Biology Professor Emeritus Martin Stoner, who taught plant pathology at Cal Poly Pomona from 1967 to 2008, has died. He was 72.
A graduate of Temple City High, Stoner received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Cal Poly Pomona in 1963. He later earned his doctorate in plant pathology with a special emphasis on mycology from Washington State University in 1967.
During his career, Stoner developed a reputation as a respected consultant and forensic expert on subjects that included wood-rotting fungi, toxic molds, mushroom poisoning and plant diseases.
He was named Outstanding Alumnus by the Cal Poly Pomona College of Science in 1982 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Soilborne Plant Pathogens Conference in 2014.
His interest in fungi and plants also led him to Hawaii, where he worked on a National Science Foundation project during the summers of 1972-1976, served as a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii, and studied native Hawaiian plants and camellias. He even developed his own cranberry-coral-colored camellia cultivar, which will soon be available for purchase at Monrovia Nursery locations.
In addition to his passion for plants and fungi, Stoner was an accomplished organist: he helped bring a Wurlitzer pipe organ to Kellogg House Pomona and had a Wurlitzer theater organ in his own home. He also had an interest in trains, antiques and collecting padlocks, and he enjoyed drawing.
Stoner did not want a funeral and asked that he be cremated and his ashes scattered off the Southern California coast.
Donations are being accepted in Stoner’s honor for two causes:
They can be sent to the Soilborne Plant Pathogens Conference, which Stoner led from 1995 to 2008, to fund student travel scholarships. The scholarships provide three graduate students with $500 to cover travel expenses associated with attending the annual conference. Checks should be made payable to Soil Fungus Conference, Tim Murray, Dept. of Plant Pathology, Room 345, Johnson Hall, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6430. Indicate “For Dr. Martin F. Stoner Student Travel Scholarships.” The conference does not have nonprofit status.
They can also be sent to the Huntington Library and Botanical Garden, which Stoner enjoyed visiting and giving tours of. The donations will be used to create a memorial for him in the garden. Checks can be sent to The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Indicate “In memory of Dr. Martin F. Stoner and for garden use only.” This is a nonprofit organization.