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Vernon Marttala ’70

Vernon was a botanist at heart, writes his sister, Cathy Marttala Douthit. His dedication to the Reed Herbarium began while he was still in college, and his writing on the subject was published in the Reed College Science Journal in 1969. He earned a BA from Reed in chemistry and went on to earn an MA from the New York Botanical Garden. Back in Oregon, he worked at Citizens Photo, developed his skills in photography, and did field studies with Prof. Bert Brehm [biology 1962–93] and the Native Plant Society of Oregon. In the early ’70s, Vernon identified a new species, Romanzoffia thompsonii Marttala, in the Rogue River National Forest, and published his findings. He contributed to the Native Plant Society’s bulletin and to other publications, and was coauthor of Urbanizing Flora of Portland, Oregon, 1806–2008. “Notes on the Reed College Herbarium, Particularly Its Origin,” which he completed in 2008 during his work on the herbarium renovation, reported on the nearly 10,000 regional specimens in the collection—the oldest dating to 1848. Over the years, he also made generous financial gifts to the herbarium and to the Annual Fund. “He spent his life photographing and cataloging plant specimens and left his vast collection to Reed,” Cathy reports. “Vernon was overwhelmed with emotion when he learned his life’s work had been accepted and will be used in the future by Reed.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2015

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