August 20, 1922 – April 20, 2021
Born in Omaha, NE
Resided in Lincoln, NE
Francis Arthur Haskins
Francis Arthur Haskins, 98, of Lincoln passed away April 20, 2021. He was born August 20, 1922 in Omaha to Rev. William F. Haskins, a Methodist minister, and Lona (Davis) Haskins, a bookkeeper. He grew up on a farm near Republican City and had vivid memories of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.
Francis graduated from Republican City High School in 1939 and served during WWII in the 99th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, driving an ammunition truck in the Battle of the Bulge. He received Bachelor of Science (1943) and Master of Science (1948) degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his Ph.D. from Caltech (1951), and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin. While at Caltech in Pasadena, CA he met physical therapist Dorothy Masters, a native of Indianapolis, and the two were married on December 3, 1951. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary later this year.
Francis joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty in 1953 to help establish the foundation for agronomy teaching and research programs in cytogenetics, quantitative genetics and biochemical genetics. He was named George Holmes Professor of Agronomy in 1967 and retired as emeritus Professor in 1988 after thirty-five years on the faculty. A respected researcher and teacher, Francis was past president of Nebraska Academy of Sciences, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, an American Association of Agronomy Fellow, and a member of Sigma Xi Honor Society and Crop Science of America. Francis and Dorothy established the UNL Haskins Professorship in Plant Genetics. Following retirement he continued to work actively for many years as a volunteer at Bryan Hospital and with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. He was a member of the Eastridge Presbyterian Church for over 60 years, a member of the Friends of the Maxwell Arboretum at UNL, an avid fan of Nebraska football, fascinated with old tractors, and much preferred to purchase items when they were “on special”. His remarkably bright mind, gentle spirit, and sharp wit were admired and loved by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and many others.
Family members include his wife, Dorothy; daughters Ann Haskins Olney (Richard F. Olney), Omaha, Katherine Haskins, Lincoln; sons John Haskins (Linda Davidson Stephenson), Sequim, WA, William Haskins (Deborah Stout), Sacramento, CA; grandchildren Gwendolyn Olney (Scott Peters), Laurel Stephenson Haskins, Jocelyn Olney Harrison (Ross Harrison), Jack Francis Stephenson Haskins, and Jude David Olney (Rachel Salyers). He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Lona Shafer, brother William H. Haskins, and half-brother Charles Eugene Haskins.
A Memorial Service will be held outdoors Saturday, May 1 at 11:00 am at the Vine Arbor on the UNL East Campus, located immediately east of the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons (formerly the CY Thompson Library). Free parking is available at the west end of the College of Dentistry lot across the footbridge from the Vine Arbor and in adjacent faculty lots. Social distancing and masking are required.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions are suggested to the UNL Foundation-Haskins Agronomy Fund for Teaching Enhancement, Eastridge Presbyterian Church or Bryan Health Volunteer Resources.
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