Daniel G. Sisler, Ph.D. ’62, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics and a Cornell trustee emeritus, died November 23 in Ithaca. He was 87.
Born Sept. 25, 1929, Sisler grew up on a family farm that produced potatoes and other crops 25 miles southeast of Buffalo. As a teenager he took an interest in the family’s logging operations, selling timber to furniture makers and nearby companies like toy manufacturer Fisher-Price.
He enrolled at Purdue University with a football scholarship at the Big Ten school. After three years at Purdue, as the Cold War intensified, he took a leave of absence to enlist in the Air Force. There he became a survival and rescue specialist in an elite unit trained to parachute into mountainous areas and the Arctic to rescue pilots shot down in enemy territory. In 1952 he served in Korea before returning to the U.S. to teach survival techniques to aircraft crews.
An explosion during a training mission in March 1954 left Sisler blind in both eyes. After extensive rehabilitation in Chicago, he resumed his studies at Purdue in the summer of 1956. He recognized that his disability would impede a career in the physical sciences and so, after earning his bachelor’s degree, turned his focus to agricultural economics. After finishing his master’s degree in that field at Purdue in 1958 he joined Cornell, where his doctoral thesis on U.S. agricultural policy won him an outstanding dissertation award in 1962 from the American Agricultural Economics Association.
With many students in the early 1960s returning to school following Peace Corps service in developing countries in East Africa and Southeast Asia, Sisler shifted his research interests to economic development. For the rest of his career much of his work focused on world hunger and nutrition. Part of Sisler’s research focused on the impacts agricultural production has on the nutritional status of households in Africa and Asia.
During the final year of his doctorate in 1961 Sisler took over teaching Economics of Agricultural Geography. With Sisler at the helm, the course swelled in popularity, regularly drawing more than 600 students and requiring his lectures to be broadcast to two nearby classrooms from an auditorium at Warren Hall.
CALS Dean Emeritus David Call remarked that in addition to being a great teacher and trainer of graduate students, Sisler provided leadership to Cornell as a faculty-elected trustee and to the world at large through his service in numerous nonprofit organizations dealing with food and health. Sisler served on the Cornell Board of Trustees from 1979-84 and on the executive committee from 1982-84. He served as chairman of the general committee of the Cornell Graduate School from 1979-82, and in 1979 he also began to serve on the board of trustees at Helen Keller International, including as chairman from 1994-2006. In 2007, he earned the organization’s Spirit of Helen Keller Award for his work alleviating blindness, especially in underresourced countries and communities.
As an associate professor, Sisler won the college’s 1964 Professor of Merit Award recognizing excellence in undergraduate teaching. He accrued many other awards for his teaching, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1975; the Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, 1978; the Distinguished Educator Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, 1985; AAEA fellow in 1987 (the fellow’s statement is in the December 1987 AJAE); outstanding PhD thesis award in 1963; and the Outstanding Undergraduate teaching award in 1978. At least four of his graduate students received outstanding thesis awards from AAEA.
He is survived by his widow, Carol, and two sons. A public memorial service will be held Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. at Kendal at Ithaca.
Nataliya Plesha, 48, of Storrs Mansfield, CT, died July 21, at St. Francis Hospital, Hartford, after a sudden brief illness.
She was an instructor in the Agriculture Department at the University of Connecticut and was also a Visiting Assistant Professor in Economics at Eastern Connecticut State University. She was born Jan. 18, 1968 in Lviv, Ukraine, daughter of the late Lubomyra Smolnytska and Vasyl Plesha. In 1990, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Lviv Institute of Forestry and Wood Technology in Lviv.
In 1993, she earned a PhD from the Ukrainian State University of Forestry and Wood Technology in Lviv. In 2000, she came to the United States as a Fulbright scholar at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. In 2001, she was accepted at Yale University and graduated in 2003 with a Masters in Environmental Management. She met Ukrainian violinist Yaroslav Tereshchenko at the Ukrainian Festival in Stamford, CT in 2000. They were married in 2001.
At the University of Idaho, she earned a Masters in Statistics in 2006 and a Masters in Forest Products in 2008. After returning to Connecticut, she was awarded a Masters in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Connecticut in 2011. She was planning to defend her PhD dissertation in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Connecticut late this summer and had been invited to teach at Southern Connecticut University School of Business and Finance for the 2016-2017 academic year.
She leaves behind: her husband, Yaroslav Tereshchenko and their son, Dariy, both of Storrs Mansfield, CT, her father, Vasyl Plesha, of Lviv, Ukraine, and many cousins and friends.
Dr. Fabio R. Chaddad, 46, of Columbia, MO, passed away on Thursday, November 24, 2016 in St. Louis, MO.
Fabio was born on December 27, 1969 In São Paulo, Brazil; the son of Reynaldo F. Chaddad and Thereza R. Chaddad. His father, Reynaldo preceded him in death and his mother, Thereza, who resides in São Paulo, survives. He was married on July 4, 1996, in Asuncion, Paraguay to Maria Rodriguez-Alcalá, a native of Paraguay, who survives of the home. Other survivors include their son, Rodrigo Chaddad (17, born in Columbia, MO) of the home and two brothers, Fernando Chaddad and Fabricio Chaddad, both residing in São Paulo.
Fabio was an academic, consultant, and mentor in the global agricultural sector. He was an Associate Professor in the department of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, one the world’s top agribusiness programs. He also held a joint position at Insper, a leading center for education and research in the fields of business, economics, law and engineering in São Paulo, Brazil, where Fabio taught during summers.
