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Victor Vernon Rendig


Victor Vernon Rendig

Land Air and Water Resources, Emeritus

UC Davis

 1919 – 2006


Victor Vernon Rendig, emeritus professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, died Nov. 8, 2006. Professor Rendig was associated with UC Davis for more than 57 years, the last 18 as an emeritus professor. During his years as a professor, he taught soil plant relationships, mentored numerous graduate students, and conducted research on soil-plant and soil-plant-animal nutrition. Vic’s interest in plants and soil was fostered during his childhood when he was raised on the family farm in Albion, Wisconsin. After receiving his B.S. degree in soil science from the University of Wisconsin in 1942, he enlisted in the military and served in the Navy. Vic was stationed in the Pacific during World War II and was a navigator/bombardier in the 108th Squadron. After the war, Vic continued his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin. In 1949, he completed his Ph.D. in soil science and accepted a position as a soil chemist at UC Davis. Vic moved through the faculty ranks to professor and served as chair of the Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition from 1969 to 1973, and briefly served as chair of Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the dean’s request when the incoming chair had prior commitments.


His research into the relationships between soils and plant nutrition led to the publication of numerous journal research articles, reports, and a graduate level textbook, co-authored with H.M. Taylor, on principles of soil-plant interrelationships. He was one of world leaders who linked soil fertility to the nutritional quality of plants to animals, among them, magnesium toxicity to grazing sheep on Coast Range soils. Vic was highly regarded for his pioneering work on carbohydrate metabolism that extended our knowledge of sugar biosynthesis in plants. He was also highly recognized for his work on nitrogen and sulfur metabolism and the effects of environmental stress on toxic alkaloids in plants.


He served on many departmental and university committees, and served as chair of the Plant Physiology Graduate Group. He particularly enjoyed teaching; and was highly regarded by his students as a caring, patient, and fair-minded professor. He was a faculty advisor for decades providing valuable counsel to soil science majors. Vic also mentored many soil science and plant physiology graduate students. He and Rosemary frequently invited these students to their home. He and Rosemary rarely missed the annual meetings of the Soil Science Society of America where they met their many friends and colleagues.


He will be remembered as a kind and considerate family man, and as a charitable gentleman who valued integrity and humility.


His brother, Gordon, and his sister, Virginia, precede him in death. He was survived by his wife of 62 years, Rosemary, of Davis, who passed away in January 2007. They are both survived by two sons, Steve and his wife Sandy of Davis and Randy and his wife Karen of Camino; two granddaughters, Elena of Davis and Sara of Dixon; two grandsons, Phil of Davis and John of Clovis; as well as, nieces and nephews


Wendy K. Silk

Kenneth K. Tanji

Robert J. Zasoski