Former UA prof, a lifelong botanist, dies at 88

By Jennifer Quilici
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 11, 1996

Leland Burkhart, a former plant sciences professor at the UA and developer of the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the Reid Park Rose Gardens, died Sunday. He was 88.

Born in Perrysburg, Ohio, Burkhart earned agriculture and plant science degrees from Ohio State University, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Chicago.

After spending much of his youth in Ohio, Burkhart moved to Tucson in 1946 and served on the UA College of Agriculture faculty. He was the Horticulture Department head from 1949 to 1964, and retired from the University of Arizona in 1975. Burkhart also ta ught at Rutgers University and North Carolina State University.

During his tenure at the university, he expanded the curriculum to include landscape architecture and he became known as an expert in the local citrus industry. He also wrote numerous books on agricultural techniques, tropical horticulture and soil and cr op sciences.

As president of the Tucson Botanical Gardens, he was essential to its creation in 1969. Burkhart and his wife Dorothy gave tours of the biblical plants within the gardens every Palm Sunday.

Burkhart was in charge of developing some small gardens at the UA and served as president of the Rose Society of Tucson.

He was a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church for more than 50 years.

He is survived by his wife, three sons; Bruce, of Hacienda Heights, Calif.; Ford, journalism professor at the UA; William, of Boulder, Colo.; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service was held for Burkhart yesterday at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 400 E. University Blvd.