Richard D. Ilnicki, PhD, devoted husband, father, and grandfather, died on Friday October 8, 2010 at his home, after a long illness, with his family at his side. He was 82 years old.
The family will receive friends and relatives at the M. David DeMarco Funeral Home 205 Rhode Hall Rd. Monroe Twp., NJ 08831, 732-521-0555, on Monday, October 11 from 7-9pm and on Tuesday October 12 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm. The funeral and interment will be private. For directions please visit www.demarcofuneralhome.com
Dr. Ilnicki was born in Proctor, Vermont and has lived in South Brunswick since 1932. He graduated with a BS in Plant Science from Rutgers University in 1949, and received his MS in Agronomy and Plant Physiology in 1951 from Rutgers. He completed his doctorate in Agronomy and Weed Science in 1955 from Ohio State University. He then began his career as an agronomist with the US Army. He was hired by Rutgers University in 1958 and, after a 33 year career, retired as Research Professor of Weed Science. He was a former chairman of the Weed Science Society of America as well as former chairman and past president of the Northeastern Weed Science Society. He was a professor at Rutgers University and taught many Agronomy courses at Cook College up to and following his retirement in 1997. He served on many Cook College Committees. He loved teaching and was most proud of having graduated 23 successful PhD students, 15 MS students, and 3 Post-Doctoral students who have gone on to have successful careers. Two who were most outstanding were Dr. Prasert Chitipong of Thailand, who became President of Songkhla University and later served the Senate, and Dr. Ratemo Michieka, who became Vice-Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University later working for the government and traveling to the UN on Kenya's behalf. He was honored with many awards including distinguished member of the NEWSS in 1986, Outstanding teacher award for the WSSA in 1987, Fellow for the WSSA in 1976, distinguished service award for the pesticide association of NJ in 1990, New York Farmers Award for distinguished contributions to Agriculture and Weed Science in 1966, and outstanding 4-H alumnus given by the State of NJ in 1968. He was a member of a team of scientists visiting the USSR in 1983 and China in 1990. Never refusing when asked to serve on a committee, he always gave 100%. Appointed by Gov. W. Cahill to serve on the NJ Turnpike Authority 1973-1977. He was a charter trustee and former treasurer of the NJ Museum of Agriculture, a 12 year member of the Dayton Cemetery Association, a 25 year member of Pioneer Grange No. 1, and a 23 year member of Mercer County Pomona Grange No. 5. He was a charter member, and past president of the South Brunswick Library, which he helped to build. He served on the South Brunswick Township Committee from 1966-1975 and was elected three terms as the Mayor of South Brunswick Twp. in 1969, 1970, and 1972. He held the title of Director of Public Safety and was a former member of the Industrial Commission, the Planning Board, and the Board of Trustees of the League of Municipalities of NJ from 1970-1973. He was passionate about studying the Bible, especially the Old Testament, which he read for hours at a time and could quote much of it from memory. Another interest was the Civil War and he could recite details about all the generals and battles. Upon retiring, hybridizing daylilies became his outdoor hobby; he had over 100 varieties and several crosses which he named after his daughters.
He was pre-deceased his parents, Demetry J. Ilnicki and Mary (Choma) Ilnicki, two daughters, Deanna J. Berardi in 1999, and Janet R. Adamko in 2009, and his brother-in-law, John Franek in 2010. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Helen (Franek) Ilnicki of Dayton; his daughter, Dr. Carolyn B. Ilnicki of Long Valley; two sons-in-law, Cesare J. Berardi of Chester, NJ, and Christian L. Gebbie of Barrington, Ill.; his sister, Ruth Cilo and her husband John of Belle Mead; three grandchildren, Arianna A. Berardi, David C. Gebbie, and Danielle D. Gebbie; a close family friend, Tom Cherrington of Robbinsville, and 9 nieces and nephews and 17 great neices and great nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the South Brunswick Public Library 110 Kingston Lane Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852.
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