Albert F. Vierheller


A memorial service for Albert F. Vierheller, a retired horticultural specialist for the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland and an expert on fruit growing, will be held at 7:30 tonight at Riverdale Presbyterian Church in University Park.

Mr. Vierheller, who was 98, lived in a nursing home in Lanham. He died June 5 of heart and lung ailments at Doctors Community Hospital of Prince George's County.

He retired in 1960, having joined the University of Maryland faculty in 1921 as an instructor of World War I veterans.

In 1923, he was the first person to earn a master's degree in horticulture at the university.

During his 36 years in the extension service, his demonstrations included tree pruning for apple growers, breeding thornless blackberry bushes and growing disease-resistant strawberry plants. His work with strawberries on the lower Eastern Shore made the state a leading supplier of strawberry plants.

He was secretary of the Maryland State Horticultural Society for 33 years, edited its newsletter and was active in the Peninsula Horticultural Society, which met in Salisbury.

Born in Parkersburg, W.Va., Mr. Vierheller was a 1918 graduate of West Virginia University. He served in the Army before joining the UM faculty.

He was honored on his 90th birthday by the West Virginia Horticultural Society. The Maryland chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, an honorary fraternity for extension service workers, named its scholarship fund for him. He had twice served as president of the chapter. He was also a member of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

A member of the College Park City Council in the 1950s, he was a member of the American Legion, the Mount Olivet Lodge of the Masons in Parkersburg and the York Rite.

His wife, the former Ethel Smith, died in 1972. He is survived by two nephews, William A. and Frank E. Vierheller, both of Parkersburg.

The family suggested memorial gifts to Riverdale Presbyterian Church or the Epsilon Sigma Phi scholarship fund.

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