Larry Teuber was born July 8, 1951, in Prescott, Arizona. The son of the late Ross Teuber, a U.S. Navy veteran and forest ranger, and Clara Teuber, an elementary school teacher, he grew up in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, until moving to Albuquerque in his teens.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and his master’s degree in agronomy and plant breeding from New Mexico State University. He earned his Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1977, then joined the faculty at UC Davis as an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Range Science (now the Department of Plant Sciences).
Part of his appointment was to work on the genetics and improvement of alfalfa for the growers of California. He took this commitment very seriously and always ensured that his research would have a practical application for growers down the line. His research centered on improvement of pollination for seed production by manipulation of plant traits that influenced pollinator activity, determination of optimum conditions for conducting selection with different breeding methods and in different environments in the state, and selection methods and markers for disease and insect resistance in alfalfa.
More recently, he conducted research on gene flow and the issue of cross-contamination of non-biotech alfalfa by genetically modified crops via pollinators. He also recently set up a breeding program to improve California wild rice. As part of his strong commitment to California agriculture, he was the director of the UC Foundation Seed program from 2002 to 2010, and the executive director of the California Crop Improvement Association from 2006 onward.
He enjoyed teaching the methodology of plant breeding and was passionate about passing on the utility and importance of mathematical modeling and statistics to programs of crop improvement. He was one of the three founding instructors in the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy, established in 2006.
In his personal life, he married Suzanne in 1983 and embarked on multiple backpacking, cycling, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling and dive trips with her and close friends. He loved diving in the waters of Hawaii, the Monterey Peninsula and the Channel Islands and even became a divemaster and assistant instructor. In the last 10 years, he pursued cycling. He was also skilled with mechanical troubleshooting and enjoyed remodeling his home.
The greatest joy of his entire life, however, was being a father to two wonderful daughters. He was a dedicated father, AYSO referee, fixer of all things broken, tutor in the use of tools and tractors, and role model for faith in God and loving others when given a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
He is survived and deeply missed by his wife of 30 years, Suzanne; daughters Stephanie and Melissa; sister Rebecca and brother-in-law Thomas Jennings; nieces Katie (Charles Kerr) and Kimberly Jennings; mother-in-law Noma Jamond; brother and sister-in-laws Paul Jamond, Cynthia Denenholz, Michael Jamond and Janice Arnold; and niece Amelia Jamond.
A Celebration of Life service will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at University Covenant Church, 315 Mace Blvd., Davis. In lieu of flowers, Larry asked that any donations be made to the “Larry Teuber Seed Research Program” (checks payable to the California Wild Rice Advisory Board, 4125 Temescal St., Suite F, Fair Oaks, CA 95628) or to a memorial set up at Youth With A Mission’s University of the Nations (Check payable to University of the Nations — Kona Foundation [UNKF], with a separate memo indicating it is for the “Larry Teuber Memorial Fund,” 75-5851 Kuakini Highway, Suite 256, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740).