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Norman R. Farnsworth, Renowned Medicinal Plant Researcher, Dies at 81
Date:9/12/2011

at the University of Pittsburgh and at University of Illinois at Chicago, one will find a littering of chewed remains of Marsh Wheeling cigar butts," said Dr. Fong. "In fact, such mementos can even be found in Munich, Germany. When he was a visiting professor in Prof. H. Wagner's lab in 1966, I had the 'pleasure' of regularly mailing boxes of Marsh Wheeling cigars labeled as 'Investigational Material: Of no commercial interest' to the Institute in Munich."

However, when it comes to picking out Dr. Farnsworth's most important accomplishment, Dr. Fong could not choose: "It is not possible to pinpoint any one piece of Norm's work as being most influential and important," said Dr. Fong. "Rather, it is his body of work that will constitute his legacy."

ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal first met Farnsworth in 1977 at the Herb Trade Association's Herb Symposium in Santa Cruz, CA. After a decade of growing mentorship and friendship with Blumenthal, Farnsworth, along with economic botanist and ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Ph.D. were the first to agree to help found ABC and serve on its Board of Trustees.

"Norm was a force of nature – a man with incredible energy and profound and endless commitment to the world of medicinal plant research. There is no one like him in the profession of pharmacognosy and other fields of medicinal plant research," said Blumenthal.

"He was like a father or uncle figure to many of his 130-plus Ph.D. students and post-docs, creating a 'family' of medicinal plant researchers who are now working in many institutions around. No matter how busy he was – and he carried an incredible workload not matched by many in any field of medicinal plant science – Norm would always take time to talk to students and fellow colleagues," said Blumenthal.

"As he neared the last few years of his life and he began to disengage from many of his former associations and responsibilities, Norm still rem
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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