Obituary: James McDonald Rominger, professor emeritus

James McDonald Rominger

James McDonald Rominger, professor emeritus of botany, died Oct. 30, 2015. He was 87.

Dr. Rominger was born May 19, 1928, in Charleston, Ill. He was the youngest of three children of Maurice and Mary McDonald Rominger. He attended grade school and high school on the campus of Eastern Illinois University and was the captain of the high school basketball team in 1945. He received his bachelor’s degree in botany from Eastern Illinois University in 1950.

Dr. Rominger served in the Illinois National Guard from 1945-1951 and in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1952-1954 where he was stationed in Tokyo with the Signal Corps. After returning to the United States, Dr. Rominger received a master’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico in 1955 and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Illinois in 1959.

Before joining the faculty at NAU in 1963, Dr. Rominger taught biology and botany at Jacksonville University in Florida, Black Hills State College in South Dakota and Western State College in Colorado. He also was an assistant basketball coach during his time at Jacksonville University.

Dr. Rominger was an enormously popular botany professor at NAU from 1963-1990 and the curator of the Deaver Herbarium. He was chosen by the students as the 1977 NAU Homecoming Dedicatee, a tradition that dates back to 1936. His former students also endowed a botany scholarship at NAU in his honor shortly after his retirement.

Dr. Rominger is survived by his wife of 63 years, Redonda; sons Dr. Eric M. Rominger of Santa Fe, N.M., McDonald E. Rominger, J.D. (Jan) of Flagstaff and James H. Rominger (Natalie) of Pinetop, Ariz.; grandchildren Zachary Rominger (Melissa), Nicole McCullough (Jay), Jackson Rominger and Ryder Rominger; and great-grandchildren Kyler Rominger, Bailey Rominger, Blake Rominger, Cody McCullough and Meilani McCullough. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Joan Gwin of Charleston, Ill., and Dorothy Morse of Phoenix.

Services for Dr. Rominger will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, at the Flagstaff Federated Community Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dr. James M. Rominger Botany Scholarship Fund/NAU Foundation (Fund Number 01332) P.O. Box 4094 Flagstaff, AZ 86011.