Dr W R 'Bill' Jarvis obituary

Born 1927, died 2018. A graduate of the Department of Botany (BSc Botany 1951).

Bill Jarvis, author of 'Managing Diseases in Greenhouse Crops' (APS Press, 1992), died in 2018 aged 90.

Born in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England to a farming family and following a brief interruption for military service in the Royal Air Force (1946-48), Bill Jarvis was granted a BSc Honours Botany from the University of Sheffield in 1951. He was awarded a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of London and the Diploma of the Imperial College of Science and Technology (D.I.C) in London in 1953. He was accepted as a Member of the Institute of Biology (M.I.Biol.) in 1954.

During his education in the United Kingdom, Bill Jarvis was fortunate to have been mentored by two world-renowned authorities in mycology and plant pathology: Professor John Webster instilled in Bill an unfailing curiosity about fungi, and Professor William Brown ignited a passion for the biology, ecology and taxonomy of Botrytis cinerea and the control of grey mold disease on assorted hosts.

While at Sheffield, he met and married Josephine (Megan) Hayes, who was secretary to Professor Clapham and the daughter of an engineer at the University, Colin Hayes.

Bill’s study of Botrytis gray mould and various powdery mildews informed his research throughout his career. He became a world-renowned expert in fungal problems in plants. Bill worked on diseases of berry crops for 20 years at the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute in Invergowrie, Scotland.

Sabbaticals to the Plant Pathology department at the University of California Berkeley (1963 – 1964) and to the Plant Diseases Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Zealand from 1969- 1970 furthered his research.

In 1974, he was offered a position at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Harrow, Ontario where he worked on greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, dealing closely with local growers. He was Head of the Plant Pathology department until 1989, and retired in 1994, but was contracted for four more years to finish research projects. His focus was on biological control of fungal plant diseases. While on a work transfer at Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in Rustington, England (1979 – 1980), Bill worked on the isolation of yeast-like fungi that appeared on wild plants. This led to the development of a new type of biological control on cucumber powdery mildew when back in Harrow during the 1980s with Dr. James Traquair. In collaboration with the Brampton supply company Plant Products and Dr. Richard Belanger, a new biological control was patented as SPORODEX in Canada in 2002 and in the USA in 2003.

Bill was a dedicated educator, writer, editor, and supporter of diversity in education and hiring practices. With a wry sense of humour and creative talent, Bill was a keen volunteer with cultural and service organizations such as Rotary International and the Park House Museum in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. During his retirement, he ran an independent bookstore with his daughter, Sarah, and his wife Jo, and was a devoted caregiver for Jo until her death in 2010. He wrote chapters on local history for various publications and learned the art of tinsmithing at the local museum. He continued to support Sarah with extensive proofreading, editing, and creative work until his passing in March 2018.

In addition to Sarah, he leaves his younger brother Roy in England, family and dear friends in Canada, Britain, the USA, and Germany.

Submitted by Sarah Jarvis, with material supplied by Dr. J. A. Traquair, a long-time friend and colleague.