Joseph M. Caprio
1923 - 2011
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT
Joseph M. Caprio, professor emeritus of agricultural meteorology and Montana state climatologist, 87, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in Bozeman.

Born Nov. 7, 1923, to Sadie Puritz and Michael Caprio, he grew up in New Brunswick, N.J., where he played football for New Brunswick Senior High School. He received a B.S. degree in meteorology from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), California, and a B.S. and M.S. from Rutgers, N.J., in agriculture and agricultural meteorology, respectively. After joining the faculty at Montana State University, he received a Ph.D. degree in biometeorology from Utah State University.

He worked for the American Institute of Aerological Research from 1950-1953, involved in agricultural climatological studies mostly in western United States. He also worked with the University of California Citrus Experiment Station from 1953-1955, studying weather effects on citrus quality and production.

Joe married the love of his life, Marilyn Frangos, on July 6, 1951, in Pasadena, Calif.

He joined Montana State University, College of Agriculture in 1955, starting as an assistant professor of agricultural climatology and retiring as a full professor in 1993, serving also as Montana state climatologist for 15 years (1979-1993). While at MSU he took a year and a half assignment in Iran from 1963-1964 as a climatological expert with the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. His wife, Marilyn, and their three daughters accompanied him to Iran, and it provided an opportunity for a "round the world" adventure.

During his 38 years at MSU he did research and taught classes in microclimatology, agricultural climatology, statistics and field methods in plant climate relations. He led a Western regional project to develop a phenology network which went from 1957-1994. Numerous research publications resulted from his work at MSU, and he along with co-worker Jerry Nielsen published a climate atlas of Montana.

After retirement, Caprio was involved as a visiting scientist with the Pacific Agri Foods Research Center on studies of five irrigated fruit crops in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia which were published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. He was involved in a phenological study in western United States that was published in the American Meteorological Society Bulletin which indicated that plant development was occurring earlier in recent decades.

While residing during the winters in Tucson, Ariz., Caprio worked with professors at the Tree-Ring Laboratory of the University of Arizona on a study to determine daily weather impacts on Ponderosa pine tree ring variations over a 104-year period which was published in the journal, Tree-Ring Research.

Two published research studies compiled in the years 2008-2009 measured extremes of daily weather in Montana and British Columbia and the effect El Nino had on daily weather in Bozeman. Caprio has left an important legacy of scientific research embodying global warming and the effect of weather on agriculture. One of the most important contributions he made was the development of the Chi Square statistical method which is now being used worldwide. It determines the effect of the impact of daily weather on crops. The ability to do this on a daily basis had not been readily available until now.

He is known worldwide as the "Father of Scientific Phenology." Phenology means the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by climate.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; and his sister, Florence Caprio Daily.

Most important of all was that he was dearly loved and cherished by his wife of 60 years, Marilyn Frangos Caprio, and three daughters, Anne Marlene of Honolulu, Hawaii, Jean Arlene of Edmonton, Alberta, and May Darlene of Calgary, Alberta; and grandchildren, Charlene Shovic, Sean Whistler, Carolyn Triscott, Joanna Triscott, Elizabeth Triscott, Stephanie Prevette and Tyler Prevette. Caprio considered his family the greatest legacy of all.

A visitation will be held on Monday, Oct. 31, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Dahl Funeral Chapel. A funeral to celebrate Joe's life will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Dahl Funeral Chapel, followed by interment in Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at
Published by Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Oct. 28, 2011.
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12 Entries
Dear Mimi, Anne and family... We are so very sorry for your loss. He was a very special man, and we are so glad that we had the opportunity to meet him during his last visit. May your close family ties and the memories of your time together bring you comfort during this sad time. Please let us know if we can help in any way. Love, Gloria, Dave and family
Gloria Kern
November 2, 2011
Dear Aunt Marilyn, Cousins Anne, Jean, and May, and families: It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Uncle Joe. He was as genuine and good hearted as any person I have ever known. This morning I brought one of my "best friends" Heidi on a hike to a beach up at Lake Tahoe. The day was unseasonably warm and the lake absolutely placid and beautiful. As I sat on the beach amazed at the reflections of the white capped mountains and majestic forest surrounding the lake, I also reflected on the flood of memories I have of your dad and my Mother Florence. I thought what an incredible blessing it was to have had Joe and Flo together again for a last time in this life this past spring. I reflected upon the times our families were together when we were growing up, as well as in more recent years after my father's passing when Mom and I took excursions up to Bozeman for family gatherings. They certainly were exemplary people and we can again find some comfort in knowing they are now together in heaven along with our grandparents as a family reunited.
Glen Daily
October 30, 2011
Dear Marilyn, Anne, Jean, May and Family, We are sorry for your loss. Grandpa Joe was a lovely man with a very kind heart. You all have wonder memories of him. His legacy will continue on and his spirit remains in the hearts of his friends and family.
Frances Gardner
October 30, 2011
Dear Anne and family,
Deepest sympathy for the loss of your dad- I am glad that you have been able to be with him in Montana, and to help your mom at this difficult time. May peace and aloha fill your hearts and ease your sadness, and may you comfort each other with wonderful memories. Much love, Kristine Wallerius
October 30, 2011
Anne and family, you have my utmost sympathy in the loss of your beloved father. I'm just so glad that you were able to be there for him at the time of his passing to give support to your mother. God bless you and keep you in His love. Your friend, Naomi Hill
October 30, 2011
May, Jean, Anne and Mrs. Caprio--
I am so sorry for your loss. Joe was a very special man. He has a great legacy in his family. The times I spent in your home as we grew up are fond memories. Hugs to you all!
Rosemary Poor Keller
October 29, 2011
Anne and Family,
I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. In just my short, simple visit to Montana, you spoke so fondly of your father. You have so many wonderful memories I know - and those you will cherish always.
Please let us know if we can do anything to help.
My best,

Ashley Stokes
October 28, 2011
Dear Anne and Family,
In the midst of this great loss for your family, I hope you can continue to keep your father's spirit in your lives. He was clearly a great man on many levels. Certainly, the world has been and will be a better place because of his many contributions. I hope all your wonderful memories of him soften your sorrow.
Alan Titchenal
October 28, 2011
Dear Anne,

So sorry for your loss. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. Sending lots of Aloha from all of your UH family here on Oahu.
Mark Segobiano
October 28, 2011
Dear Anne and family,
Sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Dad. May all your wonderful memories bring some comfort.
Corilee Watters
October 28, 2011
Dear Marilyn and Family, we were so sorry to hear about Joe. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Loren and Sharon Wiesner
Loren and Sharon Wiesner
October 28, 2011
So sorry to hear about your father. What an incredible life, and what glowing contributions he made. (Now I understand where you "got it"!) My thought are with you.
Judy (Staab) Cook
October 28, 2011
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