Trail dedicated in honor of Mycologist

Published 1:28 am Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dr. William Cibula was an instrumental part of the creation of the Crosby Arboretum and in his memory a trail now bears his name.

Cibula was one of the founding board members of the arboretum and a well known local Mycologist. The dedication event Saturday, attended by four generations of the Cibula family, opened up the new exhibit to the public.

A specially made trail named in his honor now features mushrooms and other fungi crucial in the life cycle in plant life. After a ceremonial ribbon cutting family members and friends took the first tour, narrated by Dr. Louis Juan Mata. Mata said while he only knew of Cibula writings, Mata learned much from Cibula’s work.

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Hedy Cibula, William Cibula’s widow, cut the ribbon and was the first to take the tour with the rest of the family. Hedy Cibula, proud of the honor her husband was bestowed, said he used take their 14 grandchildren on tours of the arboretum. During those tours he would instruct his grandchildren which mushrooms were good to eat and which were poisonous, Hedy Cibula said. Many of those grandchildren had their children with them at the event.

According to a biography about William Cibula written by his wife he became a member of the Mycological Society of America at the age of 17. After high school he enrolled at John Carroll University to study botany and mycology, later changing his major to physics.

After graduating and getting married William worked at Wright Patterson Air Force Base as a physicist but eventually moved to Cleveland and worked on a master’s in physics and biology. Later he received an NDEA Fellowship grant to the University of Massachusetts, which enabled him to earn his Ph.D., the biography states.

A job offer with NASA in Biloxi lead William Cibula and his family to Mississippi where he was the principal investigator for Earth Observation Research Office until he retired, the biography states. He lead a number of field trips and forays in Europe and the United States and gave a number of lectures to groups interested in mycology during that time.