His career began at ESALQ, ranked as the best agricultural college in Latin America, where he received his BS in Agronomy. Fabio earned a MS degree in Business Administration at PENSA - the University of São Paulo, an institution that shaped some of the most recognized agribusiness academic leaders in Brazil. Next, he completed his PhD in Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, where his research focused on organizational economics, primarily emphasizing on agricultural cooperatives. Co-ops are considered the most complex, but at the same time the most promising forms of organizations in the agriculture sector today. His first academic position was at Washington State University in Pullman, WA, followed by Insper Business School in São Paulo; and lastly his two current joint positions.
Fabio advised key players in the agricultural sector around the world, including: the United States, Brazil, India, Uruguay, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, South Korea, Australia, Ukraine, several other European countries, and Mozambique. Since very early in his career, he received various academic awards, including: the Edwin G. Nourse Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation at University of Missouri; the R.M. Wade Award for Excellence in Teaching at Washington State University; the Chafi Haddad Award for Excellence in Teaching at Insper Business School; and the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching at University of Missouri. Fabio’s most recent accomplishment is the book titled The Economics and Organization of Brazilian Agriculture: Recent Evolution and Productivity Gains.
Fabio was a passionate individual who lived a very intense life, constantly seeking to learn from different personalities and cultures. He enjoyed cooking, was a soccer fan, found comfort in listening to many different kinds of music, appreciated international cinema, and above all loved traveling, not just for work.
As a husband and father, Fabio will be missed the most. His struggle with cancer, although a very difficult experience for his son and wife, was also an opportunity to understand how much Fabio loved them above all. In July 2016 Fabio and Maria completed 20 years of marriage. Last year, Fabio made sure they visited Paris, where they met in 1995 while attending a conference and a study abroad program. Until the very last minute of his life, Fabio kept supporting and also mentoring his wife so that she would continue and finish her PhD, even in the midst of such a difficult challenge.
MADISON - Willard Fritz Mueller, age 91, of Madison, died December 1, 2016. He was born Jan. 23, 1925, in Ortonville, Minn., the son of Fritz and Adele (Thormaehlen) Mueller. His beloved wife of 62 years, Shirley (Liesch), died December 8, 2010. Fritz is survived by three children, Keith of Madison, Scott (Ann Pfotenhauer-Mueller) of Middleton, and Kay (David Emerson) of Fall River; and two grandchildren, Nicole and Christopher Mueller of Denver, Colorado.
In 1940 Fritz moved from Wausau to Menomonie, Wis., where he attended high school. He was elected president of his junior class and was a member of the school's stellar debate team that became state champions in 1942. In his junior year, at the age of 17, Fritz enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving until January 23, 1946, his 21st birthday. He served primarily with a Naval radar unit, Argus 21, as a Radar Technician 1st Class. Argus 21 directed Marine aircraft in the Asiatic Pacific battle areas. His airbase suffered one of the most destructive air raids of the Pacific war.
After his Naval discharge, Fritz attended the University of Wisconsin, where he received BS and MS degrees. In 1955 Fritz received a PhD degree in Economics and Law from Vanderbilt University. He became a faculty member at the University of California, Davis and University of California, Berkeley (1954-1957) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1957-1960).
During 1961-1969 Mueller served in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations in Washington, D.C., first as Chief Economist to Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of the Congress. From July 1961 until March 1968, Fritz served as Director of the Bureau of Economics and Chief Economist of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he gained a reputation as an aggressive enforcer of the antitrust laws.
In April 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Mueller Executive Director of the President's Cabinet Committee on Price Stability, equivalent to an Assistant Secretary in a cabinet department, differing only as he reported to four Cabinet members and the President. In January 1969, Mueller returned to his position at the FTC.
In October 1969, Fritz received an appointment at the University of Wisconsin as William F. Vilas Research Professor in the departments of Agricultural Economics, Economics, and Law, where he played a leading role in creating a 15-University consortium to research the competitive performance of various industries. For 14 years Fritz served as the Chairman of the group's Executive Committee and together with his friend, Prof. Bruce Marion and their graduate students, conducted many important studies, often at the request of Congressional Committees. From 1960 to 1996, Fritz was invited to testify 28 times before Congressional Committees.
For his scholarly achievements, Fritz was appointed a Fellow of the (former) American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA), which captured the essence of his economic philosophy when it said: "Friends and Adversaries agree that Mueller is unintimidated by special interests, unafraid of controversial issues, and dedicated to making the American economic system perform justly as well as economically." The Association also honored Fritz with awards for Professional Excellence in "Policy Contribution" in 1980, "Quality of Communication" in 1985, and "Quality of Research Discovery" in 1988. In 2007, Mueller was honored as one of the major 'European and American Pioneers of Industrial Organization," his field of specialization.
Fritz started his own consulting firm (Argus Economics) in 1980. With help from his son Scott, daughter Kay and Frederick Geithman, Argus Economics represented clients for the next 15 years whose rights were infringed upon by companies violating Anti-trust laws. The only case Fritz lost was when a judge overturned the jury decision.
Fritz was a founding member of the Madison chapter of "Veterans for Peace," was elected president of two economic associations, served on the board of editors of four economic journals, and authored or co-authored 16 books, two of which were translated to Japanese and republished in Japan.
A memorial service will be held to honor Fritz's life and work at the FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH OF MADISON, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, Wis., on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Visitation will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with services at 5:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be sent to the family for an establishment of a scholarship fund in Fritz's honor.