Former Funk Seeds President and Past ASTA President Don McGillivray Passes Away At Age 90

Don McGillivray

Bloomington, IL (November 16, 2018) - Donald D. "Don" McGillivray, 90, of Boerne, Texas, formerly of Bloomington, passed away November 14, 2018 at his retirement community, Morningside Ministries at Menger Springs, in Boerne, Texas.

A celebration of his life will be held at his retirement community in Boerne, Texas at a later date. A memorial service in Bloomington will take place at a later date followed with interment in Funks Grove Cemetery, McLean, Illinois.

Memorials may be directed to Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, 402 N. Hershey Road, Bloomington, IL, 61704. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home in Bloomington is assisting the family with arrangements.

Don was born on August 28, 1928 in Muscatine, Iowa, the only child of Walter Clark and Pearl Elizabeth Potter McGillivray. He married Betty Jo Anderson on June 24, 1951 in Muscatine, Iowa.

Surviving is his loving wife of 67 years, Betty McGillivray of Boerne, TX; two daughters, Ann (Tim) Barsch of Fredericksburg, Texas and Jean (Doug) Pitts of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania; four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Don grew up on a farm near Muscatine, Iowa and attended a one room country school through the eighth grade. He attended and graduated from Muscatine High School where he was a member and held offices in both 4-H and FFA, receiving the State Farmer Degree in 1946. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy.

Upon graduation, Don joined Funk Seeds International as a production supervisor at the company’s Belle Plaine, Iowa operations. After serving two years in the United States Army from 1951-1953, he returned to Funk Seeds as a plant breeder, a position he held for seven years. Don later became assistant manager and then manager of Funk’s Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin operations before transferring to Bloomington, Illinois in 1970 as manager of hybrid corn operations. In 1975 Don was promoted to Vice President of Operations for Funk Seeds and in 1982 became President. In July of 1989 Don retired from Funk Seeds, which is now part of Syngenta Seeds, and continued with consulting activities in the seed industry.

Outside of his career at Funk Seeds, Don has been active in a number of organizations. He is a Past President of the American Seed Trade Association from 1988-89 and continued on the Board of Directors. He also served as Chairman of the association’s Hybrid Corn and Sorghum Division and was active on several committees of the association. In 1996, Don was recognized for his service to the seed industry by being named a Lifetime Honorary Member of the American Seed Trade Association.

Don has served as a board member of the U.S. Grains Council and a board member and Past President of the American Seed Research Foundation. He is also a member emeritus of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation serving as Chairman from 1990-2000. Don also has been a Director of the Illinois State 4-H Foundation.

In his home community of Bloomington, Illinois, Don was a member of the Exchange Club of Bloomington and a member and Past President of the BroMenn Hospital Advisory Council. He has served on the Illinois Wesleyan University Associates Board, was a member of the Illinois State Senior Professionals and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity Resale Store. Don and Betty were 45 year members of First United Methodist Church, Normal, Illinois.

Don loved to play golf and was a member of Bloomington Country Club. He also enjoyed spending winters at their second home on Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay, Texas. In 2015 Don and Betty moved to a retirement community in Boerne, Texas near their lake home.

From the American Seed Trade Association: (November 20, 2018) - It is with great sorrow that we report the passing of Don McGillivray on November 14, 2018.

McGillivray received his B.S. in Agronomy from Iowa State University and began his career as a production supervisor with Funk Seeds International. From there, he became a plant breeder, an assistant manager, and then operations manager before he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and then President.

Outside of his career at Funk Seeds, McGillivray was engaged in a number of organizations. He was active on ASTA’s Board of Directors, and served as Chair from 1988-1989. He also served as Chair of ASTA’s Hybrid Corn and Sorghum Division and was active on several committees. In 1996, McGillivray was recognized for his service to the seed industry by being named a Lifetime Honorary Member of ASTA.

McGillivray is survived by his wife of 67 years, Betty McGillivray; two daughters, Ann (Tim) Barsch and Jean (Doug) Pitts; four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.