Gerhard RAKOW

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  • "Gerhard was my first "entry" into working with Brassica..."
    - Margaret Gruber
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    - Baine Fritzler
  • "Ich hatte die Gelegenheit mit Gerhard Rapszüchtung zu..."
    - Dr. Michael M. Oelck
  • "The canola industry lost a great plant breeder and..."
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Dr. Gerhard Rakow
It is with great sadness that the family of Dr. Gerhard Rakow reports his passing on the 13th of November in Aachen, Germany.
Gerhard was born on the 25th of January, 1940 and grew up on a farm in West Germany. He met his wife, Rieta, at a dance class when she was 16. The two married in 1969 while Gerhard was completing studies at the University of Goettingen. Upon obtaining his doctorate in 1972, Gerhard and his wife made their first encounter with Canada when they moved to Saskatoon for Gerhard's post doctoral studies.
Returning to Germany, Gerhard developed many outstanding rapeseed and forage varieties for the Lembke (NPZ) Seed Company. In 1982, Gerhard returned with Rieta to Canada, where Gerhard spent the rest of his professional career researching and developing superior canola and mustard varieties at the Agriculture Canada Research Centre. In 1983, his son and only child, Volker, was born.
Dr. Rakow was a visionary, and his plant breeding research resulted in a remarkable list of innovations and world firsts. These amazing contributions will continue to impact Canada's canola and mustard crops for years to come. He received many honours, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's 1997 AgCellence Award and the Canadian Seed Trade's 2001 Plant Breeder of the Year Award. At the 2011 International Rapeseed Congress in Prague, he was presented with the prodigious Eminent Scientist Award.
Gerhard was always dedicated to his family and his work. He will be sadly missed by his wife and son, his family, a host of friends, his colleagues, and the many graduate students and visiting scientists he mentored.
Internment will take will take place on November 22nd in Schnega, Germany, where Gerhard grew up. Condolences may be sent via the funeral home:
Jens Tzscheutschler, Louis Reuss Str. 1, D-29459 Clenze, Germany
In memory of Gerhard, memorial donations may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.

Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Nov. 17, 2012
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