Wayne Kussow, noted soil science instructor and CALS administrator, dies at 78

Wayne Kussow, a dedicated soil scientist who brought education to students on two continents, died on Oct. 7, 2017. He was 78.

An ambassador of education and the Wisconsin Idea, Kussow taught, researched and developed curriculum for nearly four decades.

Born on Dec. 1, 1938 in Green Bay, Wis., Kussow was raised on a small dairy farm near Oconto, Wis. He enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a B.S. degree in Agriculture in 1961, M.S. in 1963 and Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry in 1966.

Wayne had two professional lives. The first involved international agriculture development and administration of the CALS international agriculture programs from 1966 to 1984. During this time, he lived for 5 years in Brazil, first participating in the creation of M.S. degrees at the federal university in Porto Alegre. On his second tour in Brazil he helped to revitalize the country’s agricultural research system and served as rice research team leader at the newly created National Rice and Bean Center in Goiania. Over the years he consulted for short periods of time in Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Dominican Republic.

In 1984, Wayne transferred full-time to the UW-Madison Department of Soil Science, where he served as coordinator of the Turf and Grounds Management Program, taught three soil science courses and developed a course in turf grass nutrition management. His research encompassed everything from golf putting green construction to turf grass species selection for athletic fields. For 6 years he measured nutrient losses in runoff water from lawns. He served on numerous task forces and committees in CALS and the university before retiring in 2005.

In 2000, the Wisconsin Turfgrass Association honored him by funding the Wayne R. Kussow Distinguished Fellowship in Turfgrass Research. To date the fellowship has supported the research of numerous graduate students.

To learn more about Kussow’s life, read the full obituary on the Cress Funeral Home website.