2002 Honorary Life Member Selections


Dr. Frank Fronek was raised on a small fruit and vegetable farm near Gary, Indiana. Included in the vegetables grown, were of course potatoes. After high school and following his military service, Frank enrolled at Michigan State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Soil Science.

During his senior year, he brought some potatoes from the family farm to Dr. W.J. Hooker, Plant Pathologist at MSU for a disease diagnosis. As part of their discussion, Dr. Hooker convinced Frank to enroll in graduate school to continue his education and to work with potatoes in Plant Pathology. During graduate study, Frank worked with Dr. Hooker in several areas of potato disease development including common scab, PVX and PVY. During this time he also worked with Dr. R.W. Chase in evaluating potato disease resistance in potato breeding programs. Frank did his thesis work on management of Verticillium Wilt disease of the potato. Frank received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from MSU in 1965.

Following graduation, Frank became employed with Grower Service Corporation, a Michigan based agricultural chemical distribution firm where he conducted potato pesticide research and consulted with company customers on trouble shooting and assisting potato growers when production problems arose. Frank’s work with Grower Service Corp. involved travel, speaking and service contact throughout 18 Midwest and Eastern states.

After 17 years with Grower Service Corporation, Frank was transferred to United Agri Products (UAP) headquarters in Greeley, Colorado where he has remained and continued to work for the past 20 years. At UAP, Dr. Fronek’s responsibilities have included potato research with fungicides, nematicides, insecticides, herbicides and sprout inhibitors conducted in cooperation with numerous University based researchers and consultants. This area of work has encompassed involvement with potato disease research in the US, Mexico, Canada, parts of Europe and South Africa. Over the years, Frank has been frequently invited to speak to potato growers, processors, University and industry groups sharing his expertise on crop management, crop protectant use and pest management systems.

During the early 1990’s, Frank played a significant role in assisting US potato growers sharing his knowledge and experience grained in working with the aggressive A2 strains of Late Blight in Mexico and Europe. He played a key role in assisting industry leaders and university researchers form the National Potato Late Blight Task Force. He traveled to many states to help research and industry groups develop special local needs labeling and alternative management strategies as metalaxyl resistance of Late Blight evolved. Frank has also been invited to work with and address the “Academy of Sciences” in Sophia, Bulgaria, the “Department of Agriculture” in Budapest, Hungary and the “Ministry of Agriculture” in Moscow, Russia. Frank has also attended and participated in many meetings and conferences with various potato organizations around the world.

Frank has maintained membership in many professional and technical societies over the years including the Weed Science Society of America, Plant Growth Regulatory Society of America, Entomology Society of America and the American Phytopathological Society. Frank also served on the legislative liaison committee of the National Agricultural Chemical Association from 1965 to 1970. In 1977, Dr. Fronek was given agriculture’s “Spokesman of the Year” award by the Ortho Division of Chevron Chemical Company. Frank is a long-term member of the PAA and has been active in the Pathology, Breeding and Genetics, Entomology and Crop Protection sections. He is a member of the National Potato Council Environmental Committee and has assisted in many of its fund raising and seminar events. Dr. Fronek is also serving on the ‘Advisory Committee’ representing North America to the World Potato Congress.

Ed Plissey, Nominator


I am here before you as PAA President-elect to present an award to a wonderful person and scientist. Normally, this award is presented at the annual meeting of the PAA; however, this year, the PAA asked the NPC Seed Seminar local arrangements to allow us to present the award at this meeting.

Alvin Reeves was a scientist. He was born in Indiana and his earliest ambitions were to study and learn everything he could about plants. He attended Indiana University as National Merit Scholar, receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees there working on sunflowers with C.B. Heiser. His PhD work was done on the cytogenetics of tomatoes with Charles Rick at the University of California at Davis. The tomato research was continued while Al was a faculty member at the University of Arkansas for seven years. While in California, Al met and married Carol, a fellow student in the genetics department. Their daughter Susan was born there and three sons were born in Arkansas.

Alvin joined the Episcopal church in Arkansas and was active until the day of his death, attending services every Sunday, tithing regularity, and working on every project that needed his time or energy. His faith was strong and his commitment real.

In 1975 Alvin accepted the position of potato breeder at the University of Maine. He worked fulltime at the research farm in Presque Isle and traveled to Orono regularly for faculty commitments. He continued the work begun by Dr. Robert Akeley and built the University of Maine research program into an exemplary potato program.

Al had a deep regard for Aroostook County and its people. He was actively involved in Kiwanis and Northern Maine Museum of Science at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Alvin felt strongly that The Potato Association of America was a very important vehicle for encouraging and facilitation of research information and results. He was proud to be a member of the organization and participated actively as treasurer and a member of the financial committee. Through the PAA he made lasting friendships and scientific partnerships in NRSP6 and NE184. He valued the members of these small groups and the whole PAA as comrades and companions. He believed in the establishment of an endowment fund to assure the continuation of this valuable organization, and his family has been heartened by the many members who have contributed to that fund in his memory.

It is with great pleasure that Al Reeves who continues to live in the hearts and minds of his family and friends is made an Honorary Life Member of PAA.

Gregory A. Porter
President-Elect, PAA, Nominator