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   Dec. 26, 2009

Verne and Carolyn Bathurst

Verne and Carolyn Bathurst grew up on Kansas farms during the Dust Bowl and the Depression.   Verne was born on June 6, 1925.   He retired from the SCS National office in 1981, and settled in Scottsdale, AZ.   He formed the AZ chapter of the Association of Retired SCS Employees in 1981 and is passing this leadership role to Glen Johnson effective Jan. 1, 2010.   Verne served for 29 YEARS!!!

The Bathursts have traveled extensively, covering all of "Western Europe" riding Eurail trains for a total of 7 months; Central and South America: the Caribbean; plus Australia and New Zealand, and all of the 50 states and their state capitols.   They recently spent a week in Honolulu on the Island of Oahu just leisurely goofing around.   This will be their last "offshore" trip.   Not bad for a couple of kids from KS.   Their "Foreign trips" will now consist only of a yearly trip to Kansas each June!   They are now staying closer to home - revisiting AZ sites including museums, historical, and geological points of interest.   They spend the night, and then work their way home by a different route.

They celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary on July 30, 2009.  


   Feb. 7, 2009

Neil and Eleanor Bogner

On January 24th, I retired as Secretary/Treasurer for ARSCSE.   Eleanor and I are packing and on Feb. 12th will be moving to a retirement apartment near our oldest son, his wife, and our 2 granddaughters.   The expected move prompted my decision to end my time on the ARSCSE Board.   I am now out of a job!   For the first time since the fall of 1983 when Linc conned me into taking on the Membership files I don't have any ARSCSE responsibilities!   And, to be really honest, I'm feeling the loss!   Add to that the fact that tomorrow Eleanor and I will be doing our last shift (see picture below) at Fairfax hospital (after 17 years!) and you can see that I'll have free time!

Eleanor and I volunteered there since March 1992.   We worked together on Monday mornings the entire time plus a lot of extra shifts.   Since the new Heart Institute opened we worked there and I was the coordinator for the volunteer office in the Heart Institute.   Together we have been credited with over 25,000 hours.   [Special credit hours for coordinator duties and Eleanor was a coordinator in the Women's and Children's sections in the Tower.]   In the last 10 years, my pedometer registered over 5500 miles in the hospital!


John Mank

I retired from NRCS in December of 1986 as Assistant State Conservationist for Natural Resource Projects in PA.   I started out in MD as an engineering technician in Cecil county, MD in 1958.   In 1959 I transferred to the MD Sate Office in the Design unit – still as an engineering technician.   After about 10 years of attending the U of MD on a part time basis, I earned enough credits for an engineering degree and became an engineer in the Design unit and took and passed my PE exam.   After John Cotton (Design Engineer) retired, I filled his job.   In 1977, I transferred to PA as Assistant State Conservation Engineer, working with Merv Ice.   Before I decided to take an early out in December 1986, I moved over to the ASCTCNRP in PA.

I went to work for the State of PA as soon as I retired from NRCS.   I started with DER (Department of Environmental Resources), now DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and worked as an engineer in the stream and wetlands regulatory programs.   I retired from that job after 15 years and have been retired for the last 6 years.   I do some work now on a very part-time basis transporting Workman’s Compensation claimants to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy sessions, medical examinations, etc.

I have four grown children and 10 grandchildren.   I’ve gone fishing in Canada for at least one week every year for the last 50 years and in the past 5 or 6 years have taken a grandson along on the trip.   This summer, I’m planning to take the third grandson along.   Grandson Mike caught a nice Pike on this trip!

I live in Mechanicsburg, PA with my wife Ellen.   Additional details about where we live are on the ASCSRE application form which I’m mailing to Neil Bogner in the morning.


   Mark Wilson, thank you for this information.

Linus "Lenny" Losh was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame
on August 10, 2007 on the Ohio State Fairgrounds.

Since retiring in 1980 from SCS, Lenny contracted with the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to provide leadership in developing the first and only State Soil and Water Conservation Action Plan.   He was, for twelve years, the Agricultural Specialist and Economic Advisor for Congressman Mike Oxley, R-OH as well as serving on the House Republican Research Committee.   He was employed by the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to analyze and formulate agriculture policy, identify and recommend programs beneficial to Ohio Agriculture, and serve as a liaison with U.S. and Ohio EPA.   Lenny continues to serve Ohio Agriculture as a consultant and through his leadership on the Darby Creek Watershed planning efforts and on the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) State Technical Committee.   Lenny recently helped the State of Ohio secure over $150 million of federal funding for the Scioto River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

At the Ohio Agriculture Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Lenny first poses with Mr. Boggs, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.   He then poses with his daughter and Ohio Governor Strickland, and lastly with his granddaughter.


   Jennifer Morrill    (202) 378-1255 or , thank you for this information.


