Pearson, noted plant breeder, died Saturday, July 3, 2004 peacefully at
home in Portsmouth, Rhode Island at the age of 102. Dr. Pearson was born
in Stratham, New Hampshire to Frank H. Pearson and Grace E. Gowen on
January 17, 1902. He was an important contributor to U. S. agriculture
and is well known for his contribution to the development of vegetable
crops, particularly, the 'Pearson' and 'Pearson
Improved' tomato as well as the hybrid sweet corn called 'Butter and Sugar'. He also
authored and co-authored several books and bulletins.
from the Exeter, New Hampshire high school as valedictorian of the class of 1918.
He received a B.S. (1923) and an M.S. (1925) in Agriculture from the
University of New Hampshire. He received a Ph.D. in Horticulture from
the University of California, Davis (1928) and has been a life- long
member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
receiving his Ph.D., he held the position of Junior Olericulturist at the
University of California, Davis, until 1933. He moved east and became a
Plant Breeder for the Eastern States Farmers Exchange (Agway) in West
Springfield, Massachusetts. He was promoted to Head of Seed Research and
supervised their Feeding Hills, Massachusetts trials farm until 1959. He
returned to California to become Associate Director of Seed Research at
Seed Research Specialists (SRS), Hollister, California. He became
Manager of Seed Research and Development when Seed Research Specialists
was bought by Ferry-Morse Company. In 1967 he retired from Ferry-Morse
Company and became Seed Research Associate in the Plant Breeding
Department at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). In the 1970’s he
split his time between Cornell University and Dakar, Senegal, Africa,
where he was consultant to Bud Senegal, a Dutch company developing
vegetable crops for the Common Market. After his wife, Helen, died in
1993 he closed his office at Cornell University and permanently retired.
He carried on an active correspondence with friends and business
In 1929, he
married Helen Ruth Monosmith (PhD, Genetics, University of California,
Berkeley 1928). They shared many common scientific interests as they
raised their six children. He is predeceased by his wife, Helen, (1993)
and his son, Charles Pearson (2001). He is survived by 5 children,
Robert Pearson (PhD, Portland, OR), David Pearson (MD, Warwick, RI),
Dorothy Ann Proctor (RN, Portsmouth, RI), George Pearson (Mojave, CA)
and Sandra Pearson Shlapak (Chatsworth, CA) and by his sister, Georgiana
Pearson (Exeter, NH), 11 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and one
great-great grandchild as well as several nieces and nephews.
service was held Saturday, October 2, 2004 at the Stratham
Community Church, Stratham, New Hampshire. Memorial donations may be made to the
Kaplan Research Fund, Swedish Foundation, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA in
the name of his son, Charles Pearson, or to the ALS Therapy Development
Foundation, 215 First St., Cambridge, MA 02142 in the name of his
grandson, Stephen L. Proctor.