Obituary for Lester E. Casida PhD
Lester Earl Casida, Jr., son of the late Lester Earl Casida Sr. and Ruth Barnes, died May 18, 2017 at his home in State College, Pa. He was born Aug 25, 1928 in Columbia, Missouri, but grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. He married Mardelle Baumgartner (1930-1991) in 1953. In 1993, he married Veronica Guydos who predeceased him in 2016. He is survived by two daughters, Nancy Pattishall and Sharon Reed, 4 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Earl received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin. He was a Research Scientist for Pabst Laboratories, Abbott Laboratories, and Pfizer. At Pfizer, he developed and patented the first commercial fermentation for the production of the amino acid, L-lysine. Subsequently, he was a Professor of Microbiology at the Pennsylvania State University for 36 years. He taught and did research in the fields of Industrial Microbiology and Microbial Ecology, and wrote a textbook on Industrial Microbiology that is still widely used today. In addition to his numerous scientific publications, he obtained several patents. His research resulted in developing the means for the study of bacteria and fungi directly in their natural habitats, including on Mars. He also discovered and named several new species of bacteria, including the “Nonobligate Bacterial Predators of Bacteria” that were found to control other microbial populations in nature. In addition to the above, he solved the riddle of how Leuwenhoek managed to discover the existence of bacteria over 300 years-ago without having modern scientific equipment. After retirement, he created several scholarships and professorships in food science at the Pennsylvania State University.
Earl played the violin and viola in various symphony orchestras, including 15 years with the Pennsylvania State University Symphony Orchestra. Periodically, he taught violin to music students. He was a trained violin maker and liked to rebuild antique violins. He also was a skilled photographer, using photography both as a hobby and in his research.
Services will be and at the convenience of the family.