American Farmland Trust Honors the Work of Norm Berg


Berg is a living link to the beginnings of agricultural conservation in the United States. He worked for the first chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service (SCS), Hugh Hammond Bennett, considered the "father of soil conservation," and then steadily rose through the ranks serving as chief from 1979 until 1982. Berg advocated for a broader understanding of agricultural conservation, recognizing, before most, that development posed a serious threat to the nation’s agricultural resources.

Today, at nearly 90 years old, Berg remains a committed conservationist. He serves as senior advisor for AFT and as the Washington, DC, representative for the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS).

The Norm Berg Collection assembles documents written by or about Berg, and key laws and reports that represent milestones in agricultural conservation. At the collection’s core are nearly 200 speeches and articles written by Berg from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, when he was in leadership positions at the SCS. These papers demonstrate Berg’s commitment to farm and ranch land protection and his role in steering the agency and its partners toward a broader understanding of agricultural conservation. In addition, the collection includes examples of Congressional testimony delivered by Berg, federal laws, biographical sketches, a list of awards and honors and, last, tributes prepared by esteemed colleagues and friends.

The collection-dedicated to Berg’s family-was assembled by AFT with help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, formerly SCS) and is housed on AFT’s Farmland Information Center (FIC) Web site, Ralph Grossi, AFT president and long-time colleague of Berg’s said, "We hope this collection will make Berg’s wisdom available to current and future farmland protection advocates and serve as a fitting tribute to his greatly respected leadership in the conservation field."

Jennifer Dempsey, who manages the collection, evaluates and accepts additional materials such as publications, photographs and manuscripts that the public may wish to contribute to the Norm Berg Collection. Dempsey can be reached at the Farmland Information Center at 800-370-4879 x13 or via e-mail at

The project was made possible with support from the NRCS, SWCS, Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District and Norm Berg’s friends and colleagues.

American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization working with communities
and individuals to protect the best land, plan for agriculture and keep the land healthy.
As the leading advocate for farm and ranch land conservation, AFT has ensured that more than
a million acres stays bountiful and productive. AFT’s national office is located in Washington, DC.
The phone number is 202-331-7300. For more information, visit

The Farmland Information Center (FIC) is a clearinghouse for information about
farmland protection and stewardship. The FIC is a public/private partnership between the
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and American Farmland Trust (AFT),
and was authorized by the federal Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA).



Saturday, April 22, 2006 was project W.E.E.D. in Delphi, IN - home of retired SCSer Dan McCain.   The event brought 61 people to work on Delphi Historic Trails.   All ages were represented and all were willing to devote a day to grooming and improving parts of this city's extensive, beautiful trail system.

The 9 am gathering at Canal Park included a donut treat from Brosman's IGA and instructions on where to work and what tools might be needed.   The Canal has many hand tools available for those hands willing to rake, prune and pickup trash.   Dispersal of the teams allowed many of the paths to receive their of spring cleaning.

At noon the troops came back for the traditional "Ote Meal" lunch served by the Psi Ote Sorority. It seems when there is a free lunch more workers will always come to volunteer. Delphi is blessed with many that even come from a distance to participate. One family from Marion, Indiana regularly attends. Another couple trained naturalists from Tipton County came to volunteer. The volunteerism spreads farther each year.

The long awaited trail tunnel under the railroad at the end of Canal Park is completed. The glory will come next with the official dedication on National Trails Day - June 3, 2006. Contractor Jack Cohee and local volunteers have worked since January on this most important linkage in the 10 miles of Delphi Historic Trails. Now a hiker/biker can go between the unique, watered northern canal section to the beautiful trails historic points and streamside vistas on the lower canal trails. The public need for this underpass had been increasing as Delphi's trails become more popular. The corrugated steel "egg shape" 8 foot tall pipe was assembled three years ago by volunteers.

Praise from the Canal Association goes to the Delphi Limestone Company and Norfolk Southern Railroad officials for allowing this important link to be put in place. Back in the 1880s the landowners at that time, the Greenup Brothers, had need for a level underpass when their farm was split by the building of the railroad. Sometime in the past century this underpass was closed and filled.

When the Greenup Brother's right-of-way was bought by the railroad in the late 1870s their deed carried an interesting tidbit of history of this site. The Canal Association now holds title to the land through a gift from Gerry and Fay Underhill 10 years ago. This deed states: "Grantor hereby reserves the right to cross under said railway track with cattle or other stock at the point where said railway track crosses the North bank of the Wabash and Erie Canal and said Company hereby agrees to always have an open and unobstructed crossing for party of that part under its said railway at said point." Interesting now because the passageway is back in operation and if the Canal Association would take horses through (as if towing a canal boat) it would be like looking at a snapshot of history.

Pictures: Volunteers from Monticello's Wal*Mart store in Monticello came to work as a team in completing the raking, seeding and mulching of a sizeable approach to the new railroad underpass on the Underhill Towpath Trail 200 yards southwest of the Canal Interpretive Center.

