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Phil Spear, Former NPMA Technical Director, Passes Away

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Spear was technical director for NPCA (now NPMA) from 1954 to 1980, providing the association and its members with important technical resources. He died on Aug. 28, at 98.

Brad Harbison | September 3, 2013

****updated on 9/3/13 at 2:15 p.m. (EST)*****
FAIRFAX, Va. — Phil Spear, technical director for National Pest Control Association (now National Pest Management Association) from 1954 to 1980, passed away on Aug. 28, at Shands Hospital, in Gainesville, Fla. He was 98.

Spear was one of the pest control industry’s pioneering educators, instrumental in creating many of the industry’s standard technical resources during his 26-year tenure at NPCA.

A native of Massachusetts, in 1937 Spear earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology from the then Massachusetts State College. Before and after WWII he worked in New England and California in termite control.

When Spear arrived at NPCA in 1954, the pest control industry had a great need for information about safe and effective use of the many new pesticides that had been developed in wartime.  He gathered and communicated to practical workers in the field the useful results of research. Communication was accomplished in workshops throughout the country and by publication of scores of technical releases. He alerted state, federal and commercial workers to the information needs of the industry and organized funding to support research. These activities led to opportunities to work with numerous panels and committees of national and international bodies. 

Dr. Gary Bennett, professor and coordinator, Center for Urban Industrial Technology, Purdue University, became acquainted with Spear while he was working for his family’s pest control company, Bennett Pest Control, Lake Charles, La.

“I could hardly wait to get the monthly technical bulletins prepared by Phil that were so useful to our company, and to me as a budding entomologist,” Bennett recalled.  “Phil was widely known within the industry, and was the main reason many companies joined NPMA.  He was always ready and willing to help, at a moment’s notice, with any problem we had.  He even had my Dad bring me to an NPMA Convention in New Orleans, so that he could meet me, show me around, and become even more of a mentor than he already was through correspondence.”

Bennett said Spear remained a close friend and mentor throughout his career, introducing him to Dr. Charles Wright (North Carolina State University) and Dr. John Osmun (Purdue University).  “Dr. Spear was truly a pioneering force in our industry, and a gentleman and a scholar,” he said.

In 1972, Spear became senior director of research for the association, and he also served brief terms as acting executive secretary, before retiring in 1980.

Donations may be made to: UUF Foundation, 4225 NW 34th St., Gainesville, FL 32605.

Additional source: Ratcatcher's Child

 

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