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John Browning

Obituary
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John Artie Browning J. Artie Browning passed away on November 3, 2013 in Lacey, WA at the age of 90, following a stroke. He was born in Kosse, Texas in 1923 to John A. and Etta Ware Browning. He was raised on a dairy farm in east Texas and graduated from Gladewater High School in 1941. While attending Texas A&M, he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the USS Saratoga as a communications officer in 1944. Artie married Arra B. White in 1946. She was the love of his life, and they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on March 2. Artie completed a B.S. degree in biology at Baylor University in 1947 and began his graduate studies at Cornell University the next year. In 1953, he received a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Cornell and accepted a position on the faculty of Iowa State University in Ames. He spent 28 years at ISU teaching and conducting research that focused on managing diseases of cereal crops, primarily oat rust. Artie left ISU in 1981 to become head of the Plant Science Department at Texas A&M University. He retired from Texas A&M in 1990 but took his Professor Emeritus status seriously and continued to be professionally active. He was a prolific writer throughout his career and authored or co-authored numerous publications, including a book, 22 book chapters, over 40 papers in research journals, and more than 60 less technical papers. He gave frequent lectures and seminars on plant pathology and related topics. Although focused primarily on his research, he was also interested in the application of science to public policy and education. This led to his participation in a number of national and international panels and committees on Integrated Pest Management and other subjects. Enjoying the travel opportunities that his career provided, Artie and Arra made many memorable trips around the U.S. and abroad. They took the family to Bogota, Colombia in 1963, where Artie spent 18 months working with the Rockefeller Foundation. He also made several trips to Israel, including an 18-month stay as a Fulbright Scholar in 1990-91. His Israeli research involved incorporating some of the genetic diversity and natural resistance of wild oats into cultivated oats. Artie was active in a number of professional organizations, especially the American Phytopathology Society (APS). He became an APS Fellow in 1980 and served as president during 1981-82. He continued to be active in APS after retirement and advocated for the creation of Doctor of Plant Health educational programs. The first of these was established at the University of Florida in 1999. In 2011, he and Arra donated funds to establish the APS Foundation Plant Medicine and Health Travel Fund. After returning from Israel in 1991, Artie and Arra moved to Olympia to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They have lived at the Panorama retirement community in Lacey since 2002. They were significant fundraisers and contributors to the fund that enabled the Panorama Foundation to incorporate energy efficient features in its new auditorium. In addition to his professional pursuits, Artie was an avid and expert photographer who rarely went anywhere without a camera. He had a lifelong love of gardening and was a Master Gardener. He also enjoyed camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and bicycling. His favorite destinations included the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, Big Bend in Texas, and the San Juan Islands and Olympic Peninsula in Washington. As a member of the United Churches of Olympia, Artie was fascinated by the relationship between science and religion, and he organized a popular Sunday school class on that topic. He and Arra also shared a passion for evolution that resulted in taking the entire family on a trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2005. Artie is survived by his wife Arra and their three children: Glenn Browning (wife Carol Young) in Sequim, Gayle Browning in Seattle, and John Browning (wife Elizabeth Siegel) in Olympia. Artie and Arra have four grandchildren: Arra Ebersten (partner Matthew O'Brien), Paul Mollard Browning (partner Bob Mitchell), Yoni Browning, and Aviva Browning. He is also survived by his beloved sister Gladys Evelyn Browning Best of Abilene, Texas. A memorial service will be held at the United Churches of Olympia, 110 11th Ave. SE, at 1:30 pm on January 12, 2014. At his request, his ashes will be buried next to his grandparents at a small, country cemetery in Bald Prairie, Texas next spring. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org) in his memory.

Published in The Olympian on Nov. 24, 2013
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