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John Charles Reese

John Charles  Reese John Charles Reese, a longtime resident of Manhattan, departed this life on December 9, 2021. He was born December 25, 1946, in Kansas City, Missouri, and was the only child of Harold L. Reese and Julia (Hubbs) Reese.

John is survived by his wife, Mary Beth (Vogelsang) Reese, whom he married in Columbia, Missouri, on May 30, 1970. He also is survived by his two sons, Andrew C. Reese of New York City, NY, and Adam J. Reese of Denver, CO, many cousins, and Mary Beth’s siblings and their families.

John grew up loving science and nature and started collecting insects, rocks, and bird eggs as a child in Raymore, Missouri. After graduating from high school, John earned his B.S. in Zoology in 1969 and an M.S. in Entomology in 1971 from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1975. John worked in Madison, WI, and the USDA in Albany, CA, before taking a faculty position at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. In 1982, he became an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University, where he became internationally known for his research on host plant resistance, particularly in reference to feeding and damage by aphids. John published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and mentored a number of graduate students. John was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

John was a member of the Entomological Society of America for almost 50 years and was a Fellow of the American Organization for the Advancement of Science. He also was a member of the International Plant Resistance to Insects working group, Friends of Konza Prairie, the Riley County Historical Society, the Oregon Trail Association, and was a board member of the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation.

John traveled extensively to attend conferences and present his research, and his travels took him to six continents. In his spare time he enjoyed running and could often be seen running 8-10 miles during lunch, and he hiked to the summit of Pike’s Peak eight times. John also enjoyed genealogy, investing in the stock market, volunteering at the K-State Insect Zoo, and taking care of his land. John was a member of the Army ROTC from 1969-1971 and then was in the Army Reserves for 8 years.

A memorial will be held on Saturday, April 2nd. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the John C. and Mary Beth Reese Scholarship Fund by mailing to the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation at PO Box 1127, Manhattan, KS 66505, or to the K-State Insect Zoo, Department of Entomology, 123 West Waters Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506.

John was a quietly vibrant soul who treated everyone he met with equal respect, from the custodian in the hallway to the loftiest holder of a Ph.D. John influenced a number of people in his professional and personal life and his love of science and nature will be missed.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home website at

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