Cover photo for William Lee Bruckart, III's Obituary
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William Lee Bruckart, III

August 9, 1947 — January 27, 2023


William Lee Bruckart, III


William Lee Bruckart III went to be with the Lord January 27, 2023.  Bill was born August 9, 1947, in Stanford, Kentucky, the son of the late William Lee Bruckart, Jr. and Jessie Francis (Bruckart) Hay.  Bill met his college sweetheart, Margaret (Peg) Eaton Bruckart in the biology stockroom of Ashland College.  They were married May 22, 1971.
Born in Kentucky, Bill lived briefly in Columbus, OH before his family moved to Pittsburgh, PA.  He graduated from Mt. Lebanon High in 1965 before attending Ashland College in Ohio.  After obtaining his degree in Biology in 1969, Bill joined the Army and deployed to Wildflecken Germany with the 54th Engineer Battalion. 

Bill went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Cornell University studying with Dr. James Lorbeer.  His Cornell years also included intermural basketball, softball, and coaching boys’ baseball.  In addition to his scientific work, Bill was a talented artist and drew witty posters to announce weekly seminar speakers.  After working a year as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Cornell, Dr. Bruckart joined the USDA, ARS, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Frederick, Maryland in 1981. Bill was an international expert in the foreign exploration, collection, and evaluation of candidate fungi for the biological control of invasive U.S. weeds.  Dr. Bruckart traveled the world over and was well respected by his international colleagues for his groundbreaking work.

Dr. Bruckart’s research resulted in the release of two rust fungi, Puccinia carduorum and P. jaceae var. solstitialis, for classical biological control of musk thistle and yellow starthistle, respectively. Bill discovered numerous new fungal pathogens on weeds during this research process with the help of a large cadre of foreign collaborators.  He also wrote a book chapter on biological control of invasive weeds and in the spring of 2006, Bill was invited to teach a course entitled “Ecology of Invasions and Biological Control” at Hood College, as adjunct to the Environmental Biology Department. Dr. Bruckart was a dedicated mentor to many high school, college and graduate students throughout his career, inspiring them to careers in plant science. 

Dr. Bruckart was an active member of the American Phytopathological Society and the Potomac Division of APS. He served as Vice-President, President, and Immediate Past President of the Potomac Division from 2003-2005, and served on several Division Committees.  At the national level, Bill served on the Biological Control and the Regulatory and Foreign Plant Pathogens Committees.  He officially retired from USDA in 2016.
Bill was a Renaissance man in every respect; he loved music, and played classical guitar and folk music. He sang in many ensembles over the years, including the Encore Chorale.  Bill was a devoted tenor in the choir at Brook Hill UMC, where he served as a Trustee and led various committees over the years. A gentleman and a friend to all, Bill loved people indiscriminately.  His kindness, encouragement, and hugs were well known, as were his bow-ties and wingtips which he wore whenever the occasion presented itself.  Bill made many pies for his friends, lemon meringue being his specialty.  
Bill always enjoyed sports and played on church softball and basketball teams, later refereeing for Upward Sports.  A consummate baseball fan, Bill followed the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Roberto Clemente, #21 Pirates right fielder, was his all-time favorite baseball player.  
Surviving Bill are his beloved wife, Margaret (Peg) Eaton Bruckart of Frederick MD; daughter Abigail and husband Jeff Owens of Buena Vista, CO; grandsons William and Jackson; brothers Kelly Bruckart (Edie) of Franklin, PA, Robert Bruckart (Debbie) of Melbourne, FL; and brother-in-law Timothy Eaton (Vicki) of Inez, TX.  In addition to his parents, Bill was proceeded in death by his sisters, Day Boyd and Rebecca Bruckart.
A memorial service will be held at Brook Hill UMC February 10, 2023 at 11 AM.  A private internment will take place in Mentor, Ohio.  Memorial contributions may be made to Brook Hill UMC, 8946 Indian Springs Road, Frederick, MD  21702.
Arrangements are by Stauffer Funeral Home Frederick. Expressions of sympathy may be shared at

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Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, February 10, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Brook Hill United Methodist Church

8946 Indian Springs Rd, Frederick, MD 21702

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