Lowering the Flag: Dr. Saul Zalik and Dr. Peter Murphy

The University of Alberta banner is flying at half-mast from November 4-6, 2020 in remembrance of Dr. Saul Zalik & Dr. Peter Murphy.

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The University of Alberta banner is flying at half-mast from November 4-6, 2020 in remembrance of Dr. Saul Zalik (Professor Emeritus, Department of Plant Science, Faculty of ALES) and Dr. Peter Murphy (Professor Emeritus,
Department of Forestry, Faculty of ALES).

Saul Zalik, Professor Emeritus of Plant Science, passed away in his home in Edmonton, Alberta on October 26, 2020 surrounded by his family.

Saul Zalik was born in Ratcliffe, Saskatchewan on May 11, 1921 and spent his childhood, youth and early adulthood on the family farm in southern Saskatchewan. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Manitoba and a PhD in Agrucultural Sciences at Purdue University. He was a Professor of Plant Science at the University of Alberta from 1952 until he retired in 1986. Saul met his wife Sara, Professor Emeritus of Biology, in the mid 1960s and she moved from Mexico to Edmonton where she worked as a Professor of Biology at U of A from 1966 until she retired in 1996.

Saul studied barley germination and also taught agricultural statistics. He was a brilliant plant scientist endowed with outstanding intellectual capacity. This was complemented by his exceedingly gentle,soft-spoken, modest and caring personality. In his very friendly and kind style, Saul mentored a number of students many of whom went on to become successful in their own right. He was also a founding member of the University of Alberta Faculty Association.

After his retirement in 1986, Saul remained active in the university and broader community as well as in his garden, as a potter and a writer. Saul was predeceased by Sara in 2010 and is survived by his daughters Yedida and Anna, son-in law Nigel and grandchildren Francesca (Yedida) and Joshua (Anna and Nigel). He will be sorely missed by all who knew him as a friend, colleague or mentor.

Dr Murphy was foundational in establishing the forestry program and served as a professor of forestry for 23 years and continued guest lecturing in the program until his death (October 29, 2020). He was instrumental in creating the Forest Industry Lecture Series which has connected forest researchers, students and international industry twice a year since 1974.

Born in 1930, Peter started working for the Alberta Forest Service (AFS) in 1954 after a short stint in BC. A graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Peter will be remembered as 'everything forestry'.

In 1956, Peter became head of the AFS Training Branch that led the establishment of the Forestry Training School (now Hinton Training Centre) in 1960. Peter's tenure in Hinton led to the development of wildland fire, and forest and land management training core to the management of Alberta's forests. In 1973, Peter moved to the University of Alberta as a professor in the newly created forestry program. In 1975, Peter became the chair of the Forestry program at the University of Alberta; a position he held until his retirement in 1995.

As a faculty member, Peter taught and conducted research in forest policy and forest fire management. He completed an MScF at the University of Montana in 1963 and a PhD at the University of British Columbia in 1985. As Professor Emeritus, Peter continued to teach forest policy and forest history courses at the university.

On top of all of Peter's accomplishments, he was also a renowned forest historian, authoring many books, delivering hundreds of presentations, and creating a passion for Alberta's remarkable forest history. One could always be amazed at how Peter could weave a story and still deliver a 150 slide presentation in the required 30 minutes. Sometimes he went over!

Peter spent his last day tending to seedlings he had planted in St. Albert's White Spruce Forest and spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at his home in St Albert.

Donations to honour Pete's legacy are gratefully accepted to the Dr. Peter J Murphy Award in Forestry which is awarded each year to a student studying sustainable forest management.

For information about lowering the University of Alberta banner, visit the In Memoriam webpage.In Memoriam webpage.