Southern African Society for Plant Pathology

By: Saspp  11-11-2011
Keywords: Agriculture, Plant Pathology

Gert Pauer was born in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo on 5 August 1927. After matriculating at the Brits Agricultural School in 1945 he enrolled at the University of Pretoria where he completed the B.Sc. (Agric) and M.Sc. (Agric) degrees in 1950 and 1954, respectively. In 1966 he obtained a D.Sc. (Agric) from the University of the Free State. His post-graduate research dealt with virus diseases of potatoes and the taxonomy of bacterial plant pathogens. Gert started his career as a microbiologist with the South African Buro of Standards in 1951. From 1954 to 1956 he farmed in the Soutpansberg area before taking a position as plant pathologist and part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria. In 1960 he was appointed as senior lecturer in the Department of Plant Protection at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. In 1968 the Department of Plant Pathology was established and Gert was promoted to professor and head of department, a position he held until his retirement in 1987. Gert and his wife Marguerite then settled in Empangeni where he joined the University of Zululand as head of the Department of Agriculture. When Gert finally retired from academia in 1991, he bought a restaurant franchise in Empangeni, being of the opinion that one must always be willing to explore new horizons and challenges.

Gert was an active member of several scientific societies. As a founder member of the South African Society for Microbiology and Plant Pathology, from which the SASPP devolved, he played an important part in the development of our science in South Africa. He served the SASMPP as Secretary (1965) and President (1981-1982) and was elected as a Fellow in 1981. Gert worked on peanut diseases, in particular leaf spots, and collaborated closely with Texas A&M University. In 1976 he spent three months in the USA to work on these diseases as a delegate of the Department of Agriculture.

As a keen golfer Gert enjoyed sport. He also had a lively interest in politics, international affairs, philosophy and religion. Gert Pauer passed away on 7 July 2009. He is survived by his wife and three children and will be remembered as a gentleman and one of the pioneers of Plant Pathology in South Africa.

Keywords: Agriculture, Plant Pathology