David Jesse Wagstaff
David Jesse Wagstaff, 82, died September 1, 2017, at his home in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He was born February 22, 1935 in Lehi, Utah to David Edson and Ida Hayward Wagstaff.
His love of white-face cattle started young, as his Father belonged to the Lehi Cattleman’s Association and ran cattle in West Canyon for many years. He never tired of the view of the Oquirrh Mountain range. His family also had a dairy herd of Holstein Cows.
His education started in kindergarten at the City Library, then Harrington Elementary, then “up the hill” to American Fork Junior High and Senior High, where he graduated in 1953, with a class of wonderful friends. He attended Utah State Univ. for 2 years before fulfilling a mission call to Northern California.
In 1957 he returned to Logan to finish his studies as a pre-vet student, graduating in 1959, and having been accepted to the most prestigious veterinary school in the country, Cornell University, made his way east to Ihaca, NY. He did well and graduated as one of the top 3 in his class in 1962. He then fulfilled his Selective Service requirements in the US Public Health Service, as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer, assigned to work in Texas on Rabies control along the Mexican border.
After 8 months of a lonely existence he returned home to marry Ann Taft (also raised on a dairy farm) & be sealed in the Manti Temple on 4 January 1963, then back to Texas with a spouse.
His next assignment was to Frederick, Maryland to study whether Q-fever was a problem in the large dairy herds and the human population that worked with them. Next was another assignment to East Lansing, MI to do research for the National Cancer Institute for 1 year. He received a post-doctoral fellowship in Toxicology at Utah State University. He completed that program, earning a PhD in Toxicology with an emphasis in poisonous plants that affect humans & animals.
With two doctoral degrees, he was hired at the University of Missouri Veterinary School, as an Assistant Professor of poisonous plants. That became his favorite subject for the rest of his life. After 4 years, he took a job with Food & Drug Administration in Beltsville, MD, then Washington, DC as the “go-to” man on poisoning of humans & animals by plants, including herbals. He presented research reports at the International Poisonous Plants Symposiums in Utah and Scotland, and has also been a visiting scientist at Kew Gardens in London.
He served on the Silver Spring Maryland Stake High Council, then in 1991 he was called as Bishop of the Beltsville Ward, Silver Spring MD Stake. He has been a faithful home teacher - none of us can remember him ever missing a month, even to the end.
He retired and returned to Utah in 1998. In his career he wrote extensively on public health issues, but in retirement his crowning achievement was in 2008, when he published a scholarly book, “International Poisonous Plants Checklist, An Evidence-Based Reference”, by CRC Press.
He and his wife, Ann, shared a deep love for family history research with an emphasis on primary documentation.
He is survived by his wife Ann, of Pleasant Grove, three sons, David (Ruth Ann) of Provo, UT, Andrew (Stephanie) of Lehi, UT, & Terry (Jamie) of Marysville, WA., brother Fred Wagstaff, of Hurricane, UT, 12 grandchildren, & 1 granddaughter-in law.
Services will be held Saturday, Sep 9 at 11 am in the Pleasant Grove 2nd Ward Chapel, 455 East 200 South, Pleasant Grove. Friends may call at Anderson & Sons Mortuary, 49 East 100 North, American Fork, Utah, on Friday from 6-8 p.m., and at the church prior to services at 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Burial will be in the American Fork City Cemetery.
The family wishes to thank the First Choice Hospice team for their care. Please share a memory at andersonmortuary.com.
Subscribe to receive future obituary notices. Click the RSS Feed button below
American Fork Chapel
49 East 100 North
American Fork, UT 84003
Lone Peak Chapel
6141 West 11000 North
Highland, UT 84003