Eugene B. Smalley, emeritus professor of plant pathology and forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died Monday, March 25, in Madison. He was 75 years old.
Smalley joined the faculty of the UW-Madison in 1957 after earning his doctorate in plant pathology from the University of California-Berkeley. He was hired under a legislative appropriation aimed at saving Wisconsin”s elm trees, which were being decimated by Dutch elm disease.
Smalley”s research resulted in the development of several disease-resistant hybrid elms, and he became an internationally recognized expert on Dutch elm disease. Today his trees are being planted in such places as Washington, D.C. and London”s Hyde Park, as well as along main streets throughout the United States.
“Smalley”s Elms,” the collection he assembled for his breeding program and the largest collection in the United States, stands just off U.S. Highway 51 at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station.
Smalley was also an authority on mycotoxins, including the effects of aflatoxins and other fungal toxins on livestock and human health. His lab identified and characterized many of these toxins and studied the environmental conditions leading to their development in corn and hay.
Smalley is survived by his wife, Joan; children Dan Smalley, Lisa Philippi, Sara Rainey, Anthony Smalley, Andrew Smalley, Bryce Lord, and Andrew Lord; his sister Evelyn VanderWende; and 10 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Friday, March 29 at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ridges Sanctuary or Olbrich Botanical Gardens.