The Penn State community is sad to report that our friend, colleague, and mentor, Dr. Joseph M. Duich, passed away Oct. 11. Dr. Duich was born on June 7, 1928 and grew up in Farrell, PA. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948 before earning a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1952. Following graduation, he entered the Agronomy graduate program, working under the direction of Dr. Burton Musser. His doctoral dissertation (1957) focused on apomixis and aberrancy of Merion Kentucky bluegrass. Dr. Duich joined the Penn State Agronomy Dept. faculty in 1955, and, during his career taught thousands of graduate, undergraduate, and two-year turfgrass students. One of his most important contributions was developing Penn State’s two-year technical program in golf turf management into an internationally-recognized program.
Dr. Duich is best known for breeding several ground-breaking turfgrass cultivars, including Pennfine perennial ryegrass, and Penncross, Penneagle, Pennlinks and the Penn A and G series of creeping bentgrasses. He also authored or co-authored more than 100 technical publications on a variety of turfgrass subjects. For his outstanding teaching and research accomplishments, he received numerous awards, including GCSAA’s Distinguished Service Award (1976), the USGA Green Section award (1981), the Golf Course Builders Association of America’s Don A. Rossi Award (2004), and the Old Tom Morris Award (2006). In 2008, Dr. Duich was selected by the Penn State’s board of trustees to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, the university’s highest award for individual accomplishment.
Dr. Duich retired in 1991, but continued to serve the turfgrass industry by providing advice, guidance, and educational seminars to turfgrass managers throughout the world. He was instrumental in developing Penn State’s turfgrass program into one of the largest teaching and research programs in the country, and much of the program’s success is a result of his efforts and contributions. He will be sorely missed by former students, colleagues, and friends.
Memorial donations can be MADE PAYABLE TO:
The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation P. O. Box 124 Sharon Center, Ohio 44274
These donations will be ear marked for scholarships in Dr. Duich’s name, so please make a note on your check “Joseph M. Duich Scholarships.”