Leonard Francl, RIP

Those of you who both know me and read my blog know that I don't post much about the details of my personal life. I like to keep them separate. Today, I'm making an exception.

My dad, Len Francl, died July 26 of pancreatic cancer. It was painful for him and my family. I spent much of the summer in Pennsylvania to be with him while he was sick and to help out my mom as much as possible.

Today would've been his 56th birthday.

My dad was a passionate scientist. His field of study was Plant Pathology. When he died, he was Head of the Plant Pathology department at Penn State. He believed, deep in his heart, that agricultural research could make the world a better place by helping to feeding the millions of hungry people in the world. Norman Borlaug was his hero. He inspired my dad to become an agricultural researcher.

Though my father enjoyed successes in his life, he was not a rich man. Nevertheless, he wanted his legacy to live on. So he directed in his will that a memorial endowment be created at Penn State in his name for the advancement of the study of plant epidemiology (the spread of plant diseases).

The Leonard J. Francl Memorial Endowment in Plant Pathology will become perpetually self-sustaining and begin disbursing grants when it reaches $20,000. I've made it my goal to make it reach that level. I sent my first check in today, in honor of my dad's birthday.

I've also set up a website for people to learn about the endowment. Please take a look and let me know if you have any suggestions.

And if you support the goal of making the world a better place through controlling plant disease, consider a donation to Leonard's endowment: sending a check to the Pennsylvania State University, care of the Leonard J. Francl Memorial Endowment in Plant Pathology, 211 Buckhout Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802. For more details, please call (814) 865-7448.