Edwin Burnell Oyer, international professor emeritus in vegetable crops, died Nov. 15. He was 89 years old.
“A most kind, generous and outgoing man, who had sincere interest in fostering international agricultural development,” Chris Wien, professor emeritus of horticulture, said of Oyer.
Oyer joined the Department of Vegetable Crops at Cornell in 1955 after receiving his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue University. He was awarded a NATO Fellowship in Science in 1961 to conduct vegetable research at Le Phytotron in Gif-sur-Yvette, France. From there, he served on the faculty of the horticulture department at Purdue from 1963 to 1966 before returning to Cornell to chair the Department of Vegetable Crops from 1966 to 1971.
In 1972, Oyer was a founder of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center in Taiwan, where he served as deputy director for research until 1974. He then returned to Cornell to direct the International Agriculture Program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).
In 1977, he joined the newly established International Agricultural Development Service, where he served as project leader for a World Bank-financed project to establish the Agency for Agricultural Research and Development in the Republic of Indonesia. He returned to Cornell in 1982 to resume his position as director of the International Agriculture Program, where he served until his retirement in 1992.
“Ed was eternally optimistic and, as such, will live on as an inspiration to everyone in International Programs-CALS as we face the future,” said Ronnie Coffman, director of International Programs at CALS.
Oyer is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Ann, two daughters and four grandchildren.
Memorial gifts can be made to IP-CALS or the Mann Library at Cornell University.