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Jack D. Rogers

Posted by: BMS_Administrator

1937 - 2021

Jack Rogers Pic.jpg

September 3rd 1937 - June 14th 2021

The death of Prof Jack D Rogers brings to an end an era when The Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University (WSU), USA was the centre of excellence for mycologists studying the Xylariaceae. Jack had an illustrious career and his contributions to the taxonomy and ecology of the Xylariacae has been outstanding.


Jack and Belle with Margaret Whalley in Beaumaris, Anglesey 1998

His early publications on the chromosome numbers of certain members of the family led to wider studies of the family, descriptions of many new genera and species and many revisions of Xylariaceous genera.  His presentations at meetings were most enjoyable and memorable and brought mycology alive by introducing interesting comments such as ‘I’ll be dogged’ and ‘it’s a curve ball’.  Much has already been written about his career from Wisconsin to WSU, Pullman and the Festschrift in his honour in North American Fungi (Glowe 2008) is a worthy tribute. At his retirement from WSU in 2013 he was honoured as Regents Professor and received the Eminent Faculty Award, the highest honour for a faculty member at WSU. 

I first corresponded with Jack in 1974 when he asked me to collect specimens of Hypoxylon serpens (now Nemania) for his studies. I posted him 4 or 5 collections from a woodland in Anglesey, North Wales. A week or two later I received a letter informing me that one collection was not H. serpens but new to science.  We described it as Hypoxylon  chesterseii (later Nemania chesterseii) and that started a long and productive friendship.  Our first meeting was at the pre IMC2 foray at Gainesville, Florida and after the congress I was invited to Pullman to stay with the Rogers family.  This proved to be a week of early visits to his laboratory with exciting exchanges on Hypoxylon, Daldinia, Xylaria and their relatives followed by warm family events in the afternoon. We also confirmed that the pink suit he wore at the Tampa Congress was in fact not pink but very narrow red and white stripes!

Jack Rogers Pic 2.jpg


Jack was a fun guy who had many good stories and jokes.  He was also a very keen hunter and fisherman as the 17lb steelhead from the Clearwater River clearly proves.  We were delighted that he and Belle, with their twin daughters Becky and Barbie, were able to spend Easter 1979 with us in North Wales when Jack was on sabbatical leave at Kew.  We were also able to visit the type locality of Nemania chestersei at the edge of woodland in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysilio-ogof goch.

Jack with 17lb Steelhead caught on Clearwater River 1982

In subsequent years, we had a number of visits from Jack and Belle which resulted in field trips to collect Xylariaceae in North Wales woods with lively discussions on fungi and opportunities to visit historic places and explore the beautiful scenery.  In 2000, Jack gave a stimulating and authoritative presentation Thoughts and musings on tropical Xylariacae at the British Mycological Society Benefactors’ Lecture at the meeting on Tropical Mycology in Liverpool. He also gave generously of his time during the meeting and on other occasions to discuss with our students their work and results and corresponded with a number of them, especially those from Thailand, offering expert advice and information on Xylariaceae in Thailand.

Jack Rogers will be remembered, through his reputation and publications, as a major force in mycology but, above all, he was a kind and most supportive person and a very loyal friend. He will be greatly missed.

Tony and Margaret Whalley 23 June 2021