Nell Mondy was born in Pocahontas, Arkansas and received B.S. and B.A. degrees in chemistry (summa cum laude) from Ouachita Baptist University (1943), the M.S. degree in biochemistry from Texas University (1945) and the Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University (1953). In 1945 Nell accepted a position as Research Associate in Biochemistry at Cornell University and later became Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Associated Colleges of Upper New York, Sampson, NY. She returned to Cornell in 1948 where she taught food chemistry before pursuing study toward the doctorate.
During her graduate study (1951-53), she was awarded the Cornell Sigma Xi Fellowship. After receiving the Ph.D. she again joined the Cornell faculty where she has continued until the present. During sabbatical leaves from Cornell she served as Supervisory Food Specialist for U.S. Department of Agriculture, Consultant for the R.T. French Co., Visiting Professor of Food and Nutrition at Florida State University and Consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists in 1968, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1982. She is a member of seven honorary societies including Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi.
Her specialization is in the biochemical and nutritional aspects of fresh and processed potatoes, especially as it relates to human nutrition and food quality. Although her early research dealt with the Vitamin B6 Group, Vitamin B12, choline oxidation, and the availability of iron for human nutrition, her work on potatoes has held priority in recent years. She has served as a consultant in human nutrition and food both in the United States and abroad. Presently Nell is National President of Graduate Women in Science, a research organization including both men and women from the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences. She is the author of more than 80 publications many of which deal with potatoes and is also author of the book entitled, Experimental Food Chemistry.
In 1960 she was one of seven from the United States selected to receive the NATO Award to participate in the seminar RECENT ADVANCES IN FOOD SCIENCE in Glasgow, Scotland at which time she helped to plan the first International Congress of Food Science and Technology. She has received distinguished awards from the National Science Foundation for University Teachers of Chemistry (1959); two Danforth awards for teaching, and the Higher Education Act Award from Cornell University in 1967. Nell also received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Ouachita Baptist University in 1960.
She has visited, presented papers, and/or served as a consultant for food companies, research institutes and universities in 22 different countries including Japan, Korea, India, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. She is a member of 15 professional associations and her biography has been listed in more than 25 books including American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in America, International Who “s Who of Intellectuals, and World Who’s Who of Women.
Since childhood Nell has been interested in potatoes, for she helped her mother grow Irish Cobblers in their garden and store them in an underground cellar built by her grandfather. Her love for potatoes has continued since that time, and she considers herself fortunate to have been associated at Cornell with other “potato lovers” in the departments of Plant Pathology, Plant Breeding, Vegetable Crops and Agricultural Engineering. Nell has served on the New York State Potato Advisory Council and has attended and contributed to The Potato Association of America meetings regularly. She served as Chairman of the Site Selection Committee for many years and has published in the PAA Journal. She is a charter member of the Physiology Committee and is currently Secretary of the Utilization Committee. Also she has been a member and contributed to the meetings of the European Association for Potato Research. Presently she holds a position in two colleges at Cornell–the College of Agriculture and the College of Human Ecology where she is a Professor in the Division of Nutritional Science; the Institute of Food Sciences and the Institute of Toxicology.
Robert Thornton, Nominator
HENRY UIHLEIN II
Henry Uihlein II, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 3, 1896, is a member of the family that owned and operated the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company for over 100 years.
Soon after Henry was born, his family moved to New York City, where his father continued the family tradition of engaging in the brewery business. He attended public schools and then the Horace Mann Preparatory School in New York City, a part of Teachers College, which was affiliated with Columbia University. As a youth he was active in athletics, participating in baseball, ice hockey and track.
Henry aspired to a career in medicine and with that in mind enrolled at Cornell University. However, misfortune struck. He became seriously ill with tuberculosis and his father was advised that it was unlikely that Henry would live more than six months. So in 1916, in an effort to regain his health, Henry went to Lake Placid, New York, which was famous for its health sanatoria. There he gradually regained his health and as soon as he was able, resumed his interest in amateur athletics. He focused his energies and support behind speed skating, bringing national and international meets to the tiny Adirondack village. His efforts to promote winter sports in Lake Placid continued through the ’20’s, in spite of being involved in a very serious auto accident. Mr. Uihlein played a significant role in bringing the winter Olympics to Lake Placid in 1932.
