The agriculture community is mourning the loss of a long-time leader. Dr. John R. Abernathy of Lubbock, 73, passed away Sept. 18, 2018.
A celebration of life service is at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, at the Combest Family Funeral Home Chapel, 2210 Broadway, in Lubbock. Burial will follow at Resthaven Memorial Park.
A native of Altus, Oklahoma, Abernathy received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University. He later received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Illinois.
Abernathy joined the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station staff in June 1973 as professor and project leader of weed research. He continued in that capacity until named resident director of research of the Lubbock Center in December 1984. Abernathy also served a brief time as interim resident director of research at the Extension Center in Vernon.
He was dean of the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) from 1997 to 2003.
Abernathy received numerous honors for his research. He won the first Outstanding Young Weed Scientist Award from the Southern Weed Science Society in 1980. The United States Department of Agriculture honored him with the Group Award for Excellence as a member of the AG-Complex for Advanced Research and Extension Systems (AG-CARES) team in 1994.
He also received the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturist Award from the Texas Tech College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) and the West Texas Ag Chemicals Institute Award for "Outstanding Contributions to West Texas Agriculture."
Abernathy also provided insightful thought and expertise to numerous boards and committees. He served as an agricultural representative to the Llano Estacado Regional Water Planning Group (“Region O”) from 1998 to 2003. In recent years, he had served as a member of the HPWD research and demonstration funding review committee.
Survivors include his wife, Cindy; two daughters; two siblings; and five grandchildren.