By Dan McCain April 2006


I am working for a consultant Easterling Consultants made up of old worn out SCSers. I work with Bernie Owen, Mike Woodson, and we did some work with Warren Lee. I also have a family farm to run. It's only 125 ac. but 100 ac of coastal hay production keeps me busy.
Allan Colwick
Retired TX Engineer


Leslie W. (Bill) Kick
Soil Scientist - Soldier

   Compiled by Fred Gilbert, January 2006.

Leslie W. (Bill) Kick lives in Westmoreland, NY with his wife Norah.   They are in good health, and "get out and about" enjoying life to the fullest.   Bill's son, John, is an expert in GIS and works in the MLRA office in Amherst, MA.   Bill's story is unique but similar to those of many others who served our country during WWII.   Bill served both in the Canadian and the United States Armies, and participated in the D-day invasion.

Military Overview:
Bill enlisted in the U. S. Army’s infantry in 1938. As the result of his score on aptitude tests, he transferred to the Signal Corps and was sent to school at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. After finishing training, he was sent to Panama for two years. He was a "buck" sergeant at 20 years of age. An interesting note is that mobility for the Signal Corps at that time was pack mule. Bill was discharged from the U.S. Army in May 1941 at Ft. Dix, New Jersey.

After receiving his discharge and spending a few months and most of his money in and around NYC, Bill showed up at the Canadian border by hitching rides along the way with thirty five cents in his trousers. The Canadian border folks were not inclined to let him cross the border with so few resources until he told them he was there to join their army. Armed with that information, he was given transportation to Montreal. Bill enlisted in the Canadian Corps of Signals at Montreal.

After the United States entered the war, Bill and other Canadian soldiers from the U.S. were discharged from the Canadian Army. Bill was discharged from the Canadian Army in May 1942 at Halifax, Nova Scotia. He immediately enlisted in the U. S. Army Infantry and was sent to receive basic training at Camp Croft which was near Spartanburg, South Carolina. After basic training, he was sent to parachute school at Ft. Benning, Georgia where he received his wings in October. After becoming a paratrooper, Bill was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and was put in the Field Artillery as they were in need of people trained in communications. Bill served in the European Theater with the 82nd. He received 8 battle stars and 3 arrowheads. Bill was discharged as a Master Sergeant 27 August, 1945.

The following story is one Bill wrote in a letter to Jan Bos in Holland, July 1998:

        Your letter in the summer of 1998 "Paraglide" was the first writing on the "friendly fire" incident I have ever seen.

        I was a radio operator in the 82nd Airborne Division artillery at the time. Twelve of us, let by Lt. Garcia plus a chaplain, were to go in with elements of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

        In the afternoon preceding the flight, we were sitting I the shade of the plane’s wing with all our equipment. The pilot came out to meet us. While there he tried to light a cigarette but his hands were shaking so badly he couldn’t do it. I gave him a light from my trusty Zippo lighter. After he left, the general felling was "We’ve got to go in with that nervous bastard at the controls?" Since then I’ve wondered if he had a premonition of what was to come.

        The flight that night from near Kairouan, Tunisia to Sicily was without incident. A few minutes before arrival time we were given the "Stand up and hook up" command. Lt. Garcina and I and one other were at the door prepared to push out unwieldy equipment bundles.

        Unbeknown to us, standing hooked up to the static line, we flew over elements of the invasion fleet. When the AA started it was like going through a wall of molten steel. The plane lurched and both engines of the C-47 were dead. The pilot held the plane level, got us over land, gave us the green light, and we went.

        We went out so fast and were so low, that we all landed in an olive orchard which I judged when dawn came to be about two acres. No jumpers were hurt and all equipment was recovered in good condition. The chaplain told us later that the crew chief made it with a free chute and that pilot and copilot were killed in the crash.

        We did not know our exact position, but we moved out at daybreak and joined up with elements of the 505th. We were strafed, but there was no ground fire the first morning.

        Rumor was that 26 planes were shot down. Your figure of 23 was no doubt base on better sources than our rumors.

        I never heard a casualty figure, but we figured no other plane load could have had our luck.

        I hope my recollections will be of value to you. Please accept my thanks for your effort. I would greatly appreciate knowing the results.

        If you could use any additional recollections of my time in the 82nd (from Oct 42 to July 45), please let me know.

This letter was signed Leslie William "Bill" Kick; Captain, AUS (Ret).

In preparing this piece on Bill, he wrote me a note saying:

"We didn’t see Lt. Garcina after we hooked up with the 505th. We heard later he was evacuated with mental problems. Some weeks after the jump the Chaplain got us all together (we were alive!). He asked us if we prayed when we went through the AA. Nobody would admit it. He said something like "that’s all right - I prayed enough for every g-d----- one of you!"

Since then I’ve seen a casualty figurer for the 504’s jump, 312 KIA. With air crews and other units (376 A.F.A plus other units), the figure exceeds 400.

Bill offered a lighter story to finish this part of this effort.

