Alex L. Shigo

Durham, New Hampshire

1930 - 2006


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Alex L. Shigo, Durham, NH

Alex died unexpectedly on October 6 from a fall at his summer home on Mendums Pond.

He was born in Duquesne, PA on May 8,1930. Music was a large part of his life. He was a talented clarinetist and played in the official Air Force Band in Washington, DC for four years during the Korean war. During the time he was on tour in Toronto, Ontario he met his future wife, Marilyn.. They married in 1951 and had 52 years and two wonderful children, Judy and Robert, together.

After his service he returned to Waynesburg College in southwestern Pennsylvania where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Then, he continued on to West Virginia University in Morgantown from where he received his Masters and Ph.D in Plant Pathology.

He was hired by the USDA Forest Service where he eventually became Chief Scientist and did his work on decay and discoloration in northern hardwoods. After he retired from the Forest Service he started another career as author and publisher of his many books on tree biology, tree care and tree anatomy. He lectured in many countries of the world and was called “the father of modern arboriculture”. He was responsible for changing the way trees are pruned, resulting in healthier trees because of this technique. Last year our daughter Judy took over the book business and moved it to Snohomish, WA.

Alex is survived by his wife, Marilyn, daughter Judy Smith of Snohomish, WA and her husband Desmond, three children, Duncan, Shannon and Jillian. Our son, Robert Shigo and his wife Paula have two children, Alex and Ellianna and live in Corona, CA. Alex is also survived by his brother, Elmer, of Washington Crossing, PA. and many nieces and nephews from him and Ann and their five children. He also had nephews and a niece from his brother Paul, (deceased) in California.

Family and friends are invited to gather to celebrate the life of Alex at the Sugar Shack on Route 4 just west of the Lee traffic circle, on October 11 from 4-7 PM.

Arrangements are under the direction of Purdy Memorial Chapel, route 4, Lee. T o sign an online guest book visit

Guest Book

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Showed one of Dr. Shigo's videos on trees from the 1990's to a classroom full of my own students. I love his teaching style, his philosophy of education, and indeed the wonder he had and so readily communicated while exploring nature. His many gifts continue to give.

I'm a certified arborist in Beaufort,SC. I'm also on the city's tree board. Dealing with some of the issues of hazard trees within the city has reminded me of the workshops I had the privilege to attend in Boone,NC. I learned so much from Dr. Shigo. He was such a delightful person to be around. I have his book Modern Arboriculture that he signed in front of me now and how it brings back fond memories of the workshops and all the great people I got to meet, and be in the same room with the...

We never met Mr. Shigo although my father who is a horticultralist attended one of your lectures he said you were a very passionate man in the field of arboculture. Now that i am following in my father path I required information for study and found your books very helpful. Thankyou and rest in peace. Tom Roach Horticultralist in training aged 19

One of my all time favorite books is Tree Pithy Points. I think of Alex whenever I see a tree in need and how much he has contributed to arboriculture but also to our world by teaching others how to touch trees and give them dignity. What a wonderful man who has touched so many people and so many trees in a positive way. May he rest eternally in peace, I will always be thankful for his contributions to our world.

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

Dr. Shigo's writings made me feel proud---not silly---to love trees the way I do. I have so much respect for Dr. Shigo and a special fondness for him. He was kind of a wise father to many of us who treasure trees. I'm so thankful for his life and to his daughter who will carry the wisdom forward.

I met Dr.Shigo many years ago, Banff I is funny how the location has faded from memory but a few precious hours are brought back vividly each time I see a tree in need.

Like many, i never met Dr Shigo but feel a kinship with him through my work. I feel his love and understanding of trees when i work and offer belated sympathies across the Atlantic to his family and in particular his daughter Judy.
Love and best wishes