Francis Kwong, renowned seed scientist, dies

Francis Kwong, renowned seed scientist, dies

The director of seed technology for PanAmerican Seed was 65.

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August 10, 2017
Press Release
Grower News Industry News
WEST CHICAGO, IL – Ball Horticultural Company mourns the death of Francis Kwong, 65, from colon cancer July 30. Kwong had a 38-year career in the seed industry. He spent a majority of those years with PanAmerican Seed Company, where his most recent title was director of seed technology. He was known for his passion for agriculture and seed science, but also his remarkable spirit of collaboration, professional integrity, and amazing creativity.

“Francis Kwong will be missed greatly here at Ball. He had the mind of a scientist and the soul of an artist,” said Anna Ball, president and CEO of Ball Horticultural Company.

Kwong’s commitment and dedication to the industry for seed production helped PanAmerican Seed farms produce high-quality products and solve problems where others could not. His research was also instrumental in groundbreaking seed products such as Angelonia, Calibrachoa, and New Guinea Impatiens. Among other industry accomplishments, Kwong edited a comprehensive reference book, “Flower Seeds: Biology and Technology” with M.B. McDonald in 2005, which showcases the science behind flower seeds.

Francis Kwong arrived in the United States from China in 1969. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and his master’s degree from Oregon State University. He also held a doctorate in agriculture from Purdue University. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, his daughter, Lisa Xia; sisters Agnes Choi and Cecilia; and brothers John and Joe.

A testament to his life and career was recently printed in The Chicago Tribune.