Pomologist Chester Forshey dies at 92

Chester “Chick“ Forshey

Chester “Chick“ Forshey, professor emeritus of pomology, died May 7 at the age of 92.

Forshey, who held a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a Ph.D. in pomology from Ohio State University, was on the faculty of Cornell University and spent most of his career at the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory, where he became superintendent in 1968 and ran an analytical laboratory on fruit investigations and carried on a concentrated program of pomological research.

“During Dr. Forshey's tenure as superintendent of Cornell’s Hudson Valley Laboratory, new facilities were constructed in Highland [New York] in 1963-64 and a large addition was completed in 1974. Dr. Forshey effectively mentored younger scientists and fruit extension staff during the 1970s and 1980s while conducting his own detailed research on nutrition, fruit thinning, pruning and young tree training,” said Professor Emeritus David Rosenberg.

Rosenberg continued: “He is remembered for his sharp wit and for his attention to detail in both his research and in the precise wording that he used in his extension talks. Without his dedication to the fruit industry, the Hudson Valley Lab would not exist today and the eastern New York fruit industry might not have maintained the vitality that it still exhibits today.”

Forshey joined the Cornell faculty in 1954, was promoted to associate professor in 1958 and to full professor in 1966. He received emeritus status in 1990.

In 1963, Forshey took his family to South America, where he spent a year as a temporary member of the Rockefeller Foundation staff with its Chilean Agricultural Program. He was named honorary professor at the Schools of Agronomy at the University of Chile and the Catholic University.

Forshey was a member of Sigma Xi, the American Society for Horticultural Science, the American Chemical Society and the Soil Science Society of America. He published more than 140 articles and co-authored a book, “Training and Pruning Apple and Pear Trees,” which is used as a textbook at many colleges to this day. He also wrote the article on “Apples” in the World Book Encyclopedia. He was a popular speaker at annual meetings of the Horticultural Society where he was noted for his writing style and terse written and verbal commentary.

He is survived by two children and five grandchildren.

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Joe Schwartz