YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - Craig Rittenhouse Hibben, PhD, a longtime resident of Yorktown Heights, died May 9. He was 83.
Hibben was born May 25, 1930, in Montclair, N.J., to Samuel and Ruth Hibben. He attended Penn State University graduating with a B.S. in Horticulture. After serving in the United States Army and being discharged in 1956, he continued his education at Cornell University graduating with both a M.S. and PhD in Plant Pathology.
His career started in 1963 at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Research Center at Kitchawan, as a research plant pathologist and spanned 30 years before retiring as the chairman of research. His research also included assignments with the U.S. Forest Service, where he worked on decline problems of forest and ornamental trees in the Western U.S. He has authored several books and numerous articles in the scientific community and gardening publications.
After retirement in 1993, he became a research associate with the Daniel Smiley Research Center at Mohank Preserve. In conjunction with the American Chestnut Foundation, he spent 20 years as the orchard creator and manager of one of the state's largest and best maintained American chestnut groves, also located at Lasdon. He was among the founding members of the Taconic Men's Garden Club, a participant in the beautification and landscaping projects in downtown Yorktown Heights and on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown.
Hibben is survived by his wife, Eleanor; son, David R. Hibben of Stanley, N.C.; daughter, Julie Hibben Diehl of Woodsboro, Md.; nine grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; sister, Eleanor Waddell of Dallas, Texas; and brother, Stuart Hibben of Swarthmore, Pa. He was predeceased by his parents.
Calling hours are at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 24 at the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, followed by a reception in the fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown endowment fund at 2880 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.