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Homer R. Wolfe

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Homer R. Wolfe

Wenatchee, WA

Homer R. Wolfe, longtime resident of Wenatchee, WA, died November 26, 2013, at Central Washington Hospital, following a brief illness. He was born November 25, 1916, at Wilbur, WA to Arthur R. and Blanche F. Wolfe. He grew up on a wheat farm, attended Wilbur High School and received his higher education at Whitworth College and Washington State College, earning a degree in Agricultural Entomology. At Whitworth he lettered in baseball and tennis. Prior to World War II, he was employed as an Entomologist with the U.S.D.A., supervising Pear Psylla eradication project activities in Chelan and Douglas Counties before that insect pest became a major problem in Central Washington fruit areas. He enlisted in the Army Air Force on November 21, 1941, and graduated from the Air Force Mechanic’s school at Chanute Field, Illinois, where he became an airplane propeller systems specialist, and later an instructor in the Air Force Technical Training Command School at Lincoln, NE. The latter part of his four years in the service was as an instructor with a Mobile Training Unit, which presented short courses at many Air Bases in the U.S. and overseas. He married Peggy J. Morey on October 2, 1945, in Lincoln, NE. They lived in Denver, CO for a short time before his separation from the Air Force. After discharge from the service, he returned to his U.S.D.A. position in Wenatchee.

In 1947, he joined the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research Center. There his major research effort was related to transmission of stone fruit virus diseases by insects. He was also instrumental in evaluating the use of the pesticide, Endrin, as an effective method of controlling meadow mice in orchards, leading to its use to prevent tree damage throughout Central Washington fruit growing areas. In 1957, he joined the staff of the U.S. Public Health Service Toxicology Research Laboratory in Wenatchee, where he was placed in charge of field research on the health effects of pesticides on applicators and other workers. In 1967, he was promoted to be in charge of the Laboratory. In 1970, when the Program was placed under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he was appointed Chief of the Field Studies Section of E.P.A., and in charge of the Pesticide Health Effects Research laboratory at Wenatchee until his retirement in February 1980. He was recognized worldwide as an authority in his field of research, and was often called upon as guest lecturer for agricultural short coursed at various colleges in the U.S., and for courses offered by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. In 1974, he represented the United States at a World Health Organization symposium in Geneva, Switzerland of the use of toxic pesticides in developing countries. He has written one book, “My Life and the Olden Times”, (a memoir), and was the author or co-author of over 100 publications in scientific journals, book chapters, etc. In 1974, he received the Federal Government’s Bronze Metal for Commendable Service for pioneering the development of techniques for measuring human exposure to pesticides in the field. He has been listed in Marques’s “Who’s Who in the West” and “Who’s Who in Government”. An insect species was named after him by the U.S. National Museum. He was the recipient of the Lions Club International Melvin Jones Fellow award and was a Lion for over 50 years.

Homer had many hobbies but was especially fond of travel, fishing, golfing, and spending time at their place at Lake Chelan. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and served as an Elder for many years. In addition to belonging to several professional organizations, he was a member of Riverside Lodge No. 112 F. & A.M., Astral Chapter No. 75 Order of Eastern Star, American Legion Post 10, Life member of Wenatchee Elks Lodge 1186, member Board of Trustees of Wenatchee Valley Museum, Wenatchee Central Lions Club, Wenatchee Applarians, member of the Wenatchee Golf and Country Club, and N.A.R.F.E., (National Association of Retired Federal Employees).

Homer was preceded in death by his parents, Blanche and Arthur Wolfe; and his sister, Leta Hansen. Survivors include his wife, Peggy, at home; two daughters, Sharon Wolfe of Lynnwood, WA and Maureen Neubauer and husband, Steve of Lake Tapps, WA; two grandsons, John Neubauer of Lake Tapps, Matthew Neubauer and fiance;, KC of Dillon, CO; one brother, Lee Wolfe and wife, Ethel of Wilbur; three nephews, Gale Wolfe, Lynn Wolfe and Wayne Wolfe; and one niece, Diane Hansen.

Homer wished to leave this message for loved ones and friends left behind. “Do not grieve, but celebrate my successful and pleasant life that was much longer than many are privileged to experience.”

The Memorial Service will be held at the Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Monday, December 16, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. You are invited to visit his tribute online at In Lieu of flowers, please send any donations to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center or the charity of your choice. Arrangements by Heritage Memorial Chapel, East Wenatchee.

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