December 12, 2001 | By: Haven Miller

Bobby Pass, chair of the University of Kentucky's entomology department for more than 30 years, is remembered by colleagues and friends as a unique and highly respected world class leader in his field.

Pass, who was 70, died Dec. 12 following complications related to heart disease.

"Without a doubt Bobby Pass was an exceptional leader for our College and for Kentucky agriculture," said Scott Smith, dean of UK's College of Agriculture. "He built one of the nation's best entomology departments and, through the course of three decades, oversaw its work with consummate skill and ability. He truly was a great and important figure in the history of our institution."

Born in 1931 in Cleveland, Alabama, Pass farmed and worked at his father's country store while attending high school. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Auburn University, and later a Ph.D. from Clemson University.

He was a faculty member in entomology at UK from 1962 until 1968 when he was promoted to department chair, a position he held until his death. He championed a holistic approach to insect pest control that is a key to today's standard of integrated pest management.

"He epitomized the land-grant university professor in terms of recognizing how the research and education and extension all come together to help Kentucky's farmers," said Oran Little, retired dean of the College of Agriculture. "His dedication to students was exemplary, and the number of undergraduates and graduate students benefitting from his guidance over the years has to be among the highest for one professor at any university."

He also encouraged the hiring of young, talented and enthusiastic scientists and urged them to pursue excellence.

"Bobby Pass was the most effective and dedicated academic administrator I have ever known," said Jack Hiatt, retired associate dean of agriculture and longtime friend. "He was exceptionally respected by students, staff, faculty colleagues, and administrators. I treasured his advice. His presence will be missed in the College of Agriculture."

Known for his sense of humor, Pass would often joke in later years that he "had the heart of a young man," a reference to the heart transplant he received in 1986. When the story of his successful operation was told to others by friends and family, he always urged them "don't make me the hero – make the Canadian who gave me the heart the hero."

His long list of honors and awards includes the Fellow Award of the Entomological Society of America, Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Kentucky Pest Control Association Outstanding Service Award, Kentucky Grassland Public Service Award, and the Outstanding Research Award from the University of Kentucky Research Foundation. He also was past president of the Entomological Society of America.

Pass is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ann, his son Kevin Pass, daughter-in-law Linda, and three grandchildren: Rachael, Sam, and Sheri.


Jack Hiatt, (859) 266-7978