"As our part in the Sicily campaign wound down we were at Trapani, on the west end of the island. We were bivouacked in an olive orchard, and we were issued 5 in 1 rations (1 box fed 5 men for a day). Each morning, one of us went to a POW stockade and got Giuseppe del Monte, an Alpino from Torino. He drove a hard tired Italian truck for us as we went on looting expeditions, as well as cooked for us. We had a beautiful mahogany dining table, chairs to match, nice dishes, and crystal, etc. After a couple of weeks we had to move back to Africa. Giuseppe cried because he could not come with us. I hope he is still alive and enjoys the Olympics."

Transition to Civilian Life: Returning to civilian life, Bill enrolled in the School of Forestry at Syracuse University. He graduated June 6, 1949 (D-day + 5!). At the time he was going to school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves as a Master Sergeant. He received a direct appointment to Second Lieutenant April 1949. He was called to active duty in February 1951 when the hostilities broke out in Korea. He went back in the 82nd Airborne Division. Bill served in Korea in 1952 and 1953. He was separated at Ft. Ord, California in November 1953. He went on serving in the reserves retiring with the rank of Captain in 1980.

Soil Conservation Service Career: The date was June 20, 1949 when Bill began his long service in soil survey and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). He reported to an office in Binghamton, New York on that day where he met a soil scientist named Ned Giddings. Ned immediately drove Bill to the State Office of SCS which was located in Ithaca at that time. There Bill was introduced to Irvin Stafford, the first and only (at that time) State Conservationist for New York. That day he also met Robert Donahue, who remained in administration of SCS until he retired in the 1980’s. Bill was immediately put on travel pay. He and Ned headed off to Delaware County for three days where Ned was preparing Conservation Surveys on individual farms for conservation planning That summer, Bill worked in Tompkins, Cortland, Broome, Otsego, and Delaware Counties. Most of the work was preparing Conservation Surveys for conservation planning activities. In the fall of 1949, Bill was assigned to Cortland County where, through much of 1950, he prepared Conservation Surveys on individual farms in Cortland and Onondaga Counties. The system that was guiding soil classification at that time was strongly influenced by a classification system from Russia.

In February 1951, Bill was recalled to the U. S. Army (see previous discussion). He says the unofficial descriptor was "retreads". After his separation from active duty status, he returned to SCS with his headquarters in Oswego, New York. It was during this time that the Soil Scientists in America began a cooperative effort to field test a soil classification system being developed under the national leadership of Dr. Guy Smith and many others. It was referred to at that point in time as the "Fifth Approximation" of Soil Taxonomy. Bill points out that a good example of the product of this time is the published soil survey of Franklin County, New York. The field work for this survey began in 1947, was completed in 1953 and was published in 1958. From 1954 onward, soil scientists were busy writing soil profile descriptions and preparing soil series descriptions while continuing to prepare individual conservation surveys for planning. Sometimes the work was conflicting in the eyes of some administrators (authors opinion). The soil scientist in New York were more and more doing ‘block mapping" in order to complete counties.

Bill was promoted to the position of Soil Correlator for New York in 1967. He continued in this position until his retirement in March, 1975. After his government service, Bill has continued to be involved in the soil survey program by mapping, under contract, in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. He also served as a consultant for special projects.

Norah and Bill Kick - January 2006

Bill did have a personal life in addition to protecting his country while insuring future food and fiber supplies through his efforts to have others "consider the soil first" Veronica M. (Peggy) Tabaczyk (Bill says "obviously Polish") married Bill September 4 1945, eight days after he was discharged from the U. S. Army. They were married in Auburn, New York. Two children were born to this union; Carol was born August 29, 1946. Carol is now a retired school teacher. John was born January 28, 1952 at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina while Bill was recalled to active duty in the Army. John is a thirty year veteran of SCS/Natural Resource Conservation Service. Most readers will recognize his name as his early work was in soil survey. He continues as an expert in Geographical Information Systems. Veronica (Peggy) Kick died December 10, 1976 from a metastasized breast cancer. Bill and Norah Jarrett were married in 1982. Bill and Norah met in 1941 in Montreal.



Tyrone Goddard and Fred Gilbert interviewed Frank Z. Hutton, Jr. at his home in Bluefield Manor in Auburn, NY on August 11, 2005. Frank is 90 years old and his memory is excellent. We took notes and attempted to record our conversation in hopes that we could share his story with others. Frank’s father, Frank Z. Hutton, Sr. was one of our earlier field soils scientists. Before his death according to Frank Jr., He wrote the following autobiography.

Frank Z. Hutton Sr. studied to become a school teacher under James Gosnold at Lewisbury, York Co, Pa. After passing the county examination, I taught school two years in the schools if Fairview Township, York Co., PA. Then I decided to study Agriculture. In order to enter the Pennsylvania State College, I took the preparatory Course which was given at the College at that time. I entered College with the class of 1912.

