Edward Appel, professor emeritus and founder of the agricultural services and inspection/agricultural biology program, died on March 16, his birthday.
He was 94.
Born in Orange in 1919, Appel was raised in Etiwanda and, as a child, worked on his family’s citrus ranches. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State College in 1940 and worked as an agricultural inspector for the San Bernardino County Department of Agriculture.
During World War II, he served in the Pacific theater with the Navy, rising from the rank of ensign to lieutenant. After the war, he returned to his agricultural inspector job.
In 1946, Appel was chosen as one of two instructors to restart the agricultural inspection program at the Voorhis campus of Cal Poly. The program was suspended during the war because there was a shortage of students.
Appel spent two years strengthening and improving the academic side of the program and then was named program chair, a position he held until his retirement in 1976. He brought in Professor Ken Hobbs to teach new classes during the 1950s, as the program expanded to include pest management. The expanded course offerings created new opportunities for graduates to work in the private sector, in addition to the traditional government agency jobs.
The program itself went through several name changes. It became horticultural services and inspection during the 1950s and then agricultural services and inspection in 1960, shortly after the program moved from the Voorhis campus to the Kellogg Ranch in Pomona. The current agricultural biology title became official in 1967.
Professor Emeritus Rex Baker, a friend and colleague, recalls Appel as a strong taskmaster who demanded a lot from his students but also wanted them to succeed.
“Eddie was a great advisor… One of his best attributes was his love for helping young people find their way, discovering fields of study and careers best suited for their personality and aptitude, and then helping develop and improve their levels of skill and knowledge necessary to be marketable and successful,” Baker says.
A funeral service was held March 28. The family requests that donations be made to the Appel/Hobbs Scholarship Fund at Cal Poly Pomona in lieu of flowers. The fund was established by alumni to honor Appel and Hobbs and support agricultural biology majors.
Donations can be made out to the Cal Poly Foundation and forwarded to the department at Appel/Hobbs Scholarship Fund, c/o Plant Science Department, Cal Poly Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768.