Lynn Gallagher

Lynn Gallagher talks with barley producers at a 2016 field day on the Endres Ranch in Corning, Calif.

Lynn W. Gallagher, who for 30 years was the barley breeder at the University of California-Davis, died Dec. 15, 2020. He was 77.

He was born in San Francisco on June 2, 1943, and was raised in Marin County. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science at UC-Davis, he joined the Peace Corps. He taught primary school for 2 years on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and then joined an agricultural project on the shores of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.

This last experience caused him to refocus his goals from law to agriculture, so he returned to UC-Davis to earn a doctorate in plant genetics. His first job after completing his Ph.D. was in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, before he joined the University of Minnesota’s agricultural program in Morocco, spending 8 years there breeding barley, teaching and developing a faculty of agriculture.

The last 30 years of his professional life were spent at UC-Davis as its barley breeder. He released a great many barley varieties for feed, food, forage and malting. His most recent achievement was the development of several malting barley varieties bred specifically for California conditions, the first since World War II.

One of them, Butta 12, has been enthusiastically received by California growers and artisan brewers. His efforts were additionally supported financially by a checkoff from the National Farmers Organization-Northern California Barley Growers members.

Lynn loved to travel. At any opportunity, he would board a plane or ship to explore new places and people. He was a skilled photographer who shared his travel photos on Facebook.

He is survived by his wife, Judy Smith; his brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Liz Gallagher of Santa Rosa; and two nieces and their families.

He was cremated, and his ashes will be scattered at a later date.

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