After graduating in 1912, I took the civil service examination for a soil scientist in The Bureau of Soils and Chemistry. I received an appointment to map soils at Springfield, Missouri with Henry Krusekoff, the State man. I worked for the Bureau of Soils and Chemistry in the North during the summer, and in the south during the winter. In the spring of 1914, I married Carrie May Sloat and took her with me to Lamure Co., North Dakota. I worked there until October, then was sent to Cohoma Co., Mississippi. Frank Hutton, Jr. was born April 23, 1915. In June, the family moved to Ripley Co., Missouri. to work with Krusekoff during the summer. From Ripley Co. I was transferred to Arkansas to finish a county that was started the year before, but not finished because the soil scientist resigned. I was then sent to North Dakota, with headquarters at Forman where Alvadee was born June 15, 1917. We finished the county and wrote the report at Grand Forks, North Dakota. I was then transferred to Mendenhall, Mississippi for the winter. The following summer, I transferred to map soils in the Red River Valley. I finished that report late in the autumn after the area wintered up. I transferred back to Mendenhall to finish the county and write the report on the soils and agriculture of the county. From Mendenhall, I was sent to Toledo, Ohio to finish the county there that was started the year previous. After finishing mapping the soils and writing the report on the county at Toledo, I resigned from the Bureau of Soils and Chemistry to go into the coal and feed business with my father-in-law. I remained in the coal and feed business and later added lumber and a planing mill to the business. Later my partner quit the lumber and feed business to go into the Concrete Burial Vault Business with his son, Paul Sloat of Philadelphia, Pa.

In the years of the depression, 1929-1930. During the depression years, my lumber yard was under water from the highest flood of the Susquehanna River ever known at New Cumberland, Pa. (1931) about one year after the flood, the lumber yard caught fire and burned to the ground except the office, scale shed and my 6 ton truck. I was then out of business. I got a job at the Army Depot at New Cumberland and hauled coal from the mines as I had time.

I started working at the Army Depot as a packer. Later I was transferred to a checker. When I became a checker, I got my Civil Service rating back. Not long after that, the Depot received a request from the Soil Conservation Service that I be transferred to the S.C.S. and ordered to Sutton, West Virginia to map soils. Now I was back at my job as a Soil Scientist.

I worked in West Virginia about a year and a half, when the request came through to transfer me to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Such poor work was being done in mapping soils that an older man was to take charge there. I transferred to Salisbury, Maryland, where I worked until I was automatically retired at age 70 years. But there was still so much work to do, and no one trained to take my place, so the State of Maryland asked me to work for it. I transferred and worked five years for the State of Maryland under Social Security. Working under Social Security helped me out financially, as my civil service retirement was not enough for me to live on.

My other children, Alene, was born Nov. 14, 1925; Paul S. Hutton was born Sept. 23, 1927; William H. Hutton was born April 8, 1934-all at 413 Eutaw st., New Cumberland, Pa.

Frank Z. Hutton, Jr. is a Soil Scientist employed by the S.C.S. in the State of New York. Alvadea married John Adams. She and her husband publish the U.S. Lady, a magazine designed for the armed forces of the United States. They live in Washington, D.C. Alene and her husband Enos B. Sage live on a dairy farm near Bradford, Pa. They raise purebred Ayrshire dairy cattle. There are a number of oil wells on their farm. Paul H. Hutton is an attorney, located at Republic, Washington. Paul also operates a range of beef cattle. William H. Hutton lives at Plainfield, New Jersey and is employed by the U. S. Post Office as a mail carrier.

Now that I retired, I live with my children. My main headquarters is here at Bradford, Pa. with Alene and Enos B. Gates. During the summer months, I visit my other children.

Alene’s note: Except for 1 or 2 corrections, this is just the way Dad wrote it-probably around 1968. He became ill with pancreatic cancer the summer of 1968 and died Feb. 12, 1969.    It was entered into MSWord by Fred Gilbert August 12, 2005 from a copy obtained from Frank Hutton Jr. August 11, edited by Frank Jr.



Authors note: Many of our colleagues have mentioned that to capture the life story of Frank Hutton would capture a fairly typical slice of our history in the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Not only is Frank 90 years old but he has the unique perspective of being the son of a Soil Scientist that was involved in the work not long after the first soil surveys were made in the United States. Frank Hutton, Jr. was literally born into the soil survey in that he arrived when his father was on one of the early mobile surveys in Mississippi. Tyrone Goddard and I (Fred Gilbert) visited with Frank on August 11, 2005 at his new home at Bluefield Manor in Auburn, New York. The entire story is from the information that Frank gave us during this visit. We will highlight soil scientists’ names that were mentioned during this interview and those added when Frank had a chance to review the draft.

Frank’s Recollections of His Father’s Soil Survey Experiences: Frank Jr. added to the autobiographical account of Frank Sr’s life in the mobile survey. He said, the group was small in those days and that his father worked in the field with Hugh Hammond Bennett (Father of the Soil Conservation Service), he met and likely worked some in the field with Dr. Curtis Marbut (Father of the USA Soil Survey). Other names Frank mentioned were people that were active when he was in the field and that knew his father as well as worked with the son.

