URBANA – Eugene "Gene" Bryson Himelick, 87, of Urbana died of congestive heart failure at 12:20 a.m. Monday (Nov. 11, 2013) at Presence Covenant Medical Center, Urbana.
Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Clark-Lindsey Village, Urbana, the Rev. Eunjoo Lee officiating, with a reception immediately following the memorial service. Entombment will be in Mount Hope Mausoleum, Champaign.
Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, Urbana, is in charge of arrangements.
Dr. Himelick was born on Feb. 11, 1926, in Summitville, Ind., the son of Virgil B. and Madalene Bryson Himelick. He married Elizabeth "Libby" A. Oyler in 1951; she survives.
Also surviving are three sons, David E. (Angelique) Himelick of Oak Park, Kirk J. (Marc Citrin) Himelick of Bluffton, S.C., and Douglas N. (Angela) Himelick of Urbana; and three grandchildren, Christina Himelick, Joshua Himelick and Elizabeth Himelick.
Dr. Himelick graduated from Summitville High School and earned a B.S. degree from Ball State University in 1950, a master's degree from Purdue University in 1952, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1959. He was a member of Gamma Sigma Delta and Sigma Xi.
He was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and was in the active Naval Reserves for 12 years.
Dr. Himelick was a research plant pathologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey for 36 years where he specialized in forest and urban tree diseases, and was a professor emeritus at the UI. He authored or coauthored over 200 publications on tree disease research including work on Dutch elm disease, sycamore anthracnose, oak wilt disease, tree wound healing, and the effect on root growth of transplanted trees.
He also wrote technical publications on the preservation and care of urban trees. Most recently he revised a previously published book on "The Practical Science of Planting Trees," coauthored by Dr. Gary Watson.
He served as the first executive director of the International Society of Arboriculture from 1969 to 1979, and was a member of the American Phytopathological Society, the Illinois Arborist Society and the International Wood Collector's Society.
Dr. Himelick was also appointed chairman of the first City of Urbana Tree Commission.
He was a very active member of the First United Methodist Church, Urbana, and was heavily involved with the Boy Scouts of America since 1958. He was scoutmaster for Troop 10 at the First United Methodist Church, Urbana, for 15 years where all three of his sons obtained the rank of Eagle Scout.
He was a Scout leader at four National and International Boy Scout Jamborees, including two held in Idaho in 1967 and 1969, one in Japan in 1971 and one in Pennsylvania in 1973.
He served as district chairman for Chief Shemauger District, Arrowhead Council from 1970-72. He earned Scouting's highest award of the Silver Beaver in 1970.
He was also a member of the Summitville Masonic Lodge for over 50 years.
Dr. Himelick and his wife Libby lived at Clark-Lindsey Village for eight years where he was very active on committees and participated in many community activities. He was instrumental in the planning and development of the Evans Hobby-Craft Center, where he shared his love of woodworking.
He also enjoyed photography, flying kites and small radio-controlled airplanes, and working on the computer.
Memorial contributions may be made to Clark-Lindsey Village Friendship Fund or the First United Methodist Church, Urbana.
Condolences may be offered online at rennerwikoffchapel.com.