Henry M. Munger, 94, died Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at Kendal at Ithaca. Born May 10, 1916 in Ames, Iowa, he was raised in Byron, N.Y. after his family returned to live on the Munger family farm. He was educated at a nearby one-room school, graduated from South Byron High School, and enrolled at Cornell University at the age of 16. As an undergraduate, he boarded with Charles and Ethel Hill, who years later introduced him to their tenant Norma Gibson, whom he married in 1950.

He received his BS from Cornell in 1936, his MS from Ohio State University, and his PhD from Cornell. He started teaching at Cornell in 1942 and was head of the Dept. of Vegetable Crops for fifteen years. Over the course of his career he advised more than 60 PhD students, many of whom, along with his colleagues, he regarded as his second family. His breeding work with melons, cucumbers, squash, onions and tomatoes resulted in numerous new, disease-resistant varieties available to commercial growers and home gardeners. He was active in the American Society for Horticultural Science, and in 1995 was the first living person inducted into their Horticultural Hall of Fame. Widely recognized for his teaching and research, he was the recipient of the World Seed Prize, Honorary Doctor of Science from University of Nebraska, Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award, and many other awards.

In addition to vegetable breeding, Henry was dedicated to improving vegetable production worldwide. He did consultative work in the Philippines, Egypt, Ecuador and India, and in 1974 was part of the U.S. plant science delegation to The People's Republic of China. He was a strong advocate for the potential of vegetables to enhance nutrition and health throughout the world, looking forward to a second Green Revolution, one brought about by horticulturists.

In the Ithaca community, Henry was a long-time member of Rotary Club and the First Presbyterian Church. He also retained an affectionate interest in the Alpha Zeta fraternity.

Only in the last few years did Henry consider himself retired. He remained professionally active and continued to travel with his wife well beyond his official retirement in 1981. He was among the original residents of Kendal at Ithaca, where he appreciated his proximity to friends and the caring nature of the community.

He was predeceased by his wife Norma in 2004, and his two sisters Eunice "Bicky" Ferguson and Mary Elizabeth Derby. His is survived by daughters Martha (Don Mowry) Munger of Mondovi, WI and Nancy Munger of Eastham, MA; grandchildren Evan Munger Mowry and Glenna Munger Mowry; and nine nieces and nephews.

There will be a memorial service at Kendal at Ithaca on Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Henry's memory to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Cornell University, 274 Roberts Hall, in memory of Henry M. Munger, Ithaca, NY 14850; or to United Way of Tompkins County, 313 N. Aurora St., Ithaca, NY 14850.


Source:  Ithaca Journal from August 27 to August 31, 2010

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