An Overview of Frank’s Life: Frank was born in Mississippi in 1915 while his parents were there because of the Mobile Soil Survey. His parents quit the soil survey for awhile (see Frank Sr’s story) partly so the children could have a stable home and school environment. The place they settled was New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. Frank attended public school there and graduated from the New Cumberland High School in 1932. He entered Penn State University during the 1933-34 term and graduated from that institution in 1937.

Frank started his career with SCS and the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) March 16, 1938 reporting to a regional office in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was aware that he was working on a mobile soil survey and indeed, it was. He had instruction in soil mapping in Spartanburg from Stewart Hardesty (Frank says was an excellent Teacher). Frank was sent to Belton, South Carolina. He completed some field sheets in the Piedmont in that state. He was sent to New York to map in the Chenango River Watershed that summer (1938). Frank stated that the standard for production was 5.5 square miles per week.

During the winter of 1939, Frank was on a "winter assignment" in Allendale, later Orangeburg, South Carolina. He returned north April 15 to Hackettstown, New Jersey. It was there that he met Miss Florence Grace Mott from Red Creek, New York. They were married September 1939. (Florence passed away June 14, 2004). From this marriage came five children who have become outstanding citizens in many fields and in many geographical locations. They are Maurice Frank (1940), Marlin (1943), Cheryl (1946), Cynthia (1950), and Candace (1954).

Frank was detailed to complete soil survey of Chenango County (NY) during the summer of 1943 and 1944. It was there that he met Dr. Marlin Cline in 1943. Also, Professor Frank Howe (Cornell University) was detailed to help complete this survey which was in the Unadilla and Susquehanna River Watersheds.

Frank mentioned the following places where he was located during this mobile survey part of his career: Green, and Owego, New York, Spartanburg, Allendale, Orangeburg South Carolina; Hackettstown, New Jersey as well as working in Gloucester and Cumberland County, New Jersey. Frank mentioned that in the fall of 1941, Milt French, and Reshon Feuer were detailed to New Jersey for a winter assignment and then they all went to Norwich New York for summer work. They were back and forth between New Jersey and New York through 1944.

Frank moved to Weedsport, New York in 1945. (He bought a house for $2700 with 10% down and $25 per month - his salary was about $2000 per year). From this location, Frank completed the "modern" soil survey of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca Counties. He later mapped many places in the state on temporary detail.

On May 15, 1974, Frank retired from federal service but immediately went to work for Cornell University as a Soil Survey Party Leader in St. Lawrence County, New York which is in Northern New York requiring Frank to "batch" during the week. Frank continued this work until December, 1980 when he decided it was time to devote his expertise to fishing, gardening, and family.

Frank continues to enjoy good health though hearing and walking needs some assistance. He enjoys life one day at a time and is a most hospitable person to interview and gather this kind of story.

Some Extra Stories: Frank mentioned that early in his career in New York, both Syracuse and Cornell had a Forestry School and Agricultural School. Obviously later Syracuse kept the former and Cornell the later. This "competition" caused a few "turf battles". Irving Stafford taught at Syracuse. He later was the State Conservationist for SCS. Henry Adams also taught at Syracuse and later became a soil survey leader in the regional office in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Frank also listed the State Soil Scientist that served the program in New York before the era of the authors. C.H. (Shorty) Atkinson was first but left when reorganization caused downsizing (sound familiar?). Dr. Arnold Baur, David Gardner, and Ray Marshall followed him.

Frank Z. Hutton, Jr., Mrs. Agnes Cline, and Dr. Marlin Cline (September 20, 2005).

Authors Summary: We found this interview and writing this small article to be a nostalgic endeavor as we also had the privilege of meeting some of the pioneers in our discipline. Many similar stories could be written.



Authors note: After we visited Frank Hutton, Jr. on August 11, 2005, Frank called suggesting that we visit Dr. Marlin Cline in order to capture reminisces he might share of his life in the national and international soil survey programs. We are very much aware that we had the privilege of working in the same state with Marlin Cline. All New York Soil Scientists understand the positive impact he had on our soil survey. Dr. Cline’s disciplined supervision of the classification and mapping aspects of the program. Soil Scientist that have worked in other states as well knew Dr. Cline through his writings on specific soil classification issues as well as writings on the philosophy of soil classification and mapping. An opportunity to visit with Dr. Cline was indeed intriguing.


Frank called Dr. and Mrs. Cline were gracious in extending an invitation to come to their home for a chat. Tyrone Goddard, Frank Hutton, and Fred Gilbert drove to Ithaca for this visit on September 20, 2005. We were greeted by the Clines just before noon. Our visit could not have been more delightful. We certainly appreciated their sharing stories of their life while Marlin was serving his profession and community.

Marlin Cline’s Early Life and Family: Dr. Cline has devoted a significant amount of his time recording the lives of various Cline and related ancestor. He has published the results in several volumes. One volume contains and is entitled "Descendants of William Cline "Alum Billy" which was compiled by Marlin G. Cline and was printed December, 1999 (reprinted Sept. 2003). This lineage records a family of German origin that has been a part of this country longer than we have been a country. From this volume we gleaned the following information.

