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Ohio State turfgrass entomology professor Harry Niemczyk, Ph.D., dies at 91

January 12, 2021  - By
Harry Niemczyk, Ph.D., professor, The Ohio State University. (Photo courtesy of David Shetlar)

Harry Niemczyk, Ph.D., professor, The Ohio State University. (Photo courtesy of David Shetlar)

Harry Niemczyk, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University, died on Dec. 16, 2020 at the age of 91, after a battle with cancer.

Harry was the first full-time university turfgrass entomologist and part of the turfgrass generation of researchers that included Joseph Duich, Ph.D.; James Beard, Ph.D.; William Daniel, Ph.D.; and Richard Skogley, Ph.D., to name a few.

Harry’s research led to the identification of major insect pests like the black turfgrass ataenius beetle (BTA). At the time, BTA symptoms were similar to that of drought and anthracnose on annual bluegrass turf. His early research into the biology and control of this insect was frontier-leading work. Later in his career, Harry would conduct research into the fate of insecticides in turfgrass systems.

Harry was an outstanding lecturer. His workshops on turfgrass insects and control were nationally known for their in-depth and thorough coverage of the subject. At the time, the photographs of insects used in his workshops were second to none and unique. His expertise was nationally sought.

His passion for his work was only exceeded by his dedication and love of his family and fishing. Harry married Delores in 1952 and remained married until her death in 2018.

His favorite activity that he shared with his family was fishing. You could not work for Harry if you did not fish. Fishing would creep into most of Harry’s activities. He would sometimes place the scientific name of various fish species into some of his grant requests … just to see if you actually read the proposal.

Harry Niemczyk will be very much missed by his colleagues and friends.

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