Dr. Henry Fagan was born on July 6, 1936. His early education was at the Morne Jaune and Riviere Cyrique Primary Schools, where he also taught after graduation. He left Dominica for the UK where he resided and worked in the 50’s to 60’s. While there, he did his BSc and MSc at the Imperial College, London. Then he went to Jamaica in the 70’s where he completed his PhD at UWI. His PhD topic was "A study of the pathological problems in dwarf coconuts in Jamaica." Dr. Fagan was hired and worked with the Jamaica Coconut Industry Board.
In Jamaica he reviewed cocoa agronomy and the various cocoa hybrids and clones that are cultivated . He made a thorough study of the mycology of the cocoa Black Pod disease fungus in comparison with the Windward Islands. He worked in Guyana for a while on the rice project , then in the Belize Citrus Industry, and later went on to bananas at Winban Research in St Lucia. On his return to Dominica, Dr. Fagan served as Chairman of the Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation.
Dr. Fagan was also a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Agriculture (UWI). He published several papers in peer-reviewed journals on the pathology of citrus flowers and fruit set in Belize; and strains of disease causing fungi on citrus crops. At Winban Research, he published numerous technical papers on the crop protection aspects of banana cultivation in the Windward Islands to help in increasing productivity and improving banana fruit quality for the UK export market.
Dr Fagan was a member of the Dominica Academy Arts & Sciences (DAAS) Agriculture & Environment Committee and a member of the Local Chapter. He assisted in the DAAS contributions to the Dominica Botanical Gardens and collaborated with me -- with enthusiasm and diligence beyond the call of duty -- in the provision and development of multiple banana and plantain tissue culture varieties resistant to both Yellow and Black Sigatoka leaf diseases. The objective of this project was to provide banana and plantain farmers with alternatives if and when especially Black Sigatoka entered Dominica, which is now reported to be the case.
Dr. Henry Fagan was a conscientious, disciplined and committed scientist respected by his peers. He passed away on September 3, 2012. DAAS wishes to extend condolences to his wife Gistine, his daughter Jacintha, his sonAnthony, and the rest of his family. His friendship, his analytical mind, and his always significant contributions to Agriculture in the region will be missed.
By Dr. Clayton A. Shillingford, PhD.
17th September, 2012.