IN MEMORIAM: Adel Kader, Fumio Matsumura, Bill Brooks

Photos (3): Adel Kader, Fumio Matsumura and Bill Brooks
From left: Kader, Matsumura and Brooks

Adel Kader: Expert in postharvest technology

Adel A. Kader, who worked tirelessly at home and abroad to get more food and better food from every harvest, died Dec. 10 at the age of 71. He was an emeritus professor and extension specialist in postharvest physiology in the Department of Plant Sciences.

He suffered a fatal heart attack at San Francisco International Airport just after arriving from South Africa, where he had addressed an international conference — one more example of his global efforts to reduce postharvest losses; improve the quality, safety and marketability of fresh horticultural products; and boost farmers’ incomes.

He came to UC Davis as a postgraduate researcher in 1972, and “it was history in the making from there,” according to a tribute on the Postharvest Technology Center’s website. He spent his entire career at UC Davis, taking emeritus status in 2007 but slowing down only ever so slightly.

“For those of us who had the good fortune to work closely with him, Adel was a constant and inspiring role model,” reads the tribute, authored by Michael S. Reid, Cooperative Extension specialist; James F. Thompson, emeritus specialist in Cooperative Extension; and Mary E. Reed, program representative.

Kader played a key role in the development of the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center, cited by his colleagues as among his signature achievements. “From a loose affiliation of postharvest extension specialists, who published sporadic issues of a postharvest bulletin, he developed what is widely recognized as the world’s best source for postharvest information and education,” they wrote in their tribute.

Read the complete tribute. It includes information on a memorial service (Jan. 26) and remembrances: In lieu of flowers, the family asks people to consider making gifts to the Postharvest Program Endowment Fund.

Fumio Matsumura: ‘One of the grand masters of insect toxicology’

Distinguished Professor Fumio Matsumura, 78, described last year as “one of the grand masters of insect toxicology,” died Dec. 6 at a Sacramento hospital following a brief illness. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia and developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, his family said. 

Matsumura had been a member of the UC Davis faculty since 1987, with appointments in the departments of Environmental Toxicology, and Entomology and Nematology.

He was a former director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences; editor-in-chief of the journal Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology; and wrote the textbook Toxicology of Insecticides, first published in 1975 and used by generations of college students around the world, including in UC Davis classes.

“For some 50 years, Fumio has been at the cutting edge of both pesticide and environmental toxicology, and his pioneering research has helped to define both fields,” said Ron Tjeerdema, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology. “Fumio has also been a major contributor to the success of our department, and his legacy will continue for many years to come through the many students and postdoctoral fellows he has mentored.”

James Seiber, emeritus professor of environmental toxicology, recalled UC Davis’ good fortune in luring Matsumura away from Michigan State University. “The science at UC Davis was attractive to Fumio, but what tipped the scales for him in favor of Davis was a 5-foot snowfall in the Sierra during one of his visits to California,” Seiber said. 

“Fumio was on the slopes as soon as the snow was cleared from the roadways in the Tahoe basin. Fumio was a great colleague and enthusiastic skiing partner!”

Read the complete obituary. It includes information on a memorial service (Jan. 25) and a memorial fund (Fumio Matsumura Annual Symposium Endowment).

Bill Brooks: Retired benefits manager in Human Resources

Bill Brooks, who worked for the University of California for 30 years, lastly as employee benefits manager at UC Davis, died Dec. 6 from the lung disease that he had been diagnosed with around the time of his retirement last July. He was 59.

His was a job that put him in contact annually with many faculty and staff during open enrollment, and, earlier this year, when everyone had to verify the eligibility of their family members for UC benefits.

“He took care of every incoming question, working with employees to alleviate their concerns about the verification project,” said Barbara Brady, communications director for Administrative and Resource Management, which takes in HR. “His helpfulness and professionalism were unparalleled.”

Upon his retirement last summer, the systemwide Our University newsletter asked Brooks and other new retirees: Of your accomplishments, which are you most proud of?

Brooks answered: “I am most proud that I’ve been able to help many people during a pivotal time in their lives, whether it’s their retirement or a disability or getting their new baby enrolled in insurance. That’s been the most rewarding part of my job.”

He began his UC career on the Santa Cruz campus; he started as a senior clerk in the registrar’s office, and eventually moved into benefits. He joined UC Davis in 2000.

Read the complete obituary. It includes information on a celebration of life (Jan. 5).


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