Memorial Service May 24 for Craig Hibben

Craig Rittenhouse Hibben, PhD, a longtime resident of Yorktown Heights, lost his battle with cancer on May 9, 2014. He was born May 25, 1930 in Montclair, NJ, to the late Samuel and Ruth Hibben. He leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Eleanor, son David R. Hibben of Stanley, NC, daughter Julie Hibben Diehl of Woodsboro, MD, 9 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter. He is also survived by sister Eleanor Waddell of Dallas, TX and brother Stuart Hibben of Swarthmore, PA.

Craig attended Penn State University graduating with a B.S. in Horticulture. After serving his country in the United States Army and being honorably discharged in 1956, he continued his education at Cornell University graduating with both a M.S. and PhD in Plant Pathology.

Craig's career started in 1963 at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Research Center at Kitchawan, as a Research Plant Pathologist and spanned 30 years before retiring as the Chairman of Research. His work included studies of diseases in woody plants including maple decline, tree viruses, and he was paramount in the early research which identified dogwood anthracnose. His research also included assignments with the U.S. Forest Service, where he worked on decline problems of forest and ornamental trees in the Western U.S. He has authored several books and numerous articles in the scientific community and gardening publications.

After retirement in 1993, Craig became a research associate with the Daniel Smiley Research Center at Mohank Preserve where he studied forest dogwoods and surviving American chestnut strands. He was also a well-known presence at Lasdon Park and Arboretum where he had several undertakings that included dogwood cultivars, lilacs and a collection of American elms. In conjunction with the American Chestnut Foundation, he spent 20 years as the orchard creator and manager of one of the state's largest and best maintained American chestnut groves, also located at Lasdon.

Craig was among the founding members of the Taconic Men's Garden Club, an active participant in the beautification and landscaping projects in downtown Yorktown Heights and on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown.

Though his list of accomplishments is lengthy, it was his exceptional character that will forever remain in the hearts of those who knew him. His gracious hand was always extended; whether to family, friends, colleagues, or passersby admiring his work, he simply gave of himself to others.

He quietly left his mark on this earth. Through his passion for research to the beautiful gardens he cultivated, one can look anywhere and easily be reminded of Craig.

Family and friends will celebrate Craig's life on Saturday, May 24th at the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown at 2:00pm, followed by a reception in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown endowment fund at 2880 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. 

via legacy.com


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