Dr. Harold W. Fogle, inventor of the Rainier cherry, died last October in Takoma Park, Maryland, aged 88.
Fogle grew up in West Virginia and earned a master’s degree in horticulture from West Virginia University. In 1949, after earning his doctorate from the University of Minnesota, Fogle took a research position with Washington State University at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, and became the first stone fruit breeder there. In 1952, he made crosses from the two red cherries Bing and Van. One of the selections was the yellow-fleshed cherry that became Rainier. The variety was released in 1960.
In 1963, Fogle joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland, as an investigations leader in stone fruits and was succeeded at Prosser by Dr. Tom Toyama, who continued breeding Prunus species.
While with the USDA, Fogle developed two peach varieties, the Havis and Cullinan, according to a recent report in the Washington Post. He also helped compile and publish an inventory of all known fruit and tree nut varieties.
He received the American Pomological Society’s Wilder Medal in 1978 for his peach, apricot, and cherry breeding work.
In 1998, the USDA released the Bluebyrd plum, the result of crosses he had made at Beltsville 30 years earlier, the Washington Post reported.