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Obituary of Charles Leon Mohler
Charles Leon Mohler Charles Leon Mohler died on April 1, 2021. He was 73. Chuck was born in Salem, Oregon, to Chester Edmund Mohler, a civil engineer, and Roberta Mae Dillard, a homemaker. The family moved afterward to Portland. A childhood spent exploring the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Coast Range with his father and sisters introduced him to the beauty of the natural world. After obtaining a BA at the University of Oregon in 1971, he came east to do graduate work at Cornell and was awarded a PhD in 1979. He became a senior research associate within Professor Antonio DiTommaso’s Weed Ecology and Management Lab in what is now the section of Soil and Crop Sciences, School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Chuck’s work pushed a field that had been focused on chemical weed control in new directions. He brought scientific rigor to the study of alternative methods of weed management. His work on weed lifecycles, weed seed movement in soil, cultivation and more led to innovative techniques and methods for organic and conventional growers alike. He designed, carried out, and supervised research studies, published widely, mentored graduate students and visiting scholars, and listened carefully to all that farmers shared with him. He received the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Northeastern Weed Science Society in 2014. Among Chuck’s most influential publications were Crop Rotation on Organic Farms and Guide to the Plant Communities of the Central Finger Lakes Region. His latest book, a 15-year project, Manage Weeds on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies, co-authored with Antonio DiTommaso and John Teasdale, is forthcoming. His unfailing generosity was an inspiration to his colleagues. He was always ready to help them think through the design of an experiment or how best to analyze the data collected. His children, Loden and Ariel, were frequent visitors at the lab. Chuck was a cherished member of Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He served on many committees and brought to its decision-making meetings deep wisdom and sound judgement. He built his own home, laid the stone for its magnificent chimney, split his own wood, and grew and canned his own vegetables. He had a wide circle of friends and enjoyed time talking with them, sharing meals, and taking part in Ithaca’s community Richie sings. He loved Donna the Buffalo, loved to dance, devoted his life to organic farming and sustainability, lived simply, avoided unnecessary luxuries, and was happy that way. He found love late in life, when he least expected it. He gave generously to causes he believed in. He was logical and scientific, he valued reason above all, but was at the same time deeply spiritual. He did not judge others. He loved learning, loved reading, loved knowledge. He was devoted to pacifism, and he died while his carrot bread was baking in the oven. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Mardi (Martha Keltner), and his second wife, Carol. He leaves a sister, Ann Wederspahn (Gary), his partner Linda Heyne, and his children, Loden and Ariel. A Memorial Meeting for Worship will be held by Ithaca Monthly Meeting (Quakers). Further information is available from the meeting. In place of flowers, the family asks that friends consider a donation in Chuck’s memory to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (https://nofany.org/), to Indigenous Climate Action (https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/), or to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (https://ocrahope.org/).
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