Contact: Randy Upshaw, (972) 952-9240; email@example.com
Writer: Mary M. Porter, (972) 952-9232; firstname.lastname@example.org
DALLAS — Dr. Janell Stevens Johnk, 35, Extension plant pathologist at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Dallas, was killed Wednesday afternoon (May 6) in a five-vehicle accident in Frisco. She was traveling to Prosper to prepare for a wheat field day when the accident occurred.
Funeral arrangements are pending in her hometown of Montevideo, Minn. A memorial service will be scheduled in Dallas at a later date. A Texas A&M technician, Crystal England of Denton, driving another vehicle, also was involved in the accident but not seriously injured.
“Dr. Johnk came to Texas A&M Dallas in 1993 to work primarily on plant diseases in urban landscapes,” said Randy Upshaw, district Extension director in Dallas. “However, her expertise also was frequently used with wheat and other typical agriculture crops, which was why she was involved in the field day in Prosper. She designed a video microscope display for growers at these field days to be able to see first-hand what these diseases look like at various stages.
“Not only was Janell a highly trained scientist,” Upshaw said, “she brought a special energy to her work that boosted the enthusiasm of her colleagues and clients. We will remember her for her upbeat way of communicating her science to lay audiences in understandable terms.
“Dr. Johnk also had been working recently on the oak wilt problem that threatens oak trees in North and Central Texas, training arborists on how to identify and treat it. She has been a strong advocate for safer use of pesticides for disease and pest control and worked with retail nurseries and landscape managers to get the best information to their customers.”
Johnk held both master’s and doctoral degrees in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Hamline University. She is survived by her husband Mike and their two-year-old daughter Kayla, as well as her father, two brothers and a sister.