In Memoriam: Zoology Professor Emeritus Milton Potash
- By Craig E Wells
Milton "Milt" Potash, 86, of 33 Holly Lane, Burlington, died on April 17, 2011, after an extended illness. Milt was born in New York City, Nov. 23, 1924, to George and Lillian Potash. His family moved to Louisville, Ky., when Milt was eight. His education at the University of Louisville was interrupted by a threeyear stint in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He was trained as a corpsman (medic) and served with the 1st Marine Division in the South Pacific, on Okinawa and, following the war, in north China. Upon discharge, he completed his B.S. degree in Biology, received an M.S. degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from Cornell University, with a concentration in freshwater ecology. While at Indiana, Milt met his wife-to-be, Eleanor "Ellie" Bloom. They were married in 1949. Ellie predeceased him in 1999, after 50 years of marriage.
In 1951, he joined the Zoology Department at the University of Vermont, rising through the ranks from instructor to full professor and serving as Department Chair. He taught for 39 years, retiring in 1990. He especially enjoyed student interactions and for a number of years had, arguably, the greatest number of advisees of any faculty member in the Arts & Sciences College. He also served on the Premedical /Predental Advisory Committee for over 20 years, most as Committee Chair. In 1981, he was honored by the UVM Alumni Association, becoming the eighth recipient of the prestigious Dean George Kidder Award as "Professor of the Year" at UVM. Following his retirement, Milt enrolled as an undergraduate at UVM, receiving an A.B. degree in Studio Art in 1993. Milt and a colleague, Dr. E. Bennett Henson, carried out a research program on Lake Champlain for many years. Work concentrated on identifying physical and chemical characteristics of regions of the lake and establishing base-line conditions. They were the first to promote Lake Champlain as the 6th Great Lake, and presented the results of their studies at annual meetings of the Int'l Association of Great Lakes Research. Their joint studies resulted in over 25 publications in professional journals. Milt served two three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the American Water Resources Association and completed a five-year term as editor of its refereed journal. He was also elected a Fellow of the Association.
Milt was active for many years in the Vermont Academy of Arts & Sciences, serving on its Board of Directors and as President, and was elected a Fellow of the Academy. He served on the Boards of Directors of the VT Natural Resources Council and the Lake Champlain Committee, as well as the Boards of Burlington City Arts, Retired Citizen'sVolunteer Program and Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.
He is survived by two sons, David (EJ) of Nashville, Tenn., and Jeffrey (Janie) of Burlington; a daughter, Wendy (Rick) of Mercer Island, Wash.; six grand- children, Dru Bredesen, Casey Potash, Julia Potash, Alex Potash, Jake Rubin, and Emily Rubin; and a new great-granddaughter, Parker Bredesen. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at 2 p.m. at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, with Rabbi Joshua Chasan officiating. Interment will follow in Hebrew Holy Society Cemetery, Patchen Road, South Burlington. Preparation rites were by the Jewish Sacred Society. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ellie and Milt Potash Endowment Fund, Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, 188 No. Prospect St., Burlington, VT 05401. Arrangements are by Boucher and Pritchard Funeral Directors.