Presentation of Remembrance: Cecil C. Still

Presented by Bruce Clarke, Ph.D.
Chair, Dept. of Plant Biology and Pathology

Photo: Cecil C. Still

Cecil C. Still, Ph.D.

Cecil Calvert Still, who died November 26, 2012, was born in Lawnside, NJ on October 26, 1931 to Clarence Harrison Still and Beatrice Wheeler Still.  He is survived by his wife Delores Tanksley Still; brothers Charles (Gloria) and Kenneth (Gloria); sister in law Verlene Still and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

He grew up in Lawnside and attended Lawnside elementary school and graduated from Haddon Heights High School.  Cecil joined the US Air Force in 1949 and was a Senior Medical Lab Specialist.  He attended Temple University in Philadelphia and received his Bachelor, and Master degrees and, in 1964, his Doctorate. He was the first to receive a doctorate degree in biology from Temple University.

Cecil received a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of So. California to study the dangers of pesticides.  He is credited with discovering an enzyme which acted in rice plants to ward off toxicity when sprayed with certain pesticides.

In 1965, he returned to NJ to join the faculty of Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Station (Cook College). In 1968, as Project Director and Assistant Research Professor of Plant Biochemistry, he studied the effect of pesticides on target and non-target plants. He located the enzyme – acylailide hydrolase- in lysosome.  The enzyme allows the plant to withstand the pesticide’s attack on it.  In 1980, Cecil was promoted to Professor of Botany at Cook College.

His interest and education had been in the Plant Sciences and his teaching and research turned to medicinal plants.  He was invited to participate in a symposium on the Pinelands at Rutgers Camden. He was asked to speak about James Still and some plants he used for medicinal purposes. He was asked by the editor of Rutgers University Press to write a book on medicinal plants from his lectures.  The manuscript expanded to include not only plants of the Pinelands but plants of New Jersey. He was inspired by James Still to write, in 1997, “Botany and Healing: Medicinal Plants of New Jersey and the Region”.

Cecil was interested and active in the Crossroads Theatre Company Guild and New Jersey Haiti Partners. He was a life member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Society.

Cecil retired from Cook College, Rutgers the State University in 2000.  After retirement, he continued his interest in plants.

[Obituary published by the Gleason Funeral Home in Somerset, NJ]