg of Moscow, Idaho and L. Marion Fosberg of
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to:
The F. Raymond Fosberg Memorial Fund
c/o Westamerica Bank
834 Sir Frances Drake Blvd.
San Anselmo, CA. 94960
Funds may be wire transferred direct to Westamerica
Bank to ABA routing # 121140218, attn: F. Raymond Fosberg
Fosberg Botanical & Ecological Consulting
3077 Holmes Run Rd.
Falls Church, Va. 22042
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