Noted UC Davis rice entomologist loses battle with cancer

Larry Godfrey

UC Davis Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey talks about his latest rice water weevil trials during the 2016 California Rice Field Day at Biggs—photo courtesy UC Davis

University of California Extension entomologist Larry Godfrey, a 26-year member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, died April 18 after a battle with cancer. He was 60.

Godfrey was a fixture at the California Rice Field Day in Biggs, making annual presentations on rice pests for the past 25 years. Much of his work focused on finding new insecticides to control rice water weevil.

He also was a strong proponent of integrated pest management to reduce agriculture’s footprint on the environment.

In addition to developing IPM strategies for rice, he also did so for cotton, alfalfa, dry beans, timothy grass, melons, mint and cotton.

A native of Indiana, Godfrey became interested in insects watching farmers and homeowners battle the pests. A 4-H entomology project furthered his interest in insects.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entomology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and a doctorate from the University of Kentucky, Lexington.

Godfrey received several honors and recognitions during his career, including the Excellence in IPM Award in 2005 from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America, and the PBESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension in 2010.

A private funeral service will be held April 29 in Salem, Ind. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to pet rescue groups or groups that support young people interested in entomology or agriculture.