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Published: Wednesday, 8/1/2007

BGSU prof had expertise on crop pests, water quality

Karl M. Schurr, 76, a retired Bowling Green State University professor of biology whose expertise on water quality and crop pests was called into service internationally, died of cancer Thursday in Clarion Hospital, Clarion, Pa.

Mr. Schurr, formerly of Wood County s Liberty Township, was on the BGSU faculty for 30 years, retiring in 1992. In retirement, he and his wife, Ruth, moved to a farm near Fisher, Pa.

He taught invertebrate zoology, marine biology, and entomology at BGSU.

He was a teacher at heart, his daughter Gretchen Lugthart said. Topics in the news, from genetic testing to abortion, were discussed in class as he aimed for students to think about how they lived their lives and how biology related to it.

Cynthia Stong, retired from the biology faculty, recalled that Mr. Schurr championed her ideas to create a marine biology laboratory and field trip.

He was a creative teacher, and he had high standards, Ms. Stong said. I just thought the world of him.

Because of his research into water resources, soil erosion, and crop losses, he was chosen by the U.S. government and the Chinese Entomological Society in 1983 to visit China and share information.

He was especially proud of his work on removing asbestos from drinking water. Then-Gov. Richard Celeste in 1984 named him to the state s Water Resources Council. He was a former chairman of the BGSU Faculty Senate and was a faculty representative to the BGSU trustees.

He was an activist off campus too. He and his wife were outspoken against efforts to dredge and straighten the Portage River through the group Save The Old Portage. In his Pennsylvania community, he organized resistance to a proposed toxic waste incinerator.

Mr. Schurr was valedictorian of his graduating class at Zanesfield High School. He was an Army veteran of the Korean War.

He received bachelor s and master s degrees from BGSU. He received a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

He was a former member of Christ United Methodist Church, Portage, Ohio.

Surviving are his wife, Ruth, whom he married July 21, 1956; son, Theodore; daughters, Sarah Ruden and Gretchen Lugthart; sister, Sarah Georgiana Jan Bidlack, and two grandchildren.

At Mr. Schurr s request, his body was donated to the University of Pittsburgh medical school.

Memorial services will be 3 p.m. Monday in Strattanville, Pa., United Methodist Church, where the family will greet friends after 2 p.m. The Robert V. Burns Funeral Home, Clarion, is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to Rivers Unlimited of Ohio or American Rivers.



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