Pamela M. Ludford

Pamela M. Ludford (nee Sutcliffe) died at 4:30 am on Sunday, July 22 2001 of complications arising from lung cancer.

Pam was born on October 19, 1928 in London, England. She was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's School, and then went to Westfield College at London University where she obtained a first class honors degree in botany in 1950.


On August 19, 1950, she married Geoffrey S. S. Ludford (deceased 1986). They came to the United States where she supported him in his academic career as a Professor of applied mathematics. Pam cared for her husband in his final months of life and remained connected to the hospice community for 15 years.

While raising two daughters, Jennifer and Susan, Pam decided to pursue graduate studies with Professor F. C. Steward, one of the most eminent plant physiologists of his time and known for the rigor with which he trained students. She received her Ph.D. in 1971 from Cornell University, where she remained as an Assistant (1977) then Associate (1983) Professor in the Vegetable Crops department until she retired in 1995. She continued to be active in her profession after retirement, spending many hours in her office and participating in departmental events.

Her faculty career was devoted to research and teaching in the post harvest physiology of vegetables, with a special interest in the role of plant hormones. She was widely recognized as an authority on this subject, as evidenced by her invitations to author book chapters and perform editorial work. 

For many years Dr. Ludford was the Graduate Faculty Representative for Vegetable Crops, in which capacity she went to great lengths to nurture and counsel graduate students. Dr. Ludford was the first woman to be appointed to the faculty in her department, and one of the first women in any of the production agriculture departments. As such she served as a role model for female graduate students and faculty, always ready with words of encouragement and acts of kindness.

Pam loved the color purple, balloons, flowers, small children, and her many wonderful friends. She will be remembered as a courageous, generous and loving woman with an undying joie de vivre.

She is survived by her sister Gillian Bell of Wallingford England and two daughters: Jennifer Messing Ludford, married to Seth J. Messing, with children Nicholas, Anna and Timothy Messing; and Susan B. Davidson, married to Charles J. Davidson, with children Jeremy and Christopher.

Memorial donations may be made to Hospicare of Tompkins County. A memorial service is planned for 3 pm on August 12, 2001 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ithaca, NY.

Susan Davidson (