On Sept. 14, 2011, "Dr. Bob" Gough went to meet his lord and savior after more than three years of valiantly battling cancer. Bob was born Jan. 31, 1949, in Wakefield R.I., the only child of Robert E. Gough and Christine A. Signorelli.
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He attended the University of Rhode Island, where he graduated with a B.A. in English in 1970. He gained his B.A. in three years and graduated with five minors in psychology, agriculture, music, history and Latin. Bob enrolled in the master's program in the English department and completed his coursework and a rough draft of his thesis, a translation of the Welsh chronicle of Nennius from medieval Latin to modern English.
Bob always loved the study of languages and took courses in Anglo Saxon and Middle English, as well as five years of classical Latin, so that he could read the ancient works in their original languages. He studied German, Spanish and French, and taught himself Old Norse so that he could read the Islengdinga saga and the Graenlendinga saga in Old Norse. Later he taught himself Italian and Welsh.
Upon near completion of his master's degree in English, Bob had an epiphany … what would he possibly do with a master's degree in English? So he followed his heart and pursued an M.S. in Agriculture in the study of pomology (fruit science) under the direction of Dr. Vladimir Shutak, leaving his two years of M.A. study in English and his thesis undone. With the M.S. in Horticulture complete, he got a job as county agent in Fairfax County, Va., in 1973.
About that time he got more interested in the Civil War, and he married Coralie Greene.
Bob returned to URI in 1974 to work on his Ph.D. in the department of botany. His thesis was on the ontogeny of flower bud development in the highbush blueberry. Bob was appointed instructor in the department of plant sciences in 1976 and, following receipt of his Ph.D. in 1977, assistant professor. About that time he co-founded the Rhode Island Master Gardener program, which continues to this day.
Bob remained at URI until 1988, becoming tenured associate professor of horticulture in 1983. Soon thereafter he realized his joy was in teaching. While he served as Extension specialist of fruit and vegetables for R.I. and regional Extension specialist for highbush blueberries for New England, he realized that politically, agriculture as he knew it was fading fast in Rhode Island and in New England, to the ultimate shame of New England as he would say. They made a big mistake!
In 1988 Bob left URI and opened a hunting lodge in Northern Maine. He became an outfitter and received his professional guide license in 1988, serving as vice president of the Maine Professional Guides Association. At that time Maine's guide license qualifying exam was the strictest in the U.S., and Bob helped a Wyoming delegate establish the criteria for that state's licensing exam based upon Maine's standards.
In the off season he worked as journal editor, then senior editor, and finally assistant publisher for Haworth Press in Binghamton, N.Y. He also wrote articles on horticulture for many popular magazines, including Country Journal, National Gardening, Harrowsmith, and Fine Gardening.
Eventually Bob grew tired of the lack of academic stimulation in the solitude of the northern woods, and in 1995 received an appointment with the department of plant and soil sciences at Montana State University, once more becoming an associate professor of horticulture and state Extension specialist. Bob founded the Montana Master Gardener program and was promoted to professor of horticulture in 2001. From 1995 to 2005 he wrote weekly gardening columns for 40 newspapers around Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming, and was a regular panel member on PBS' "Montana Ag Live." He produced a daily radio program called "Dr. Bob's Northern Gardening Tips," and for two years hosted a local television gardening show. He also taught several horticulture courses in the department.
Bob's second wife, Patricia (Smith), passed away in 2001.
In 2004 he married Cheryl Moore.
In 2005 he was named associate dean for academic programs in the College of Agriculture at Montana State University, and it was in that position that he finished his academic career.
Bob loved to write. Over his academic career, he published well over 500 Extension bulletins and pamphlets, more than 40 refereed scientific journal articles, and articles in numerous scientific proceedings. He served the American Society for Horticultural Science as associate editor of its Journal and magazine HortScience from 1985 to 1989, was founding editor of the Journal of Tree Fruit Production, Journal of Small Fruit Production, and of the Journal of Vegetable Crops Production (now published by Taylor & Francis Co.), and from 1995 to 2002 he served as editor of the journal of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Journal.
Bob was named Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science and NACTA Teaching Fellow. He published more than 17 horticulture books. The last five were coauthored with his wife, Cheryl, and most recently has enjoyed writing articles and the "Ask Dr. Bob" feature for Zone 4 Magazine.
Bob will be remembered for his wit, charm, and seemingly inexhaustible knowledge, whether in front of a classroom, on TV, or in the pages of one of those many excellent books.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Moore-Gough of Bozeman; a son, Jonathan E. Gough (Lisa Rucker) of Hope Valley, R.I.; a daughter, Amy Gough of Charlestown, R.I.; two stepsons, Andrew Smith (Karla) of Belgrade and Robert B. Smith (Sherry) of Cary, Maine; two stepdaughters, Kristin Petersen of Bozeman and Erin Hopkins (Andrew) of Seattle, Wash.; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at the Emerson Cultural Center auditorium.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the MSU College of Agriculture, P.O. Box 172866, Bozeman, MT 59717-2860; or to the
, 550 N. 31 St. Suite 103, Billings, MT 59101.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Sept. 16 to Sept. 18, 2011