Harold J. Evans (1921- 2007) an Oregon plant physiologist renowned for his pioneering work in nitrogen fixation, died in Lake Oswego at the age of 86.
In 1972, Evans became the first OSU researcher elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. He was professor in OSU's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology from 1961 until he retired in 1989. He received OSU's Distinguished Professor Award in 1988.
Evans studied rhizobia, soil bacteria that live on the roots of legume plants such as soybeans, peas, clover and alfalfa. These bacteria 'fix', or convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form of nitrogen, or natural fertilizer, that plants require. Nitrogen fixation is an essential part of any living system.
As director of the OSU Laboratory for Nitrogen Fixation, he and his colleagues discovered may of the basic biochemical and genetic intricacies of nitrogen fixation. For example, they determined that without cobalt, the growth of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and the success of legume crops are impossible.
Daniel J. Arp , chairman of the OSU Botany and Plant Pathology Department and who succeeded Evans as director of the OSU Nitrogen Fixation Lab, praised Evans for :'bringing luster' to the university. "In his time he was one of only five or six world leaders in the field of nitrogen fixation. He was always generous in sharing the information he learned from his research."
Evans, a native of Woodburn , KY , was born Feb. 19, 1921. During World War II, he was an Army medic in the Pacific, including New Guinea , the Philippines and Australia . He married Elizabeth Mavis Dunn in 1946.
After the war, he received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky , which named him a distinguished alumnus in 1975. He received his doctorate from Rutgers University .
Evans contributed more the 200 articles to professional journals. He received numerous awards for his contributions to plant science, including the Hoblitzelle National Award from the Texas Research Foundation and OSU's Milton Harris Award for Excellence in Basic Research. He was past president of the American Society of Plant Physiologists.
Survivors include his wife, daughters, Heather and Pamela, two brothers, and two grandsons. Remembrances may be made to the Oregon Humane Society.
taken from The Oregonian October 2007
Contributions in the name of Harold Evans can be made to the Botany and Plant Pathology Endowment in Honor and Memory of Alumni and Friends in support of educational programs in the Department.