18 November 2022

Dr. Arnold Hara

PEPS emeritus professor helped safeguard tropical floriculture

Dr. Arnold Hara

by Koon-Hui Wang

To our great sadness, Dr. Arnold Hara passed away on October 20. Dr. Hara, born in 1950, attended Hilo High School and received a BS and MS in Entomology from the University of Hawaiʻi, and his PhD from the University of California at Davis under the direction of Dr. Harry Kaya.

Dr. Hara was hired as faculty in Entomology, currently the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. He was stationed at the Komohana Research and Extension Center in Hilo as an Ornamental Entomologist and Extension Specialist. His research focused on the development of pest management programs for tropical floricultural crops, especially pre- and post-harvest control treatments in a systems approach to quarantine security.

Besides his arthropod pest management programs, Dr. Hara’s other research accomplishments include the development of heat treatments to control quarantine pests, such as coqui frog and plant-parasitic nematodes. His elite research team worked closely with the nursery industry and a volcanic cinder provider to develop a steam treatment to disinfest truckloads of cinders infested by reniform nematodes, which safeguarded the Hawaiʻi foliage industry, allowing shipments to California to continue.

Along with his innovation of a mobile hot shower freight container to disinfest nursery products of coqui frogs, slugs, ants, and other quarantine pests, Dr. Hara’s team won multiple honors, including an Extension award from the University of Hawaiʻi, Governor’s Award as State Team of the Year, CTAHR Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, and being named to the MIDPAC Hall of Fame of the Hawaiʻi Export Nursery Association.

Dr. Hara retired from CTAHR in 2015 and was awarded emeritus status by the Board of Regents. In his retirement, he continued to be an active member of Hilo Meishoin and the Hawaiian Entomological Society. He led Hawaiʻi in the Western Region IPM program as a coordinator for many years, and was a mentor to many students, a collaborative colleague to faculty, and respected within the community. He is survived by his wife Myrtle, daughters Kendra (Jason) Botelho and Krislyn Hara, sister Lilian (Carl) Murakami, his grandchildren, and many relatives in Hilo, Honolulu, and San Francisco.

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