[Taxacom] Paul Fryxell

Jenkins, Philip D - (pjenkins) pjenkins at email.arizona.edu
Thu Jul 14 17:30:36 CDT 2011


        Paul Arnold Fryxell died in Claremont CA, Monday, 11 July 2011, as a result of heart failure.  He was born 2 February 1927 in Moline IL, the son of Hjalmar Edward Fryxell and Hulda Eunice (Peterson) Fryxell.  Residing in Texas from 1965 to 2005, later he and his wife moved to Claremont.  He was preceded in death by his parents and by his only brother, Robert Edward Fryxell.  He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Greta Albrecht Fryxell and their three children: Karl Joseph Fryxell and his wife, Margaret (Peggy) Kraft Fryxell of Fairfax VA, Joan Esther Fryxell and her husband, Timothy Michael Ross of Claremont CA, and Glen Edward Fryxell and his wife, Lenita Alverson Willhight Fryxell of Kennewick WA.  There are five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and six nephews.
        Dr. Fryxell received education at Moline High School and at Augustana College in Rock Island IL (class of 1949); subsequently he received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Iowa State University.  First employed by the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station (Las Cruces NM), he then taught at the University of Wichita (Wichita KS) in the Department of Botany and Bacteriology.  Most of his professional career was spent as a research scientist with the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, first in Tempe AZ and then at Texas A&M University in College Station TX.  Upon retirement in 1994 he moved to Austin TX..  He was appointed Honorary Curator at the New York Botanical Garden in 1993, and also that year accepted a position as Adjunct Professor (in the then Department of Botany) at the University of Texas.  Most of his extensive plant collections are now housed at the New York Botanical Gardens and the University of Texas.     During World War II he served in the Army Air Force (1945-1946), part of which time was spent in southern Germany (Bavaria) at the Oberpfaffenhofen Air Base, where he helped entertain war-weary troops by playing saxophone for the “big band” music then popular.  Later he received an honorable discharge and returned to his college education.
        In his professional career he published widely in the technical scientific literature, including more than 200 papers in scientific journals, several books (notably The Natural History of the Cotton Tribe, the Malvaceae of Mexico, and a monograph on Pavonia), and contributions to numerous floristic works (e.g., the Flora of the Lesser Antilles, Flora Meso-Americana, Flora Novo-Galiciana, and others).  He served as President of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (1983-1984) and of the Society for Economic Botany (1988-1989).  Named a Fellow of the  American Association for the Advancment of Science and of the Texas Academy of Science,  he was honored with the Cotton Genetics Research Award in 1967 and the Henry Allen Gleason Award in 1989 (for an outstanding recent publication in the field of plant taxonomy, plant ecology, or plant geography).  Paul Fryxell was a Fulbright Scholar in 1993, studying in Argentina.  His biography is listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who's Who in the World, and several similar biographical references.
        Fryxell’s research work took him to many parts of the world as a botanical explorer, including extensive work in Mexico and Australia and additional field work in Central America, Venezuela, and Brazil.  He specialized in the plant family Malvaceae and was sought after as a consultant for his expertise with this group of plants.
        Paul Fryxell was an active member of Unitarian Universalist churches, where he lived in Arizona, in Texas, or in California, serving in various capacities.  Most recently he served as coordinator of the BUUK GRUUP of the Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, a book club in which he enjoyed the lively discussions.


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