In 1927, Mr. Uihlein married Mildred Anthony, whom he had met two years earlier at the Lake Placid Club. They recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. After a number of years actively engaged in business in New York City, the Uihleins returned to Lake Placid in 1940, bought Heaven Hill Farm and directed their energies toward farming. Their first Jersey cattle were acquired in 1942, the beginning of a champion show herd which eventually numbered 250 head. Their sire, Brownys Masterman Jester, bred at Heaven Hill Farm, set an unprecedented record by winning five Grand Championships at the National Jersey Show. Seven head of their cattle achieved “Hall of Fame” records. Their love of Jersey cattle continues today and Heaven Hill enjoys an international reputation for their premier breeding stock.
Concurrently with the development of their Jersey herd, the Uihtein’s entered the seed potato business in order to help the war effort. Their annual production eventually reached 30,000 bushels of top quality certified seed. In 1961 Cornell University approached the Uihleins seeking to lease or purchase their Tableland Farm to establish an official seed potato farm for New York State. The Uihleins countered with an extraordinary offer–they had decided to give Cornell approximately 300 acres of prime potato land. This, along with subsequent gifts of land, became known as the Uihlein Farm of Cornell University.
In 1975 Cornell again approached Mr. Uihlein seeking his support for building a laboratory and greenhouse on the Cornell-Uihlein Farm for the specific purpose of producing pathogen-free potato seed stocks by meristem and shoot tip culture. Having always maintained a keen interest in all aspects of the research program and the production of disease-free seed stocks, Mr. Uihlein very generously agreed to fund this facility. Ground was broken in 1977; the Henry Uihlein II Laboratory was dedicated in June of 1979. Maple syrup production on Heaven Hill was an annual affair since the 1940’s, Heaven Hill having many thousands of mature sugar maples. In 1964 Henry Uihlein conceived the idea of starting a demonstration and research project under the direction of Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources for the production of maple syrup. In addition to funding the construction of the sugar house, equipment and deeding 165 acres of maple forest to Cornell, he has continued to subsidize this project.
The Uihlein’s, in a further demonstration of community spirit, donated 35 acres of land and partial funding for a $4,500,000 nursing home for the aged and chronically ill. This facility, known as the Uihlein Mercy Center, is widely known for its beauty and excellent care. Among his many other activities and interests, Mr. Uihlein served as a Director of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. for 32 years, then as Director Emeritus and Lifetime Honorary Director. He has also served as Director of the Jos. Schlitz Foundation and as a trustee and president of the Lake Placid Educational Foundation. Mr. Uihlein was honored by the American Jersey Cattle Club in 1968 and was designated “Master Breeder of the Year.” He was on the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1980 Winter Olympics and has been active in numerous other organizations.
Very few individuals outside the research community have contributed so much to support the development of a basic aspect of the potato industry. Mr. Uihlein’s contributions of land and buildings have made possible a foundation seed farm of unique quality. For over twenty years, scientists, farmers, and consumers in New York State and beyond have benefitted from his personal interest in and active support for research to produce disease-free potatoes.
For his vision and enthusiasm, his high level of interest and unstinting generosity to seed potato research, it is most appropriate that we honor Mr. Henry Uihlein II with an Honorary Life Membership in The Potato Association of America.
