Dr. Duane Isely

Deborah A Lewis dlewis at IASTATE.EDU
Fri Dec 8 09:07:03 CST 2000

It is with sorrow that I report that Dr. Duane Isely, Distinguished
Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University, passed away on Wednesday
afternoon, Dec. 6, 2000, at the Ramsey Home in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Isely
is survived by his wife, Mary, two children, two stepchildren, three
grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Professional career: Duane Isely graduated with honors from the University
of Arkansas in 1938, and received his Master's degree in Botany the
following year. In 1942 he was awarded the Ph.D. in Botany from Cornell
University. In 1944, after doing studies on the region's plants for the
Tennessee Valley Authority, he was hired as an extension associate at Iowa
State College. He remained at Iowa State for the remainder of his career,
eventually achieving the title of "Distinguished Professor".

Dr. Isely's career at Iowa State went through several phases of research
and teaching interests. He was initially hired to help operate the
fledgling seed laboratory. He published more than 50 papers and a textbook
in the field of seed technology. He held several offices (including
president in 1954) and committee appointments in the Association of
Official Seed Analysts, and received the Award of Merit in 1965 for his
work in that organization. He was at the same time a weed scientist,
publishing nearly 20 books and laboratory manuals on weeds. However, a
gradual transition in his career led to studies within the legumes (bean
family). Fifty years of work and publications on legumes culminated in the
1998 publication of Native and Naturalized Leguminosae (Fabaceae) of the
United States (exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii). This monumental work
describes and provides identification keys to more than 1200 species. Also,
throughout his career, he was interested in the history of biology. In 1991
a series of his biographical sketches of botanists was published as 101

Dr. Isely was advisor to more than 20 graduate students in the areas of
seed technology and botany. He collected nearly 12,000 specimens for Iowa
State's Ada Hayden Herbarium and served as its director from 1986-89. From
1978-87 he was editor of the Iowa State Journal of Research and served on
the editorial boards of several national professional journals. He was
active in the conservation of natural areas, including the protection of
the Ames High School Prairie/Richard W. Pohl State Preserve. He was a
member of a number of professional organizations, including the American
Society of Plant Taxonomists and the International Association for Plant

Memorial services will be held at 2 pm, Monday, Dec. 11th in Ames. Please
contact me if you desire further information.

Deb Lewis

Deborah Q. Lewis, Curator
Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC)             E-mail: dlewis at iastate.edu
Department of Botany                        Phone: [1] 515-294-9499
Iowa State University                         FAX:  [1] 515-294-1337
Ames, IA  50011-1020

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