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Loren David Potter


1918 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Loren David Potter Obituary
Potter, Loren David PhD



Loren David Potter, PhD., resident at La Vida Llena Retirement Home in Albuquerque, NM died March 6, 2016.

He was preceded in death by his wife Elvira, 'Vi" in November 2007 and son-in-law Richard Cooper in 1994.

Loren was born June 23, 1918 in Fargo, N.D. He had three older brothers. He attended public school in Fargo and Interstate Business College before attending and graduating from North Dakota State University in 1940, followed by a year of graduate study in wildlife management at Iowa State University. In June 1941, he married Elvira Heuer of Sheldon, N.D. and classmate at NDSU. Wartime research for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Akron, Ohio interrupted graduate study for the M.S. degree in Plant Ecology from Oberlin College in 1946, followed by a PhD. in Plant Ecology from the University of Minnesota in 1948.

He served as a Professor at North Dakota State University Botany Dept. (1948-58), after which he came to the University of New Mexico as Chairman of the Biology Dept. (1958-72) and retired in 1985. During his chairmanship he developed preliminary plans and obtained federal funding to construct a major addition to the Biology building, now dedicated as the Potter Wing, which he referred to as his "Concrete Contribution" to the University. The additional laboratory, teaching, museum, and office space facilitated growth of the department to its present size and national reputation in teaching, research, and service to New Mexico. However, his greatest professional satisfaction has been to see the many contributions of his graduate students. He served as an USAID consultant in India in summers of 1965 and 1968, as Director of NST-AEC Radiation Biology Institutes from 1960-65; as member of the Advisory Council for NSF Academic Year Institutes from 1961-1965; and Vice-President of the Eisenhower Consortium for Western Environmental Forestry Research from 1972-84.

His field research emphasized the application of basic ecological research to solving problems in Range Management, Mine Reclamation, Fire Ecology, and Forestry Management in the Recreational Use of the National Forests, Monuments, and Parks. His forty years of field ecological research, along with 41 research grants, for the National Science Foundation, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Atomic Energy Commission, and Bureau of Land Management spanned from the Brooks Range of Alaska, to Hudson Bay, the Northern Great Plains, to New Mexico and the Southwest. Some fifty research publications include four books: "Water Resources in the Southern Rockies", "New Mexico Grasses", "Principles of Reclamation Science", and "Lake Powell: Virgin Flow to Dynamo". The Loren Potter Endowed Chair in Plant Ecology at the Biology Dept., UNM, continues his research emphasis. Since retirement he enjoyed working as a Certified Advanced Downhill Ski Instructor until the age of 88, plus the pursuit of hobbies including watercolor painting, pen and ink sketching, photography, wood working and dancing. After downsizing their home, Loren and Vi moved to La Vida Llena Retirement community where they made many dear friends. Loren continued to be active giving frequent lectures, contributing to art exhibits, and serving on several committees. Since retirement it was possible to spend the summers at their beloved cottage on Cotton Lake in Minnesota. But, more than the above was 66 years of loving marriage to Vi and the enjoyment of four endearing daughters and families.

He is survived by daughters: Claudia Sego and husband Peter (Los Angeles, CA), Nancy Cooper and husband Curtis Porter (Albuquerque, NM), Dr. Audrey Potter and life partner Santa Consiglio (East Troy, WI) and Janet Bridgers and husband Donald (Albuquerque, NM); plus six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at La Vida Llena, 10501 La Grima de Oro, NE in Albuquerque on Saturday, April 2nd at 2:00 pm in Carter Hall. Memorial contributions can be made to the First Presbyterian Deacon's Fund (215 Locust NE, ABQ, NM 87102), LVL Foundation (10502 La Grima de Oro, ABQ.,NM 87111, The Ross Brown Endowment in Support of the Loren D. Potter Chair in Plant Ecology (artsci.unm.edu/give/) or .
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Mar. 27 to Apr. 1, 2016
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