Marlin was born in Bertha, Minnesota (Todd County) December 13, 1909. He grew up on a small farm which included his brother Arvad Cline, who became a well know soil correlator in the mid-west and western states. Marlin attended a one room school which was reached by walking about 1.5 miles if the creek did not rise too much. In a one room school, Marlin learned the lessons being taught to the older students by eavesdropping on their classes. He was able to pass the state eight grade exams at age 11. He was then able to graduate high school as the class Salutatorian at age 15.

Marlin Cline’s Professional Life: Marlin farmed for six years in northern Minnesota after he finished High School. He established his residency in nearby North Dakota in order to ease tuition costs. Enrolling in North Dakota State University, he finished is Bachelor of Science Degree in 1935. One of his professors was Dr. Charles Kellogg who later became the long time Deputy for Soil Survey in the USDA-Soil Conservation Service.

After graduating from NDSU, Marlin worked for the North Dakota State Experiment Station for one year. He then signed on with the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils late in 1935. In 1936, he transferred to Hawaii. Marlin and Agnes Israelson were married as this transfer took place. Marlin worked on soil surveys in Hawaii in the cane fields through 1937. He was transferred to New Caswell, Tennessee as a Supervising Soil Scientist in the Norris Dam Area

Marlin applied for an assistantship at Cornell ($750 yearly). With this assistantship plus a larger support from Agnes working, Marlin finished his work for the PhD degree in 1938, except for the thesis He immediately went back to Tennessee with his headquarters being in Knoxville. In 1941, Marlin was sent back to Hawaii to finish collecting data and to write the soil survey report. He dictated the report into a Dictaphone. In 1942, he came to Cornell as an Instructor, a position offered by his advisor and Department Chairman Dr. Richard Bradfield. He finished his thesis and received his PhD in 1942.

Specific events in their life that Marlin and Agnes remembered for us during this visit were:

1949: Marlin was a part of team operating within Africa’s British Colonial Office to inventory agriculture in the British Colonies in Africa. This was a mission under the Marshall Plan for rehabilitating Europe. Dr. M. A. McCall, Plant Scientist, was a part of this effort.

1952: During 1952, Marlin spent much of the six months touring the United States and Canada. The purpose of the trip was to revise the Soil Classification System with various state and provisional soil scientist. This was the era that soil scientist began to discuss a new system which was the seed efforts that eventually became Soil Taxonomy as we know it today. Agnes shared a facet of this trip which we found interesting. She and the children toured with Marlin on this project. He would, commonly, meet local soil scientists for a day’s soil investigation and the family would plan to meet him in the evening or at the end of the week at a specified location, usually a specific motel. Sometime the motel selected in advance turned out to be not acceptable so making contact would become a little more difficult (A cell phone would have been appreciated!).

1954-56: Marlin, under contract between Cornell and AID, worked in the Philippines. During WWII, the Japanese had destroyed the colleges in the Philippines including the primary agricultural college for South East Asia. The contract was to re-build the college including the facilities (only eight buildings were left after the war). Agnes and the three Cline children accompanied Marlin on this trip. There were ten to twelve Americans there at any one time.

1958: Soil Scientist Marlin Cline was a member of a team that visited the Soviet Union that was to report back to the USDA on the state of agriculture in that country (The Soviets looked at our agriculture at the same time). He was a part of a team of six that included an irrigation specialist and a field crop specialist. This group visited Uzbekistan, Georgia, and areas east of the Urals. Dr. Charles Kellogg was the leader of the group.

1960’s: During this decade, Marlin went back to Africa twice with Animal Scientists from Cornell. The team was looking at animal health in Africa with graduate students from that continent. The inspected some experiment stations in Ghana. He also visited Brazil with graduate students from that country. He was there just after Brasilia was selected as the site to be the new capitol for the country. He made a general soil survey of this savannah landscape. He also established experimental sites on a high plateau area in cooperation with scientists from North Carolina State University.

ALL DURING THE YEARS AT CORNELL, Dr. Cline held positions of importance and received awards that he may have forgotten to mention during this visit. We do know that many leaders in the National Cooperative Soil Survey studied under his direction and he, in turn, worked with many of the pioneers of the science. During this visit, we did not ask about the awards and honors that were part of his life. There are a couple of items that immediately come to mind however. Besides his teaching and research responsibilities, he served as Chairman of the Department of Soils, Crops, and Atmospheric Sciences during the 1960’s. He served as President of the Soil Science Society of America early in his career.

IN CONCLUSION, we came away from our visit reminded that soil scientists (and other earth scientists) get to see more landscapes and understand more about their origins (the landscapes) than people from other walks of life. Marlin has had and continues to have a rich life. He said that he always knew that "soil scientists can’t wait to see what is on the other side of the hill". That pretty much summarized the motivation of those that make this work their life’s interest. Marlin and Agnes have many wonderful friends and admirers from Ithaca spreading out around the nation and the world. We cannot think of a better reward.


