Cal Forestry Stalwart Paul Casamajor Dies at 92

October 24, 2011

Paul Casamajor, editor and principal author of Forestry Education at the University of California—The First 50 Years, died at his home in Walnut Creek on Sept. 25. He was 92 years old.

Casamajor was well known to students, faculty, staff and alumni at UC Berkeley’s School of Forestry, now part of the College of Natural Resources.

He completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the forestry school, and joined the staff in 1956 as a lecturer. He taught undergraduate and graduate course in forest-fire control and delivered in-service training to the U.S. Forest Service and other land-management agencies. He also worked closely with students and prospective students, doing career counseling and organizing an annual job-placement service.

In 1968, Casamajor began a 15-year tenure as the first and only assistant to the director of the statewide Agricultural Experiment Station, providing continuity through seven AES directors. He returned to UC Berkeley to serve for one more year before retiring in 1984.

“He was a very nice man, and truly dedicated to the forestry profession, to Cal, and to the mission of the AES,” said Rick Standiford, a Cooperative Extension forest-management specialist and fellow Cal Forester who knew him well.

Paul Casamajor was born March 1, 1919, in Los Angeles, Calif. In 1937, he was studying to be a petroleum engineer at Pomona College.

“When his aunt took him on pack trip into the Gila Wilderness in Arizona, he discovered his true calling as a forester and promptly transferred to the School of Forestry at Berkeley,” said his son Alan Casamajor, in an email to his father’s former colleagues.

Casamajor was a Navy veteran. During World War II he served in China and Guam, where he met Martha, a Navy flight nurse, whom he married after the war.

Following his retirement, he was active in his veterans’ group, the Sino American Cooperative Organization, a small group of Navy personnel who worked with the Chinese government during the war.

He is survived by his wife Martha and his son Alan.

– Ann Brody Guy