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Erich E. Steiner
LSA Minutes

Erich E. Steiner

Erich Ernst Steiner, Professor Emeritus of Biology died August 28, at his home. He was born on April 9, 1919 in Thun Switzerland. His family immigrated to the U.S. in 1922 and Erich was raised in a suburb of Washington, D.C. In 1944 he married Dorothy White of Roanoke, VA. During World War II he served initially in the Army Signal Corps and later in the Medical Service Corps. He was discharged as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1946. Following his military service he was employed for aperiod as a vocational counselor for the Veterans Administration before resuming an academic career.

Professor Steiner received his baccalaureate degree in Botany from the University of Michigan in 1940, and his Ph.D. in Genetics from Indiana University in 1950. Following completion of his doctoral work, he accepted a position on the faculty of the Department of Botany at the University of Michigan. During his tenure at Michigan he served as Departmental Chairman (1968-1971), as Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1971-77, 1989-91), as a member of the Editorial Board of the U of M Press, and on numerous academic committees.

He was an active and respected teacher who introduced one of the first audio-tutorial teaching laboratories in botany. As a researcher, he was recognized internationally for his work on the evolutionary genetics of Oenothera (Evening Primrose). He was invited and served as a guest professor at the University of Cologne, Germany (1960-61), the University of California at Davis (1967) and the University of Dusseldorf, Germany (1982, 1984). Dr. Steiner was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi and numberous other professional societies (Botanical Society of America, Genetics Society of America, American Society of Naturalists, Society for the Study of Evolution, Economic Botany Society, American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, American Horticultural Society, American Institute of Biological Science, Michigan Botanical Club, and Torrey Botanical Club). He served as Secretary of the Michigan Academy of Science, chair of the teaching section of the Botanical Society of America, member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Botanical Club, member of the Editorial Board of the Plant Society Bulletin, founding member of the Friends of the Nichols Arboretum, and as a consultant and examiner to the AIBS Office of Biology Education and the GRE Advanced Biology Test respectively.

Professor Steiner had a continuing interest in the development and utilization of botanical gardens and arbdeta as a research for teaching, research and public outreach. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. His avid interest in horticulture and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens continued throughout his retirement.

Professor Steiner is survived by his wife, Dottie, his three sons and their wives, and seven grandchildren.