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December 7, 1934-January 27, 2014
Ronald Earle Welty died on January 27, 2014, at home of cancer; he was 79 years old. He was born in Winona, MN on December 7, 1934 to Earle and Virginia Welty. and married Terrie (Terrill) Louise Johnston, an elementary school teacher, on January 27, 1962. They lived in Minnesota, Louisiana, and North Carolina, and their family moved to Corvallis in 1982.
Ron is survived by his wife Terrie of Corvallis, a daughter Beth Welty of Portland, a son Kurt Welty of Portland, a granddaughter Kate Welty, a brother James T. Welty of Colorado Springs, CO, and a sister Barbara Welty Hildgedick of St. Paul, MN. He was preceded in death by his parents.
He grew up in Winona, Minnesota, graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1952, and Winona State University in 1956. He taught Biology, Chemistry, and Junior High School science at Barnum, MN 1956-1957. Due to a military deferment during college, he received his draft notice during his first year of teaching and entered the U.S. Army in June, 1957. He served in LA, GA, and AZ and returned to Barnum, MN to continue teaching science in 1958.
In fall of 1959, he entered Graduate School at the University of Minnesota, received a Master of Science degree in 1961 and Ph.D.degree in 1965 majoring in Plant Pathology and minoring in Entomology. He accepted a Post-doctoral Research Associate position in the Department of Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh in 1965 and was appointed Assistant Professor in 1966, Associate Professor in 1970 and Professor in 1976. He held a joint appointment as Research Plant Pathologist for the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. In Raleigh, their daughter Beth and son Kurt were born.
In 1982, Ron and his family moved to Corvallis where he was appointed Research Leader/Research Plant Pathologist at the USDA Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit. He was also appointed Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University. Ron studied fungal diseases of grasses grown for seed and managed nine research programs dealing with cool-season grasses. He authored or co-authored 136 research publications, book chapters, or abstracted published in national and international journals. He presented research reports and lead discussion sessions at national and international meetings and symposia in England, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, and Germany. In addition to research, Ron managed the construction and staffing of the USDA National Forage Seed Production Research Center on the campus of OSU. He served on graduate student advisor committees and supervised students for MS and Ph. D. degrees at NC State University and Oregon State University. He was a member of the American Phytopathological Society, American Mycological Society, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Sigma XI. He retired in April, 1996.
Ron enjoyed his family and friends. His interests included barbershop singing, hiking, white-water rafting, golf, fishing, cross-country skiing, cooking, bridge, and dinner parties with friends. He volunteered in community projects including American Legion baseball, Red Cross, meals-on-wheels, YMCA Indian Guides, and programs to aid needy people. Ron and Terrie loved travel and visited all 50 states, 23 foreign countries, including elder hostel visits to Panama and Mexico, and participated in Rotary Friendship Exchange visits in England (2002) and Australia (2007). Ron was active in the Rotary Club of Corvallis for 28 years, serving or chairing numerous committees; he was elected Club President in 1993-1994 and became an Honorary Member in 2009. Ron and Terrie hosted or entertained 23 inbound or outbound Rotary Youth Exchange students from ten countries. Ron and Terrie established the Welty Family Fund in the Benton County Foundation to provide financial assistance to outbound exchange students in Benton County and to the Corvallis Assistance League, School Bell program.
In leu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Benton County Foundation to the Welty Family Fund. His cremated remains will be buried in a private family burial at the Willamette National Cemetery, Portland OR. A celebration of his life will be held this summer in Corvallis.
Published in The News & Observer on Feb. 2, 2014