A fond farewell to Jody Timer

By Bryan Hed, Andy Muza, and Michela Centinari

For this week we would like to devote our blog to Jody Timer, our grape insect pest specialist at the Lake Erie Regional Grape Research and Extension Center in North East, PA, who retired at the end of February.

Andy Muza, Bryan Hed, Denise Gardner, Jody Timer, and Michela Centinari

Jody came to work at the Penn State research center in August of 2004, filling a position long since vacated by her predecessor, Sudha Nagarkatti. With an M.S. degree in Biology and many years of experience monitoring water quality and chemistry for a company in the North East area, Jody was hired to work at the North East lab as a skilled technician for Dr. Michael Saunders of the Entomology Department at the University Park campus. From day one, Jody was a passionate researcher for grape growers in the Lake Erie Region and eventually the whole state for almost 15 years (how the time flies!). Her main research has always focused on control methods for the grape berry moth and how this knowledge can be applied to management programs. In that regard she and her technician, Mike Schultz, have spent countless hours each season monitoring berry moth populations on several local commercial farms in the Lake Erie region, and working closely with Andy Muza, Erie County extension, to provide real-time updates on pest pressure for local juice grape growers.

Bryan Hed and Jody Timer

She has also played key roles in the study of a number of invasive pests like Japanese beetle, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, Brown Marmorated Stinkbug, Spotted Wing Drosophila, and most recently, Spotted Lanternfly. One of my most memorable moments in working with Jody was my involvement in one of her experiments to taste test stink bug tainted Concord grape juice; one of the reasons I shudder at the mere mention of ‘cilantro’.

Jody’s position was mostly devoted to conducting research but she often played the part of teacher through extension presentations of science-based recommendations for grape growers at regional meetings like the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, PA; statewide meetings like the spring grape disease and insect pest workshop; and local extension meetings such as coffee pot meetings and the mid-summer chicken BBQ in the Lake Erie region. Jody is also a world traveler and, having been to many exotic places across the world, she has a unique and heightened perspective that most people only experience through TV and books. I’m sure that she is looking forward to seeing many more places with her husband, Rich, after her retirement. For those of us who worked closely with Jody over the years, she will also be remembered for her hard work ethic, devotion to her family, and her great sense of humor. Jody’s retirement will leave a large hole in our grape team and our efforts to serve the grape growers of Pennsylvania. We wish her well in her retirement.

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