Dr. Michael Hugh Dickson, passed away at age 85 after a lengthy illness on March 28, 2018.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Presbyterian Church, 24 Park St. in Geneva on Saturday (April 7) at 1.30 p.m. with Rev. W. James Gerling officiating. A private burial will take place in the Brookside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Geneva Public Library, 244 N. Main St., Geneva, NY 14456 or the Presbyterian Church in Geneva.
Mike was born in London, England on April 2, 1932. He was the son of Dr. Hugh and Eranee Dickson. He spent the first three years of his life in Egypt where his father was a botanist working on King Tutt’s tomb. He grew up in turbulent times in England during World War II. He graduated from Charterhouse High School and left England in 1950 to attend college. He graduated from McGill University (Macdonald College) in 1955 with a B.S. degree. Mike continued his education at Michigan State University where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Breeding. He was a professor at Ontario Agricultural University in Guelph, Ontario for six years before coming to the New York Experiment Station in Geneva, NY (Cornell University) as a research professor in 1964. He established a world class breeding program in crucifer crops and snap beans. His work resulted in many scientific papers and awards and mentoring of graduate students. His sabbatical leaves were in Oregon, Sydney, Australia and California. He was a long time chair of the International Bean Improvement Cooperative. Mike was perhaps best known as the breeder of Orange Cauliflower, a thirty year journey from start to finish. He became a Fellow of the American Horticultural Society and retired in 1995 as a full professor emeritus.
Mike married his college sweetheart, Jean Hamilton in 1958. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August. Over the years they entertained many guests from around the world. In their retirement, he and Jean enjoyed traveling the world, spending fifteen winters in their Tucson, Arizona home and visiting with their children and families.
Mike had many hobbies including gardening, sailing, skiing, reading and painting in oil and watercolors. He was a long time member of the Presbyterian Church in Geneva, a former board member of the Geneva Public Library, Commodore of the Seneca Yacht Club, and member of several Geneva organizations.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Jean; his daughters Nancy Dickson (David Korn), Stow, Mass., Jane Purser (Rob Purser), Wayland, Mass. and Roslyn Dickson (Paula Black), Santa Fe, N.M.; and grandchildren Mario and Isabel Purser, Blake and Drew Korn.
He is predeceased by his parents Dr. Hugh and Eranee Dickson; infant son, David Allan Dickson; sisters Jane Griswold and Ann Palm; and sister in-law Mary Ballantyne.
Special thanks from the family to Dr. Michael Collins MD and Dr. Christopher Wright MD.