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Henry Ahlgren, UW-Madison agronomist, dead at 95

Henry L. Ahlgren, emeritus professor of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died Jan. 22, 2004 at Attic Angel Place in Middleton, Wis. He was 95 years old.

Ahlgren grew up on a dairy farm in Polk County, Wis., and began his career at the UW-Madison as a student in 1927, earning bachelor”s, master”s, and doctoral degrees in agronomy and soil science. He joined the faculty of the Department of Agronomy in 1935. He specialized in pasture management and helped to develop Piper sudangrass.

Ahlgren became chair of the agronomy department in 1952, and was later named assistant director of Cooperative Extension programs. In 1966 he was named assistant chancellor of the merged UW-Extension, and chancellor in 1969. He played a major role in developing new UW-Extension programs that brought together cooperative and general extension efforts, as well as Wisconsin”s public broadcasting networks.

Ahlgren took a one-year leave of absence from the University in 1970 to serve as deputy secretary for rural development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He retired from the chancellor”s post in 1974, closing a nearly 50-year association with the University as student, teacher, researcher, government official and administrator.

Ahlgren was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Harriet, and a brother, Theodore. He is survived by his daughter Margaret “Peggy” of Spring Green, Wis.; his son David (Jan) of Stillwater, Minn.; his sister Lillie Carlson Sauer of Barron, Wis.; and his brother Gilbert of Osceola, Wis.

Services will be held Jan. 29 at Cress Funeral Home in Madison, with Reverend Robert Boehler, pastor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, officiating. Burial will be at Maple Grove Cemetery in Frederic this spring. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made in Henry”s name to the Citizens” Scholarship Foundation of Frederic, P.O. Box, 284, Frederic, WI 54837; the Epsilon Sigma Phi Fund via the University of Wisconsin Foundation, P.O. Box 8860, Madison, WI 53708-8860: or the Madison West Kiwanis Foundation, 301 Walnut Grove Dr., Madison, WI 53717.