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Don Riemenschneider 1950-2021

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Well-known Lake States forest geneticist Don Riemenschneider passed away in Marshfield, Wisconsin on April 4, 2021 at the age of 70.  The following is extracted from the obituary published by the Hildebrand-Russ funeral home in Rhinelander, WI.

Don was born in Brainerd, Minnesota, May 24, 1950 to George and Lucile (Anderson) Riemenschneider. He graduated from Aurora-Hoyt Lakes High School.  Don received his BS in Forestry from the University of Minnesota in 1972. In June of that year, he married Deborah K. Martens. They lived and traveled in Germany for 2 years while Don served in the U.S. Army.  Returning to the University of Minnesota, Don received both his MS and then his Ph.D. in forest genetics in 1978. He spent 30 years as a research geneticist and Project Leader at the USFS Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Rhinelander, WI, beginning in 1978. He served 2 years as Director’s Representative. After his retirement from the USFS in 2009 he joined the University of Minnesota Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) in Duluth, MN as a research geneticist for the Hybrid Poplar Program and worked there until his passing.  He was also an invited Adjunct Professor in the Forestry Department at Iowa State University for a period of his career, Dr. Riemenschneider was an internationally known and highly respected expert on quantitative forest genetics research. His research accomplishments included important findings on conifers (pines, spruces, firs) and hybrid poplars that materially advanced scientific knowledge and economic development based on wood fiber. Dr. Riemenschneider was known for his innovation, particularly on the mathematical basis for tree breeding and genetic improvement. A highlight for him outside his science was his selection of the National Christmas Tree for the Capitol in 1999, the first National Christmas Tree to come from a U.S. Forest Service research facility. He and his wife, Debi, and daughter Lindsey, accompanied the tree to Washington, DC, and attended the unveiling ceremony.

The Poplar and Willow Council of Canada/Conseil canadien des peupliers et des saules offers its sincere condolences to the family. Don leaves behind his wife Debi, as well as 2 children, 4 grand-children and his sister.