Prince William County, VA
August 14, 2005

The International Senior Softball Association World Championships were held in Prince William County, VA.   The over 70 triple A division was won by HAMILS from Montgomery County, MD.

Norman Miller, born New Years day in 1934, grew up in Brooklyn, sold popcorn and peanuts as a teenager in Old Ebotts Field, graduated from New York City College, trained at Coshocton, OH, retired as National Hydraulic Engineer in 1992, earned a GOLD MEDAL in this softball tournament.    In the 6th inning of the championship game HAMILS trailed a team from Venice, FL   3-2.   MD's lead off hitter singled, Norm (the batter above) followed with a nice single down the right field line, and moved to second base on a late throw to third.   Norm scored the go ahead run on the next batters hit, and HAMILS never relinquished the lead.   Norm proudly displays his medal below.   Norm also plays volleyball and racquetball in the winter months.


by Jane Stevermer   Taylor, SC

"On January 16th, 2005 I lost the love of my life and my best friend to cancer. To those of you who did not know of Howard's death please accept my apology for not notifying you. My life has been on a roller coaster ever since....adjusting to life without my soul mate, plus having shoulder surgery and also developing a heart problem. Seems I was keeping it all together for him and then I just fell apart. But things are looking up. I will have a procedure after Christmas to get my heart back into rhythm, and then I should be ready to move on with my life. My children, family and friends have been my rock to hold on to. Their support and caring has been my lifeline. I am a very lucky mom to have so many people care about me. Thanks to all of you. You will always be in my prayers."

Howard and I started our SCS careers together in MN in the 1950's. At one point he was a DC in the same area that I was the area engineer. After taking our different paths, we met again here in Washington in the 1970's. Our families have always been close. For years here in Virginia, Stevermer's, the Jim Newman's, Carl Thomas's, John Peterson's and other SCS families would get together at one of the homes for Thanksgiving dinner. It was always quite a treat as with all the children we would have as many as 30+ people at times. Yes, there really is an SCS/NRCS family. Those days are gone, people have moved on, but will always be remembered and treasured.


Bill Eagle - retired SCS District Conservationist


Dallas, Texas
February 22, 2005.


A veteran soil conservationist from Fairfax County, Burke, Va., with extensive experience as a leader in both the US federal government and the erosion control industry, is being honored for outstanding achievement in promoting effective erosion and sediment control practices around the world.

          John Peterson , president of KEMPS Consultants, Inc., receives the 2005 Sustained Contributor Award from the International Erosion Control Association.

          The annual award recognizes a person who has demonstrated a significant and long-term contribution to the erosion control industry through education, government involvement, research or development of technology.

          Peterson, who was raised in rural Minnesota and on a Wisconsin cherry orchard, retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service, SCS, (now the Natural Resource Conservation Service, NRCS) in 1994 as an assistant chief, capping a 40-year career with the agency. During that time he advanced soil and water conservation efforts throughout the country, in roles ranging from a conservation technician, to field civil and project engineer, to a Senior Executive Deputy Chief responsible nationally for public information, financial, personnel, contract, and information resources management; and he retired as an Assistant Chief, one of the agency’s top line officers. He was at the top level of the federal career service.

          Since then, Peterson has been an effective, visionary leader in many professional organizations. As a director of IECA from 1994 to 2002, and a three term IECA President, he helped establish programs and policies that have helped advance erosion and sediment control practices around the world. During his terms as president of the organization he forged a partnership between IECA, NRCS, and the Society for Range Management (SRM), and worked with a number of foreign embassies to develop IECA’s relationships with other countries. As a director, Peterson also chaired a number of committee and continues today to serve on several committees. He has long been a supporter of IECA’s growth internationally.

He represented IECA at the International Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO) conference in Beijing in 2002. In addition to trips to China, including one with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, he has spoken in other Asian countries as well as Australia, Spain, and India to promote more effective erosion and sediment control practices.

Peterson has played a key role in developing IECA’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter as one of the organization’s top chapters in terms of educational programs, membership and service to the industry.

He was instrumental in establishing the Certified Professional’s in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). Formed in 1982, this international program certifies the experience and educational qualifications of individuals in providing erosion and sediment control services.

Peterson also served as executive director of the National Watershed Coalition (NWC) from 1994 to 2004, and as the watershed program specialist with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). He is the original drafter of Public Law 106-472, the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Act of 2000, the first major USDA water resources legislation to be passed in over 24 years. He now operates his own natural resources, water resources, erosion and sediment control consulting firm, KEMPS Consultants, Inc., in the Washington, DC area.

The IECA, founded in 1972, is a non-profit professional organization with members in 56 countries around the world who share a common interest in the prevention and control of erosion.

          This is the 14th year of the annual IECA Environmental Excellence Awards.

   Started 8/11/05    Last updated Dec 31, 2007 by Owen Lee