Remembering Deb Golino

Deborah Golino, the Director of UC Davis’ Foundation Plant Services (FPS) until her retirement in 2021, passed away on December 23, 2023. She was 70. Deborah was a long-time NGRA Board member. Later, she would become one of our first three Science Advisory Council members, appointed in 2020. She was ever an ally, advisor and friend to the grape and wine industry.

Photo courtesy of UC Davis 

A tribute written by her successor at FPS, Maher Al Rwahnih, noted the tremendous advances Deborah oversaw there. In 1992, the original Foundation Plant Materials Service had eight staff members. After Deborah was named its first director in 1994, the agency grew. At the time of her retirement, Maher wrote, “FPS has 45 employees and maintains over 100 acres of grapevines, roses and trees for the benefit of the respective industries. The research and service programs Deborah has managed at FPS have played a key national and international role in improved methods of pathogen detection, streamlining virus elimination techniques for clean stock and quarantine programs, and distributing new crop varieties and healthy planting stocks.” She was, he adds, “one of the top grape research and extension administrators in the country.”

The arc of Deborah’s career traces not only the origins of FPS but also the National Clean Plant Network. Research and technology for the production and propagation of clean plants, including grapevines, strawberries, fruit trees, nut trees, sweet potatoes and roses (which flourish in her own home garden) was her life’s work and passion. She will be sorely missed but her legacy will live on in these programs, the classes she taught, the research and extension she did, and the sense of community she fostered among those who believe in science as a means to advance agriculture and/or viticulture.

It is a tremendous honor to have known and worked with Deborah and an equally tremendous shock to know she’s gone. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and colleagues.

Read a remembrance of Deborah’s life by UC Davis FPS staff. And find Deborah’s obituary here.

Donnell Brown