Ronald Lewis Stuckey, Ph.D. was born on January 9, 1938 in Bucyrus, Crawford County, Ohio and passed away on January 11, 2022 at The Sanctuary at Tuttle Crossing in Dublin, Ohio. His parents, Leora Irene (Shuey) and Guy Ralph Stuckey predeceased him, along with his younger brother, Darwin. Several Shuey cousins survive.
Stuckey grew up on a farm in Lykens Township. He cultivated an early interest in nature and assisted with chores on the farm. He attended Baseline United Church of Christ and was confirmed there. While attending classes at the township school, he developed an interest in writing and went on to edit the school newspaper and the yearbook. He also wrote several short plays and many poems. He attended Buckeye Boys State and graduated as high school valedictorian in 1956. Stuckey learned to play the electric steel guitar during his high school years, taking lessons at the Kitchen School of Music in Tiffin, and eventually taught guitar and accordion there between 1955 and 1960.
Following graduation from high school, Stuckey attended Heidelberg College in Tiffin. He majored in Biology and worked as an assistant, graduating cum laude in May, 1960. He earned membership in Tri-Beta, the Biology Honor Society and served as president for one year. These classes enabled him to assist in the teaching of botany and zoology at Heidelberg during his senior year. After graduation, Stuckey served as the nature director at the YMCA/YWCA Camp Pittinger, south of Tiffin.
Stuckey was awarded a fellowship to attend the University of Michigan. He received an M.A. in Botany in 1962. During the summers of 1961 and 1962, he served as an assistant for the aquatic plants course at the University of Michigan's Biology Station in Pellston, Michigan. Beginning in 1963, he started work on the genus Rorippa (march cress), and traveled extensively across the western United States. He continued to receive support from the University of Michigan and taught courses in garden botany, general botany, and plant taxonomy. Stuckey received his Ph.D. in May, 1965. He was appointed to teach a field botany course at the Michigan Biology Station in the summer of 1965.
In the autumn of 1965, Dr. Stuckey was appointed to assistant professor at Botany at The Ohio State University. He would remain at Ohio State through his professional career. He taught a variety of classes including general botany, field botany, spring flora, and aquatic plants and served as curator of the Ohio State Herbarium from 1967-1976. He also taught at Stone Laboratory during the summers from 1966-1991 and served in a number of administrative positions at the lab. During his time at Ohio State, he published a number of papers in various academic journals, collaborating with many other researchers. His research included the study of many aquatic and wetland plants, as well as the history of botany. Stuckey is credited with discovering a new plant, a rush, growing on wet, sandy beaches and abandoned limestone quarries in western Lake Erie. It was named Juncus x stuckeyi (Stuckey's Rush) by one of his students, Mark Reinking.
Upon his retirement in 1991, Stuckey was appointed Emeritus Professor of Botany at Ohio State. He continued to conduct research involving invasive aquatic and wetland plants and their migration in eastern North America. He also wrote books about eminent Ohio botanists such as Edwin Lincoln Moseley and E. Lucy Braun. He published a book on the relationship between botany and geology, including the work of Jane Forsyth from Bowling Green State University. He also edited and completed a book by Milton and Mary Trautman on the birds of western Lake Erie. Stuckey continued to work until 2006, when illness forced him to stop. All told, he published 12 books and over 200 research papers. At this point, he moved to the Abbington of Arlington. In 2003, Stuckey received the Ohioana Book Award for Lost Stories, Yesterday and Today at Put-In-Bay. He was inducted into the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hall of Fame in 2010 for his achievements in botanical conversation. A room at Ohio State University's Herbarium was dedicated in June, 2019 in his honor.
Upon retirement from Ohio State, Stuckey returned to music, his former recreational interest. He attended bluegrass music shows and outdoor festivals, taking many photographs. Many of these photographs were published in the periodicals, Banjo Newsletter and Bluegrass Unlimited. Several hundred photographs and cassette tapes of musical performances were donated to the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Dr. Stuckey's funeral will be held at 1:00 P.M. on January 17, 2022, at the St. John's Baseline United Church of Christ. The Reverend Mike Ebersole of the Baseline Church will represent the clergy. Visiting hours will begin at 11:00 A.M. preceding the funeral. Burial will take place in the Rock Creek Cemetery, Edon Township, north of Melmore, Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made by check payable to The Ohio State University to either the Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory, Student Scholarship Endowment Fund, c/o Dr. Christopher Winslow, 1314 Kinnear Road, Columbus, Ohio 43212 or to The Ohio State University Herbarium, c/o Dr. John Freudenstein, Museum of Biological Diversity, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, Ohio 43212.
The Ohio State University - Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory, Student Scholarship Endowment Fund
c/o Dr. Christopher Winslow, 1314 Kinnear Road, Columbus OH 43212
The Ohio State University Herbarium
c/o Dr. John Freudenstein, Museum of Biological Diversity, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus OH 43212