Farming Rural 18

Richard Roland Harwood

September 18, 1937 ~ September 2, 2020 (age 82)

Obituary Image


Dr. Richard R. Harwood passed peacefully into that immortal slumber hand in hand with his beloved wife of 58 years as she uplifted him in prayer on the morning of September 2, 2020 at his home in Port Orchard, WA.


Dick was born in Manchester, New Hampshire

Graduated Nashua High School 1955

U.S. Air Force Oct. 1957 - Aug. 1961

PhD in Agronomy from Michigan State University in 1967


Among a lot of other things, Dick:

  • Served as a weather forecaster in the U.S. Air Force.
  • Worked for the Rockefeller Foundation in India, Thailand and the Philippines to significantly reduce the Asian food shortages of the 1960’s and 70’s.
  • Established the longest running organic field studies at the Rodale Press Organic Research Farm,
  • Ran international research and development aid programs in Africa and Asia for Winrock International,
  • Was the C.S. Mott Chair of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University for 14 years.
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Consulted on the Biosphere II experiment on their agriculture biome.  (Look it up.  This is cool.)


Family members include his wife, Betty Harwood; children Kim Harrington and Scott Harwood; grandchildren Cole Harrington, Ben Harwood and Joy Harwood as well as his siblings Nancy Burke, Andy Harwood and Heidi Fram.


In addition to his family, he is survived by the dozens of graduate students, hundreds of colleagues, and tens of thousands of lives he saved from starvation (this is no exaggeration), and millions more whose health and welfare are improved by his work in global agricultural development.


Dick’s life was consumed by feeding others.  From working on his grandfather’s farm as a child and lugging the less desirable produce across town to needy families, to chairing an international committee allocating millions of dollars to 13 agricultural centers involved in research and development around the world.  His history is replete with achievements, awards, and accolades.  Including winning the cross-country High School state championship (twice), PhD in plant genetics from Michigan State University, Airman of the Month in the Air Force, (along with his wife) feeding huge crowds at his home in the Philippines and later in Michigan (like 70-100 people at a time… Every month!), Arkansas Traveler award, awards from The National Academies, National Research Council, honorary doctorate from Andrews University, hundreds of publications, and awards and achievements too numerous to recount.  His home has been filled with gifts from visitors and people that he has helped throughout his life. 


But these accumulated honors are not his life.  These are the results of a brilliant mind, hard work, and his focused dedication to providing the highest quality service to his family, the people in his church and hungry people around the world.  He fed the world through research and a holistic vision, making complex systems actionable for farmers and institutions dedicated to improving agriculture and food production around the world. His home was a refuge for many and he was always willing to help with taking down trees, digging trenches, and lending a hand to anyone moving their stuff. Despite the global acclaim and recognition for his contributions he was always willing to pull on his boots and spread some cow manure. In his later years, his pride was in his family and their successes.  His life was a life of service.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard Roland Harwood, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Richard Roland Harwood
© 2022 Haven Of Rest Gig Harbor. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility