Aug. 7, 1925 — Aug. 30, 2012
Robert Clare Pearl Sr. (Bob) died on Aug. 30, 2012, of natural causes. He was born on Aug. 7, 1925, in Lockeford, a small town east of Lodi.
After graduating from Lodi High School in 1942, he attended UC Berkeley, which eventually led him to living in Davis while he attended the Davis Farm School. In June 1945, Bob married Suzanne Paula Brown, his junior high school sweetheart, whom he met while they were both attending California Junior High School in Sacramento.
After Bob graduated in 1947 from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in plant science — agronomy, his first job began with the staff of the University of California Agricultural Extension Service as a farm adviser for Sutter County working with field and vegetable crops. This position brought Bob and Suzanne to Marysville to live for a short time before they moved to Yuba City.
In 1953, Bob left farm advising to become the store manager and part owner of the International Harvester Farm Equipment Motor Truck Dealership in Gridley. That career change lasted for only a short time when Bob realized he missed working directly with the farmers and their crops. So, he and Suzanne, along with their three children, moved back to Davis in 1954 when Bob accepted a position working in the capacity as a regional farm adviser for processing tomato raw product studies then as an Extension agronomist for the corn, sugar beet and dry bean industry.
From 1955 to 1958, Bob worked with the UC Davis department of agronomy as an Extension agronomy specialist. In 1958, Bob began serving as liaison between the California fruit and vegetable processing industry and the university. In his capacity as an Extension food technologist, Bob developed literally hundreds of short courses that were well received by the California food processing industry plus representatives of food companies throughout the country.
In August 1989, Bob retired from his position as Cooperative Extension specialist with the department of food science and technology at UC Davis after working for more than 40 years in the fruit and vegetable growing and processing industry. And, upon retirement, he was given the title of food technology extension emeritus.
To quote David S. Reid, professor emeritus of the UC Davis food science and technology department, Bob “was a pioneer in the field of extension. He defined the role of a Cooperative Extension specialist by his actions and this was widely recognized by his peers. The fruit and vegetable industry benefited greatly from his ability to link them to the results of ongoing research, and from his enthusiasm. Many researchers found him to be an invaluable resource as they looked to define their future research directions. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of international students who gravitated to him as a mentor. As can be seen from the many complimentary statements at his retirement, he was truly a giant pointing the way to those who would follow. He also played a significant role in the many organizations to which he belonged.”
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, the Food Processors Institute, the Institute of Food Technology, the Davis Rotary Club, and UC Davis’ Sword and Sandals are among the many organizations to which Bob belonged and provided distinguished leadership.
During his lifetime, Bob received several awards and recognitions which included: the Northern California Institute of Food Technologists Member of the Year Award, Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, and the Harold Macy Food Science and Technology Award (from the Minnesota section of IFT) for Bob’s pioneering food technology transfer between university researchers and industry; the California League of Food Processors Distinguished Service Award in recognition for his contributions to the California food processing industry; and the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences’ Award of Distinction. He also received awards from the American Frozen Food Institute and the Food Processors Institute.
Bob was predeceased by his wife, Suzanne, in January 2010. He is survived by his children Pamela S. Pearl, Robert C. Pearl Jr. (Rosemary) and David K. Pearl (Darleen), all of Davis; his grandchildren Eric Wilson (Michelle) of Lake Mary, Fla., Brian Wilson (Jean) of Georgetown, Ky., Ben Pearl of Davis, Stacy Pearl of New York and Kate Pearl of Santa Cruz; and a great-grandchild, Aidan Wilson of Lake Mary. Bob will be missed by his family as well as his many friends and colleagues.
Arrangements for a memorial service are pending. If you wish to make a donation in Bob’s memory, the family asks that you please consider giving to Rotary International or to the charity of your choice.