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Remembering Roy Ellerbrock

Roy Ellerbrock

From Ithaca Journal obituary with additions from Steve Reiners, associate chair, Horticulture Section:

LeRoy August Ellerbrock, 72, Associate Professor at Cornell’s Department of Horticulture for many years, passed away unexpectedly at his home on December 12, 2014 after a brief illness.

Roy grew up on his parents’ family farm in New Cleveland, OH. There he did the usual chores, helped to tend his father’s large truck garden, and organized baseball games with neighbor boys in nearby fields. Roy went on to graduate from Miller City High School where he was captain of the basketball team and president of the Class of 1960. Roy studied Russian and botany at The Ohio State University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. His studies were interrupted by service in the US Air Force, stationed at Fliegerhorst Army Air field near Hanau, Germany.

Roy received his PhD in Plant Pathology from Cornell University. He worked in Chicago as a plant pathologist for the USDA and Santa Fe Railway before returning to Ithaca to teach in the Department of Vegetable Crops at Cornell. His long career included research and extension work with onion growers across New York, as well as teaching classes in vegetable crop production. He retired in 2003 and devoted his time to his many passions.

Roy was the Cornell liaison to the NYS Vegetable Growers for many years and was a key part of the establishment and growth of the statewide Vegetable Growers Meeting starting in the 1980’s.  Roy had a passion for teaching and remembered not only student’s names years later, but could describe their personalities and interests.  He certainly fostered a love of gardening and vegetable production in an entire generation of students.

Roy is survived by his wife of 32 years, Eileen Bach; his beloved children, Tanya (Jacob) Bitterman of Rockville, MD; Robyn Ellerbrock of Urbana, IL; Bryan Ellerbrock of Ithaca, NY; and his adored granddaughter, Leah Bitterman. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Cornell Plantations.

Calling hours will be on Wednesday, December 17, from 5-7 p.m. at Bangs Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Cornell Plantations.

Undated photo of Roy in the field.

Undated photo of Roy in the field.

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