BIGGS, R. HILTON
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Dr. R. Hilton Biggs, 81 of Alachua, FL passed away November 16, 2012. He was born at home in Bear Grass, NC May 5, 1931. He received a BS in Biological Science from East Carolina College & a MS & Ph.D. from Purdue Univ. in Plant Physiology, Biochemistry & Horticulture. In 1957 the Univ. of Florida hired him as their Plant Physiologist/ Biochemist in the Fruit Crops Dept. The National Science Foundation sent him for special post-graduate work in medical electronics & chemical toxicology.
Hilton is best known for his research on chemical aids for harvesting citrus fruit, bud dormancy in fruit trees, viruses infecting citrus, adverse effects of pesticides including the fungicide Benlate & the effect of environmental pollutants on crops. He was a leader in research on the physiological & biochemical effects of increased ozone, acid rain (from sulfur dioxide pollution) & ultraviolet light on crop plants. He generated over $600,000 in grant money for his research that resulted in over 150 publications in scientific journals, 6 books & monographs. He traveled extensively to present his results here & overseas and to consult with governmental agencies in Washington DC, private industry & the World Health Organization.
Dr. Biggs became a Full Professor (biochemist), served as Chairman of the Fruit Crops Dept. & retired as Professor Emeritus in 1992. He belonged to 12 different Professional & Honorary Societies & served on committees for them. From the U of FL Chapter he received the Senior Faculty Award of Gamma Sigma Delta. In his spare time he raised cattle, baled hay, grew blueberries, ornamental & pine trees.
Hilton is survived by his wife of 33 years, Dr. Susan V. Kossuth, their daughter Robin Rentz (Ryan); his first wife, Becky Duncan, their daughters Dixie Biggs (Delaine Miller) & Mary Gay (Joe) & their 4 children, Colin, Charlotte, Emma & Grace; 5 brothers & sisters and their children of NC: Sammy Biggs, Billy Biggs (Lolly), Dennis Biggs (Grace), Molly Stephenson (Harold), & Jean Biggs.
A Memorial Service will be held at 10am Monday, Nov. 26 in the Iona Chapel of the First Presbyterian Church at 106 SW 3rd Street, Gainesville, FL. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Hilton's memory to First Presbyterian Church.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Nov. 22 to Nov. 23, 2012