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College Saddened by Loss of Emeritus Faculty Members Chalmers and Oatman


Dear Colleagues,

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Bruce Chalmers and Professor Emeritus of Entomology Earl Oatman (c) UCR

Sadly, one of my first messages to faculty is to inform you of the recent loss of two emeritus colleagues: Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Bruce Chalmers (left), who passed away December 11; and Professor Emeritus of Entomology Earl Oatman (right), who passed away December 13. Professor Chalmers joined the Department of Mathematics in 1976 and retired in 2008. Details of a memorial service have not been announced. His obituary has been published at the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:

Professor Oatman joined the faculty at UCR in 1962 and retired in 1988. Services will be conducted at Acheson and Graham Mortuary and Chapel (7944 Magnolia Ave., Riverside) on Friday, January 8, at 11:30 a.m. Burial will be at 2 p.m. that day at Riverside National Cemetery (22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside), followed immediately by a reception in the Citrus Historical Park Reception Hall (9400 Dufferin Ave., Riverside).

Following is an obituary shared by the Department of Entomology describing his life: Dr. Earl Oatman, Emeritus Professor of Entomology, died December 13, 2015, at the age of 95. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and began his career at the University of Wisconsin at Madison working primarily with integrated control of insect pests of fruit trees. He was hired at UCR in 1962 to work in Biological Control, served for a time as chair of the Division of Biological Control, and retired in 1988. During that period of time he produced over 200 refereed scientific publications, mostly on biological and integrated control of pests of vegetable crops. An overarching goal was to optimize the role of natural enemies for control of vegetable crop pests, reducing pesticide inputs at a time when agriculture was heavily reliant on pesticides. Dr. Oatman pioneered the use of predatory mites in the management of spider mites on commercial strawberries, which is used as an alternative to miticide use today. He devoted much of his mid to late career to studies of tiny wasps in the genus Trichogramma, which are famously important as egg parasites of many important insect pests. Research studies involved foreign exploration, field and laboratory research, and systematics, particularly in conjunction with retired UCR Entomology Professor John Pinto. He was a familiar figure in the Entomology Department for many years after his retirement and enjoyed seeing people and keeping his hand in the research. He was very proud of his many graduate students, who included such well known entomologists as Harold Browning, Frank Gilstrap, Fred Legner, Robert Flanders and Marshall Johnson.

Dr. Oatman was preceded in death by his beloved wife Virginia, and leaves two sons, Jon (San Francisco) and Eric (Riverside), a daughter Karin Hierholzer (Fresno), and nine grandchildren. He had an eventful personal life as well, having survived the infamous WW II Bataan Death March by escaping and living in the Philippine jungle for 15 months, with the help of some incredibly brave Filipinos. He then surrendered to the Japanese to prevent reprisals against the Filipino villagers and subsequently survived barbaric treatment as a prisoner of war at Bilibid Prison Hospital and Cabanatuan Prison Camp and later as a slave laborer at Funatsu Prison Camp in their zinc mines in Japan. At 6’ 4” and a trim 200 lbs. when he enlisted, he weighed 128 lbs. when he was released in September 1945. Those experiences were summarized in a book he wrote: Bataan, Only the Beginning. Earl was admired by many as a truly kind and Christian soul, and will be missed.

Please join me in taking a moment to appreciate the service of Professors Chalmers and Oatman to their departments, our college, the university and its students.


Kathryn Uhrich, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences



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