Farm manager and plant science faculty Ritenour remembered

Gary Ritenour(January 27, 2017) – Former Fresno State plant science department chairperson, professor and campus farm manager Dr. Gary L. Ritenour passed away on Jan. 10 in Fresno with services to be held in the summer of 2017.

Rienour, 79, joined the department faculty in 1969 and taught courses for 30 years in plant science, agronomy, plant protection, plant health, applied statistics and biometrics. He was widely respected as a mentor for student research projects and by area industry as a campus farm weed control expert.

He also served as the college’s director of agricultural operations (1991-97), chairperson of the plant science mechanized agriculture department (1989-91) and director of crop production and protection center (1986-89).

He received the university’s Outstanding Teaching and Counseling Award (1978), Salgo Noren Outstanding Teacher Award (1979) and Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Faculty Award (1986).

He was honored with the professor emeritus title at the 1999 campus commencement ceremony.

“Gary will always be remembered for his accessibility, hands-on labs, evaluation trials and special weed walks that incorporated the diverse campus production venues,” said Mahlon Hile, Fresno State plant science professor emeritus. “If you see his picture he is invariably working or interacting with students. His legacy is reflected by the large cadre of weed scientists, farm managers, consultants and industry representatives that were his former students and their ability to incorporate theory into practical applications and problem solving.”

A well-known crop production and agricultural chemical consultant, he conducted research on herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, defoliants and surfactant type additives for weed control and phytotoxicity of important crop species. His primary source of funding came from industry and private organizations that helped support summer herbicide screening trials by undergraduate and graduate weed science students.

He published his work in professional journals and presented his work at many conferences, including the California Weed Conference and Mexican National Congress of Weed Science. He co-authored chapters in several books on weed control in California.

He was a member of several professional societies, including the Weed Science Society of America, California Weed Conference, American Society of Agronomy and the Council of Agricultural Science and Technology.

Ritenour received a bachelor’s degree from Purdue (1960), then attended UC Davis where he received a master’s degree in agronomy (1962) and doctorate in plant physiology (1964). He moved to Fresno in 1966 to work as a University of California farm advisor for three years before he joined the Fresno State faculty.

Born October 5, 1938 in Warsaw, Ind., to Andrew and Treva Ritenour, he grew up on dairy farms in north central Indiana and graduated from Lincoln High School in Plymouth.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Margaret Ritenour, son Mark Ritenour, daughter Connie Yee, four siblings and five grandchildren.

Mark Ritenour is a University of Florida associate professor in postharvest physiology and handling and a 1989 Fresno State botany graduate. Connie Yee graduated from Fresno State with a psychology degree in 1991.