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John Van Dam was inducted into the Southern California Turfgrass Foundation (SCTF) Hall of Fame on January 22, 2003 at Cal Poly Pomona. John began his career with the UC Cooperative Extension Service in 1959 as a farm management advisor, and for over two decades was also the Turfgrass advisor for Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties; he retired in 1989. John's family immigrated to the United States in 1923. John's father established his own grain and feed business, which led John to study agronomy at the University of Wisconsin, and receive a master's degree in agricultural economics in 1976 from Oregon State University. In 1941, John enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent eight years in the Signal Corps; he was commissioned and worked as a cryptographer at the Pentagon message center, and assisted with communications for General MacArthur's South Pacific operations. In 1948, after his military duty, John returned to a job in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he met his late wife, Marie. Marie was a beautician, skilled musician, ardent golfer and a widowed mother with a daughter, Jamie. John and Marie were married in 1956. In 1957, the family settled in Southern California. John developed an economic analysis of golf course maintenance operations," explains Chuck Wilson, SCTF secretary, relating just one of his many accomplishments. "His booklet, Allocating Resources for Golf Maintenance, an Economic Analysis (a UC Publication) remains today as an important industry tool." John helped establish the Southern California Turfgrass Council Turf & Landscape Institute. The institute remains the premier educational venue for Turfgrass in Southern California. John also hosted a radio show on KFI for several years as part of an agricultural broadcast. John was closely involved in the testing and evaluation of dozens of new turfgrass varieties, working with people like the late Dr. Vic Younger of UC Riverside. In 1982, John was selected as statewide facilitator for the fledgling California Irrigation Management Information Systems (CIMIS) project. He was asked to test the feasibility of a computerized, statewide network of weather stations to make evapotranspiration data available. We take CIMIS for granted now, but 20 years ago it was state of the art. In his illustrious 30-year career with UC Cooperative Extension, John gained a reputation for excellence in his many roles: educator, motivator, communicator, and researcher in farm, livestock, dairy and turfgrass management, and water conservation. Upon his retirement, the president and regents of the University of California conferred upon him the title of "Cooperative Extension Advisor, Emeritus."

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June 16, 2019, 10:41 pm PDT

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