Norman F. Childers, died on 04/24/2011.
Funeral services will be conducted Friday, April 29, 2011 at 2:00 P. M., in the Chapel of Williams-Thomas Funeral Home Downtown, 404 North Main Street, Gainesville, with Rev. Carl Romey, officiating. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Gainesville. The family will receive friends for viewing starting at 1:00 PM prior to the 2:00 PM services.
Dr. Norman Franklin Childers, 100, of Gainesville, Florida, died Sunday, April 24, 2011 in the E. T. York Care Center, following a short illness. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lucius and Francis Childers of Missouri and his two sisters Ann Barton Logan and Elise Mae Lloyd.
After teaching and obtaining his PhD at Cornell, Dr. Childers became a longtime resident of New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he was a professor of Fruit Science and eventually became Department Head of Horticulture at Rutgers University. Upon retirement at 70, he moved to Gainesville to begin a 26 year teaching career at the University of Florida. Dr. Childers' contributions in research are recorded in his many publications, in referred journals as well as in popular journals. He has published as author or editor more than 28 books that have sold over 100,000 copies with many still in current publication. His "Modern Fruit Science" book has been updated over a dozen times and translated into many foreign languages. At the age of 96 his book on "Blueberry for Gardeners and Promoters" was published. He mentored many students over his career including 70 PhD and MS students of whom many later made major contributions in the field of Horticulture fruit science. Along with his many awards, in 2008 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the 130 year old American Society of Horticulture Science (ASHA), the highest award in this field and seldom bestowed. He also studied and founded a foundation on night shades and their effect on arthritis and health in general. His whole life and love was centered on teaching fruit science to students and fruit growers and promoting horticulture fruit science. With his sense of humor, outward personality, wisdom and knowledge this icon of fruit science both domestically and internationally will be sorely missed.
Survivors include; his wife, Martha Childers; daughters, Nancy Lynn Chapman, Monica Whitton, Julie Costas, Lee Atkinson, and Suzanne Riefstahl; sons, Mark Alan Childers, Dennis Childers, Donald Richard Cobb and Joseph Lawrence Cobb. Thirteen grandchildren and many great grandchildren also survive.
Memorial donations may be made to the Rutgers University ASHS, 1018 Duke Street Alexandria, VA 22314 and/or the University of Florida AHSA Scholarship Funds, P.O. Box 14425 Gainesville, FL 32604.
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