WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

Remembered – Dr. Bill Bruehl

George William ‘Bill’ Bruehl, professor emeritus of the Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University (WSU), passed away Tuesday, December 20, 2016 in Meridian, Idaho, at the age of 97. He was born September 10, 1919 in Mentone, Indiana to Henry Waltropp Bruehl and Mary Frances (Dawson) Bruehl, and his big sister, Frances.Bruehl 2

Bruehl’s father was a high school teacher and in this occupation, his family moved frequently.  Most of his formative years were spent in Evanston, Illinois and in Montana where he attended grade schools. In 1933, at the height of the depression, his father lost a teaching job so his family moved to Green Forest, Arkansas, where his family farmed and he completed his high school education in 1937.

Bruehl obtained employment in the plant pathology department at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, enrolled in college and graduated with a B.S. degree in 1941.  He attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1941 to 1942.  He took a break to serve his country with the U.S. Navy in World War II as a naval aviator in the Pacific where he served for a time on the USS Enterprise.  After the war, he returned to Madison, Wisconsin, where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in plant pathology in 1948.

Bruehl worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1948 to 1952 at South Dakota State College in Brookings in the cereal crops division. During this time, he met the love of his life, Arline, and they were married February 4, 1949. The family moved to Puerto Rico and he worked at the Rio Piedras Experiment Station from 1952 to 1954.  He moved his family to Pullman, Washington where he worked in the Department of Plant Pathology, WSU, until he retired in 1984.  After retirement, he continued teaching courses for many years.

Bruehl served as editor-in-chief of Phytopathology from 1968-69, president of the American Phytopathological Society Pacific Division in 1972, and president of the APS in 1977.  He was interim chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and served as associate director of the experiment station at WSU.  He authored numerous scientific papers during his career, notably APS monograph number 1 on Barley yellow dwarf virus in 1961 and the book, Soilborne Plant Pathogens, in 1987. He was a worldwide expert on snow mold diseases and remained interested in them until the end of his life.

Bill Bruehl and Arline Bruehl were active members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Pullman for 58 years until they moved to the Meridian, Idaho in 2012 to be closer to family.  They enjoyed a few cruises and extensive travel in their retirement years.

Bruehl is preceded in death by his father and mother; his beloved sister, Frances; and baby brother, Robert Louis.  Surviving are his wife of 67 years, Arline (Gauthan) Bruehl; their children, Janet (Richard) Halford of Kent, Washington; and Walter (Cheryl) Bruehl of Boise, Idaho; four grandchildren, Risa (John) Roberts, Dean Halford, Adam (Hope) Bruehl and Christopher Bruehl; and two great-grandchildren, L J and Isla Roberts.

Bruehl was a kind, generous, noble gentleman and will be very deeply missed by his family, colleagues, and students who had the opportunity to meet and know him.

Department of Plant Pathology, PO Box 646430, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6430, 509-335-9541, Contact Us
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