Edward D. Jones, Nominator
FELIX M. ZELOSKI
Felix M. Zeloski was born April 16, 1898 in Antigo, Wisconsin. He completed the 8th grade at Hillside School in Antigo in 1912. As a young adult he journeyed to Chicago and was employed at the International Harvester Tractor Works doing piece work. After carefully saving money for four years he returned to Antigo and began raising potatoes. That was back in 1921 when he used horses to help grow his crop. He bought his first tractor iri’ 1923. About that time he began selling graded potatoes, something quite new to the industry. He grew potatoes as a winter crop at Brownsville, Texas in 1927 and 1928. Mr. Zeloski was one of the first Wisconsin potato growers to dig open pit reservoirs to secure water for irrigation. He also grew potatoes as a winter crop in Florida in 1938 and 1939. Washing potatoes for market, another new practice in Wisconsin at the time, began at the Zeloski home farm in 1938.
Mr. Zeloski has always been known as an early adopter and innovator in regard to new research and improved production practices. He began growing certified seed potatoes in 1925 and has continued as a leading producer of Wisconsin certified seed potatoes for the past 50 plus years. He is still active on a daily basis in managing his certified seed farm at Eagle River, Wisconsin.
Mr. Zeloski has had a long-time interest in new varieties of potatoes. Testing and evaluating newer releases has been a regular annual practice on the Zeloski farm for many years. He has always shown a keen insight in recognizing the merits of advanced agricultural developments and putting them into use on his farms.
In addition to potato growing in northern Wisconsin, Mr. Zeloski has been a leading producer of carrots, potatoes, mint oil and corn. This rather extensive operation is jointly managed with his son Dennis. Another of Mr. Zeloski’s contributions over the many years included helping set up State and Federal Grade Standards for potatoes. He is one of the original charter members of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association formed in 1948. Here he served as a director. He has also served as a delegate to the National Potato Council and has been a long-time member of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. He has also served on the University of Wisconsin Horticulture Research Advisory Committee in the 1960’s. Mr. Zeloski has been a member of The Potato Association of America for the past 30 years.
While having limited opportunity to pursue formal education, Mr. Zeloski has acquired considerable informal education via extension meetings, seminars, conferences and industry conventions over the past 50 years. This is a practice he still pursues at a very active 85 years of age.
For his accomplishments and contributions to growing better seed and table stock potatoes and his long-time interest in a better potato growing industry I am pleased to present Felix Zeloski for Honorary Life Membership in The Potato Association of America.
Melvin Rominsky, Nominator
FELIX ZELOSKI (April 16, 1898 to September 23, 1997)
Felix Zeloski, a lifetime Antigo resident and pioneer of the potato industry in Wisconsin and nationwide, died Wednesday, September 23, at the age of 89. Felix Zeloski was born April 16, i898, and after growing up in the Antigo area, began raising potatoes in 1921. In 1925, Felix began raising certified seed potatoes in Wisconsin and had been a leader in that industry ever since.
Felix Zeloski had been credited with many advancements in the potato industry during his lifetime. It began during the “horse age” of the 1920’s, when Felix purchased his first, and one of the industry’s first, tractors, a Farmall tricycle tractor. It was a machine he had said, “All the other manufacturers like John Deere laughed at but they fell in line later.” He was also credited with buying the area’s first two-row planter and the first two-row digger. In 1930, he became one of the first growers to take advantage of Wisconsin’s ample water supply, digging the area’s first irrigation ditch, and immediately saying, “I wouldn’t want to raise another potato without irrigation.” He also became an innovator in 1938, when he began washing potatoes for marketing reasons.
While Felix Zeloski made numerous contributions to the industry, some of the more notable ones include helping to set up current state and federal grade standards for potatoes. He was an original charter member of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association formed in 1948, and served as a director for the group for several years. Felix also served as a delegate to the National Potato Council, and was a long time member of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
Felix also served on the Horticultural Research Advisory Committee of the University of Wisconsin, and was made an Honorary Lifetime member of The Potato Association of America (PAA) in 1983. In addition to the potato growing operation in northern Wisconsin, and Zeloski Farm Supply, Felix was also involved in a vegetable operation in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, producing carrots, potatoes, mint oil, and corn. The operation is managed by his son, Dennis.
Memorials of Felix Zeloski have been established for the Heart Fund, and for the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association. Contributions may be sent to Dennis Zeloski at P.O. Box 570, Lake Mills, WI 53551.