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UC Cooperative Extension Weed Expert Passes

David W. Cudney, UC Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus, passed away in Riverside on March 30. He was 82.

Cudney joined UCCE in 1964 as a farm advisor for Imperial County. In 1978, he became a UCCE weed science specialist for Southern California, based at UC Riverside. While working as a specialist, he earned his Ph.D. from UC Riverside in 1989.

In 1992, Cudney and six Extension specialist colleagues from all over the western United States, published Weeds of the West, a guide book to identifying weeds in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The 11th edition, containing more than 900 color photographs showing the early growth stages, mature plants and features for positive identification of each weed, was published in 2012.

Cudney, who was active in professional organizations, served as president of the California Weed Society in 1995. He retired in 2003.

“I met Dave as a grad student at UC Davis when I started my program working on a basic study of herbicide resistance,” said Jodie Holt, director of the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens and professor emerita. “Dave’s the one who cajoled me into presenting a poster at a Weed Day and becoming active in the weed science community. Throughout my career he was a great mentor who kept me and my students connected to on-the-ground weed science.”

Jodie Holt, left, and Dave Cudney inspect perennial ryegrass for bermudagrass invasion in the 1990s.

Holt also remembered Cudney’s kindness as a friend.

“On a personal note, when our son was interested in flight simulation software, for his 14th birthday, Dave surprised him by taking us all on a flight and letting Doug fly the plane,” she said. “He was a wonderfully positive, kind and generous friend and colleague!”

Cudney is survived by his wife, Loretta Cudney, and his children Michael Cudney of Riverside; Jana Cudney of Ontario; and Lisa Zaldivar and her husband, Anthony Zaldivar, and their children Alyssa and Christopher, all of San Dimas and Anthony Zaldivar of Palm Desert; his sister, Rita Suminski and her husband, Russell Suminski of Minden, Nevada. — By Pam Kan-Rice, UCANR

Read more about Cudney’s life at  https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/riverside-ca/david-cudney-11228967.

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