Craig Wiegand '55 June 21, 2023 5:25 PM updated: June 21, 2023 5:36 PM
Dr. Craig L. Wiegand
January 11, 1933 - April 13, 2023
Dr. Wiegand, 90, passed away on April 13th, 2023. He was born January 11, 1933, in Santa Rosa, TX., the sixth child of Frederick L. Wiegand and Ora C. Gaertner Wiegand.
He graduated from the Santa Rosa Public Schools in 1950, then attended Edinburg Regional Junior College (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg) where he played basketball and baseball on scholarship for two years. He then transferred to Texas A&M University where he earned his BS in 1955 and MS degree in 1956, both in agronomy.
He then pursued a PhD. at Utah State University. He completed the course work, research and dissertation by December, 1959, and began his career as a research scientist the same month at the Soil and Water Research Division (SWRD), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratory in Weslaco, TX. Dr. Wiegand spent 38 years in research and administrative positions with SWRD-ARS-USDA, all in Weslaco. He and his family also spent a year in Princeton, NJ while he attended a mid-career fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Dr. Wiegand earned numerous recognitions and awards during his career including superior service awards from ARS for each of the decades ending in 1970, 1980 and 1990, and being elected a Fellow in the American Society of Agronomy in 1978.
He authored approximately 200 scientific articles for professional journals and numerous technical progress and annual reports for ARS and NASA for whom they competed for and won research contracts.
He married Marguerite Johnson in July, 1962, in Union Springs, AL. Their daughter, Jeanne, was born in June, 1964, and their son, Stanley (Stan), was adopted in February, 1969. “Dr. Jeanne” is a board-certified pediatrician. Stan graduated from Texas A&M University in 1992. He and his wife, Shawn, live and work in Houston.
Dr. Wiegand was active in the Weslaco First United Methodist Church since 1961. He served on the administrative board, the finance and congregational care committee, helped care for the church grounds, provided flowers for the altar, was a member of the church choir for over 50 years, and attended worship services and Sunday school classes regularly.
He served his community on the Board of Directors of the Weslaco Museum for 12 years (and as chairperson for two years). He helped on all the activities of the museum. He also volunteered at the D’Arte Centre Gallery in Harlingen. In his neighborhood he worked to control the invasive grasses, weeds and trees in the alley and adjacent yards.
Activities he enjoyed prior to and during retirement included artwork, fishing, gardening and travel with family members. He began painting in the early 1970’s, took lessons (notably under Billylynn Clark Ekstrom of Weslaco for about 30 years), became proficient in the media pastels and oils. His original paintings produced numbers in the hundreds. He photographed them and made note cards and prints that were sold along with the originals at juried shows and were displayed for sale at the D’Arte Centre in Harlingen.
He fished in canals as a youngster and began bay fishing with his “brother-in-law-to-be”, Jack Wallace, while in high school. He introduced Jeanne and Stan to fishing and fished with them under and near the South Padre Island Causeway in a small aluminum boat we rented that we powered with a 25-horsepower outboard motor. In retirement he and a neighbor fished regularly out of Arroyo City for over 10 years.
In 1999 he became a certified master gardener. He raised potted plants for the Hidalgo County Master Gardeners plant sales and lectured on various topics to master-gardeners-in-training. He also enjoyed working in his own yard and having flowers and vegetables to harvest nearly year-round.
He and his wife were avid travelers. They visited much of Europe, the east and west coasts of the U.S. including the inside passage of Alaska, the Panama Canal, the West Indies, parts of Russia and more.
Although Dr. Wiegand started having health issues in 2020, he embarked on the task of writing a book to record how he saw his siblings as a child, how the immediate family lived and worked, what they did for recreation, etc.
He is survived by his wife Marguerite, his daughter Jeanne Lynn, both of Weslaco, and his son Stan and daughter-in-law Shawn of Houston; sister Twila Wallace of Dallas, several nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and nephews, first and second cousins, and two brothers-in-law, Wylie and Pete Johnson and two sisters-in-law Jeanne Yancey and Mildred Cohen and their family members of Alabama.
Dr. Wiegand was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Gil Thurmon, Roe Boyd and Col. Lynn Wilfred and their spouses; Lela Mae, Verdelle Carolyn and Lois Janet and her husband John. He was also predeceased by brothers-in-laws Ferdinand Cohen, Dr. Thomas Yancey and David (Buddy) Johnson, Jr. and his wife Betty Lou and Spencer Johnson.
The family thanks the staff and congregation of the First United Methodist Church of Weslaco, and our wonderful neighbors, friends and extended family for the prayers, help and concern during Craig’s declining years. We also thank Dr. Gabriel Gonzalez for primary care as well as the host of specialists who attended to him.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may make a memorial contribution to The First United Methodist Church of Weslaco, The Aurora House Foundation, or to a charity of your choice.
Craig’s life will be celebrated at 10:30 am on Monday, April 17th, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Weslaco, TX. Internment will be at the La Feria Cemetery on Memorial Drive following the celebration service conducted by Rev. Todd Jones. Serving as pallbearers will be Ed Ostrowski, Leon Nunn, Jim Forward, Hayden Ellis, Gene Vaughan, and Lynn Neuman. McCaleb Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.