Charles E. Bracker

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Charles E. Bracker, 74

Charles E. Bracker was born on February 3, 1938, in Port Chester, N.Y., and moved with his family to Riverside, Calif., in his early teens. He met Anri Meckbach while a student in plant pathology at the University of California, Davis. They were married in 1963, and moved to West Lafayette to start a family as he began his career on the Purdue faculty in the Department of Plant Pathology.

He became a full professor in 1973 and a George B. Cummins Distinguished Professor in 1993.

He worked for more than 40 years in cell biological research with light and electron microscopy, documenting new fungal growth mechanisms and discovering the 'chitosome', an enzyme transport body required for cell wall growth. He was instrumental in creating the Electron Microscopy Center in the School of Agriculture, and his courses on Electron Microscopy and Scientific Writing were rites of passage for many graduate students.

After Charles' wife Anri passed away in 2001, Charles' adopted her interest in growing orchids post-retirement, Charles devoted most of his energy to an extensive collection of orchids and orchid photography, and he participated in the regional and national orchid community.

Charles passed away on Saturday, November 3., due to complications from chronic illness. He is survived by his sons; Allan of Alexandria, Va., and Kiko of Needham, Mass. He leaves them with great reverence for the natural world, an equal respect for humanity, and enviable phone etiquette. He will be greatly missed by the scores of people who call him colleague, mentor, friend, or father.

There will be no memorial service, but a memorial symposium is planned for 2013. Donations may be directed to the Wheeler Orchid Collection at Ball State University.

Published in the Journal & Courier from Dec. 4 to Dec. 5, 2012
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