IN MEMORIAM: Labavitch, Robinson, Thorp, Magill

Quick Summary

  • John Labavitch: Professor emeritus, Department of Plant Sciences, dies at age 75
  • Walter Robinson: Campus memorial Oct. 8 for the retired associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management
  • Robbin Thorp: Celebration of life Oct. 11 for the distinguished emeritus professor of entomology
  • Margery Magill: Celebration of life Oct. 19 for 2015 graduate who was slain in Washington, D.C.

Updated noon Oct. 4: Information on a celebration of life has been added to Professor John Labavitch's obituary.

John Labavitch

Professoer Emeritus John Labavitch UC Davis professor emeritus John Labavitch, who taught countless students about plant development, fruit ripening and cell walls, and who was well-known and respected for his research, died Sept. 24. He was 75.

John Labavitch mugshot
Labavitch in 2016.

After earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University, Labavitch began his faculty position in the Department of Pomology (now part of the Department of Plant Sciences) in 1976. His main subject areas were cell wall metabolism in relationship to aspects of fruit development and ripening, plant-pathogen interactions, and biofuel production.

He retired in 2014, but, like so many faculty members, continued to work — and in 2015 the Davis Division of the Academic Senate honored him with a Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching. Over the course of his career, he developed and taught, with colleagues, several undergraduate and graduate courses, and the core courses of the Plant Biology, and the Horticulture and Agronomy graduate groups.

A celebration of life will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday (Oct. 10) in 3001 Plant and Environmental Sciences Building. People who attend are  invited to share memories of Professor Labavitch with his students, colleagues, friends and family. Questions? Contact Barbara Blanco-Elate by email.

Read more in this obituary by Ann Filmer, director of communications, Department of Plant Sciences.

Walter Robinson

A campus memorial for Walter Robinson, retired associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management, will be held next Tuesday, Oct. 8, in The Pavilion at the ARC. Light refreshments will be served at 1:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 2 and last approximately two hours. Please RSVP here.

Read his obituary in Dateline UC Davis.

Robbin Thorp

A celebration of life for Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology and a global authority on bees, has been scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Putah Creek Lodge. Read his obituary.

Margery Magill

Margery Magill mugshot

A celebration of life for Margery Evelyn Magill ’15 will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds and Event Center, 442 Franklin Ave., Yuba City. The specific location is the Main Exhibit Hall at the west end of the fairgrounds across from the main parking lot.

Magill was fatally stabbed in an apparent random attack Aug. 27 while walking a dog in Washington, D.C., where she lived. The 27-year-old worked was a program advisor and coordinator for the nonprofit Washington Center, which arranges internships and workshops for college students and recent graduates.

While studying for her Bachelor of Science degree in international agricultural development, Magill volunteered for four years as an Aggie Ambassador in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and lived and worked at the Goat Research Facility in her sophomore year.

People attending the celebration of life are asked by Magill’s family to wear purple or something with dogs on it (among her favorite things), and Converse shoes if you have them (Magill wore purple Converse). And, don’t wear black if you can help it.

Read more about Magill in Dateline UC Davis.

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