Arthur Rice Kruckeberg
1920 - 2016
Arthur Rice Kruckeberg

Arthur Rice Kruckeberg (1920-2016) was born in Los Angeles to Arthur Woodbury and Muriel Rice Kruckeberg, and spent his boyhood in South Pasadena. He graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School and Occidental College (1941) in Los Angeles. Graduate studies in botany at Stanford University were interrupted by the Second World War, where Art served as a U.S. Navy Language Officer (Japanese). After WWII he entered the University of California at Berkeley where he earned a PhD in Botany in 1950. He then began a long career as Professor of Botany at the University of Washington, serving as department chair from 1971 to 1977. His teaching and research were in evolution and edaphic ecology, with special focus on the interplay between plants and geology; among many professional accomplishments, he was an authority on the flora and ecology of serpentine soils. He was active in conservation, having served the state and the international community in issues relating to preservation of natural areas and rare plants. Art was a co-founder of the Washington Native Plant Society in 1976 and the editor/contributor for its newsletter, Douglasia, for many years.

Besides teaching a variety of elementary and advanced subjects in biology and botany at the UW, he gave many courses for adults in continuing education programs. He authored many papers in botany, conservation, and horticulture, and wrote several books on these subjects. Art's interest in the use of native plants in Northwest gardens led to a popular and influential book on that subject. A later book (1991), "The Natural History of Puget Sound Country", exemplified Art's passion for making natural history accessible to the general public.

Art and his wife, Mareen S. Kruckeberg, moved with their children and Mareen's parents from Capitol Hill to Richmond Beach in 1958. They acquired a four-acre property which in the subsequent decades they turned into a beautiful botanical garden. The garden is being perpetuated as the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden, a public/private cooperation between the City of Shoreline and the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Foundation. Mareen's MsK Rare and Native Plant Nursery continues to operate at the Garden under the Foundation's management.

Mareen passed away on January 1,

2003. Art, who passed away on May 25, 2016 is survived by four daughters, Janet Standridge (Richmond Beach), Patricia Canning (Santa Barbara CA), Caroline Kruckeberg Clemans (Jim Boyer; Polson MT), and Enid Kriewald (Randy Kriewald; Snohomish); one son, Arthur Leo (Arle) Kruckeberg, in Wilmington DE; and Rowland Adeniyi (Richmond Beach), a member of the family. Art's brother, John W. (Jack) Kruckeberg, lives in Idaho with his wife Beverly and members of their family. Art is remembered by three grandchildren, Allison Canning, Mark Bennet, and Lael Berner. Art's first wife Lyle, grandson Josh Canning, and great-granddaughter Tara Bennet preceded him in death. He will also be remembered by many others who knew him as Art, or Dr. K, or Cookie.

Memorial services will be held at the Center for Urban Horticulture on July 24, 2016. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden (P.O. Box 60035 Shoreline, WA 98160;, the Washington Native Plant Society (, or the UW Department of Biology (
Published by The Seattle Times from Jun. 2 to Jun. 5, 2016.
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Memorial service
Center for Urban Horticulture
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4 Entries
I am very grateful to have met my Uncle Art once in Seattle and a few times for lunch when he visited UC Davis on business. Having a very small family, I was always appreciative to hear about my cousins whom I unfortunately never got to know or spend time with due in part to geography. My thoughts are with them as they experience this holiday season which is the first without their father. He was a warm and thoughtful uncle who was obviously passionate about the environment and in leaving a positive legacy behind him.
Judy Moore
December 31, 2016
I have fond memories of Janet and Patsy at Stevens Elementary School! Their dad gave our class firsthand experiences with plants on little expeditions in the neighborhood! It lasted a lifetime! Nancy (Simon) Dobrin
Nancy Dobrin
June 8, 2016
Art was a phenomenal teacher and presenter. A huge influence on the way I garden, and how I love the Pacific Northwest. Thanks Art!
June 8, 2016
Arthur and Maureen Kruckeberg gave a lifetime to the environment. Here at our own arboretum near Monroe they will be remembered by many fine trees obtained from their hands. There are few enough really good people and even fewer now. David & Sharon Damkaer (Wash. Native Plant Soc.)
June 6, 2016
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