Dr. Sharad Chintaman Phatak, 87, of Tifton, died Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at his residence.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, February 22, 2020 in the chapel of Albritton Funeral Directors with Rev. Landon Alberson officiating and Eulogies given by Dr. Joe West, Michael Chitwood, grandsons, and Mr. Navin Shah. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, February 21, 2020 at Albritton Funeral Directors.
His grandsons, Brandon Chitwood, Austin Chitwood, Drew Chitwood, Blake Chitwood, Hunter Phatak, and Colt Phatak, will serve as pallbearers.
Dr. Phatak was born on February 28, 1932 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, to the late Chintaman Kondopont Phatak and the late Vimal Chintaman Phatak. Dr. Phatak was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Swaran Kumari Phatak. Dr. Phatak was a resident of Tift County for 45 years, where he was Professor of Horticulture with the University of Georgia, at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station - Tifton campus, for 32 years. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather. He was always present and active in his children’s and grandchildren’s activities. He was active in many local organizations, including the Tifton Lions’ Club and Tift County Recreation Department Advisory Committee. He was instrumental in bringing the soccer program to Tifton in 1981.
Dr. Phatak was educated in India. Growing up on the family’s farm in Indore, his interests in agricultural research developed early in age, with his father being the only educated farmer in the area at the time, testing and introducing new agricultural technologies to other local farmers. He pursued his higher education, receiving his B.S. in Agriculture in 1955 at Agra University, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India and his M.S. in Horticulture in 1959 at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi, Delhi, India. After completing his masters degree, Dr. Phatak worked for three months at the United States Pavilion, at the first World Agricultural Fair in New Delhi, India. This is where he first met, his future wife and the love of his life, Swaran Kumari Phatak, who was also working in the United States Pavilion, as a librarian. This job experience was a stepping stone to his next opportunity to further his education in the United States. He arrived at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, in 1961, where he was a Fulbright Grantee during his Ph.D program. He successfully completed the program and earned his Ph.D in Horticulture from Michigan State University in 1964.
Dr. Phatak held many positions cultivating his expertise in his chosen professional field. 1955‑57: Instructor in charge of Vocational Agricultural School, Indore, M.P., India. 1959‑60: Research Assistant, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. 1960‑61: Agronomist, Indian Potash Supply Agency, New Delhi, India. 1961‑64: Teaching Assistant, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 1964‑65: Research Associate, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 1965‑66: Scientist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. 1967‑69: Chief, Plant Science, Elanco Division, Eli Lilly and Company of India, Inc., New Delhi, India.1969‑75: Research Scientist, Horticultural Experiment Station, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. 1975‑82: Associate Professor, Horticulture, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, University of Georgia, Tifton. 1982‑2007: Professor, Horticulture, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, University of Georgia, Tifton. Appointed Member of Graduate Faculty: January 19, 1984.
Highlights of Dr. Phatak’s work include, author of about 450 publications, including 150 journal articles. He obtained over $3 million in combined contracts and grants. He successfully introduced Conservation Tillage, and Relay Cropping Systems to vegetable, cotton, peanut, and soybean growers in Georgia. He contributed to the expansion of carrot acreage in South Georgia, by helping Georgia sweet carrot growers on all aspects of carrot production. Also Dr. Phatak, with his own research and cooperation of other scientists, released disease resistant tomato and potato cultivars, male sterile eggplant, bush Velvetbean (Mucuna pruriens) cultivar “Georgia Bush.” He developed a method for controlling yellow nutsedge using rust fungus (Puccinina canaliculata). He successfully introduced commercial production of mung beans, urd beans, and pigeon peas in Southwest Georgia. And one of his favorite projects, Dr. Phatak and Dr. Casimir Jaworski, introduced the Georgia Scarlet (Cuphea llavea). Mickey Mouse Plant, Tiny Mice and Georgia Scarlet (Cuphea llavea) are three common names used to identify the Cuphea species. Georgia Scarlet Cuphea was the original selection released from their research breeding program at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus. Later, the names Mickey Mouse Plant and Tiny Mice were given to the plant by the trade because the flowers resemble the face of a mouse, with two red petals tinged in purple.
Dr. Phatak has received numerous honors and awards over the years for his research and Extension contributions, to name a few, L.M Ware Distinguished Research AwardSR_ASHS, D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, CAES; Creative Research Medal, University of Georgia; Distinguished Faculty Award for Research Agricultural Alumni, Award of Excellence for Senior Scientist, UGA CAES-Tifton Campus; Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance, Outstanding Service Award.
Dr. Phatak is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Sharmila and Michael Chitwood and son, Kush Phatak, all of Tifton. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Brandon Chitwood of Enid, Oklahoma, Austin Chitwood of Lompoc, California, Drew Chitwood and Blake Chitwood of Tifton, and Hunter Phatak and Colt Phatak of Warner Robins. His grandsons were the sparkle in his eyes and brought him his greatest joy. He was a proud grandpa and loved them all dearly. Dr. Phatak is also survived by his siblings, brothers, Professor Tryambak C. Phatak, Dr. Hemant C. Phatak, and sister, Mrs. Vijaya H. Ambardekar, and their families, all of India and many dear friends, extended family members, and colleagues all around the world.
The family will accept flowers or anyone who wishes to make a donation in Dr. Phatak’s memory may send it to the following:
CAES Student Enrichment Fund -Tifton Campus, Office of the Assistant Dean, 2360 Rainwater Road, Tifton GA 31793.
Albritton Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.
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