Robert M. “Bob” Arthur

Bob Arthur Current0001Robert M. “Bob” Arthur passed away on Sept. 1, 2017 surrounded by his loving family in his home in Moscow. He fought a courageous 2 year battle against cancer, he was 70 years old.

Bob was born on April 9, 1947 in Burlington, WA to Gilbert and Shirley Arthur. He was raised in Sedro Woolley, WA graduating from SWHS in 1965.Bob Arthur Younger0001 He went on to get his BS degree in Plant Science at Washington State University in 1969. Later that year he joined the Peace Corps where he volunteered in Brazil and became fluent in Portuguese. Here he taught subsistence farming to families in rural Brazil. During his last year in the Peace Corps he volunteered for the Ministry of Agriculture researching beans and soybeans.  It was in Brazil where he met a lovely Brazilian girl by the name of Marly DeSousa in 1970. Marly says that it was love at first sight. They were married 2 years later in Brazil on July 1, 1972.

When the two returned to the states to begin what became 46 years of marriage Bob started a career as a research director and plant breeder at Crites Moscow Growers in Moscow, ID. He did this while simultaneously working on his MS degree in Agronomy at the U of I.  He graduated in 1981. He dedicated his career to 36 years of plant breeding for Crites.  He was dedicated to his work, developing numerous patents of pea seed varieties over the years.

Bob shared his love and passion for plants, gardening, and the outdoors with everyone he met.  Every year he grew and gave an abundance of fruits and vegetables to friends and neighbors. He would start plants from seed and give the started plants away to neighbors, coworkers, and fellow church members.  He spent endless hours tending to his beautiful and expansive garden.  When he wasn’t gardening he found time to take his family fishing, camping, hiking and/or backpacking.  Some of his kid’s favorite memories are of backpacking with their dad in the Seven Devils Wilderness, Kelly Creek, and along the rivers of northeastern Oregon.  His favorite fishing holes were Elk River, the Skagit River, and Spring Valley.  His best fishing buddies were his mother Shirley and his brother-in-law Ed Alskog. Together they went on several fish outings every year.

While his son was growing up he played an active role as a Scout leader participating in many camping, backpacking, and cycling trips in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.  Bob was also an avid sports fan, he followed nearly every sport. He played on several Parks & Rec softball and basketball teams.  He was a runner, participating in several fun runs in the area.  Growing up he played football, basketball, and baseball.  Horses were a big part of his life while growing up.  He would ride into the backcountry of the North Cascades with his family to camp, explore, and hunt.  With his father he loved bird and deer hunting.  He also competed in many horse shows winning many trophies and prize winning ribbons. As his 5 year old granddaughter declared “Vovo” (grandpa in Portuguese) was good at everything!

Bob is survived by his wife Marly, daughter Milena Arthur, son and daughter-in-law Michael and Daphne Arthur, two grandchildren Sloan and Reid, mother Shirley and sister Cathy Arthur, Uncle Dick McClure, brother-in-law Ed Alskog, niece Monica James and niece Jamie Alskog.

He was preceded in death by his father Gilbert Arthur, a sister Penny Alskog, uncle Lyle McClure and aunt Jeanne Gilbert.

A memorial mass will be held this Friday, September 8 at 11:00 am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow. A reception will follow at St. Mary’s Family Center.

Memorials are suggested to the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden, St. Mary’s School Foundation, or to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in lieu of flowers.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to

11 Responses to Robert M. “Bob” Arthur

  1. Jerome Brotherton says:

    Dear Mrs. Arthur & family,

    All of us at Brotherton Seed Co. were saddened to hear of the death of your husband and father, Bob. What started out as a business relationship between Bob and me quickly became a warm friendship.
    It was a privileage to have know him and I will never forget his thoughtfulness and kindness.
    With personal sorrow, we ask to share your loss and to extend our heartfelt sympathy.
    Sincerely, Jerome Brotherton & Brotherton Seed Co.

  2. Stan Verhaert says:

    Dear Family,
    Having been in contact with Bob for more than twenty years in the seed industry, representing and selling Crites pea varieties in Europe, I have always known Bob as a very good person, very dedicated to his work and the people he dealed with. Everything always in “balance”.
    It is now 3 years ago he came over to Belgium to meet us and see “his” varieties on the other side of the globe.
    Plant breeding is a long term work; I am pretty muvh sure Bob made the ” foundations ” of many new successfull varieties actually in Crites breeding pipeline and yet to come.
    Please accept my sincere condolences to Bob’s family. My thought and prayers are with you…

    Stan Verhaert

  3. Lyndon Porter says:

    In 2005 I came to Washington to begin my work as a young researcher with the United States Department of Agriculture. I was asked to work on ways to manage different pea disease in the area. Bob was a great friend and mentor as I asked him many different questions about peas, and he took time to chat and educate me regarding the industry and what he had learned throughout his years of experience. I will never forget his smile, genuine kindness and his willingness to share knowledge and resources to help me succeed. I send my best wishes and prayers to his family.

  4. Tom Darnell says:

    I knew Bob for many years, we were part of the green pea “family” who contributed so much to the development of newer more productive processing pea varieties. Bob was a true gentleman and a tireless worker. He will be missed. RIP, Bob.

  5. Alexis Plouy says:

    Bob was also a traveler, and I met him the first time in Spain long time ago. Part of the small pea breeding community, I always enjoyed his dedication and great knowledge about that vegetable, and the discussions around it.
    He was a great man with a great smile, which was lighting up my day when I was meeting him.
    We will miss you, Bob. I keep you and your family in my prayers.


    I haven´t had too much opportunities to be with Bob. But when dealing with him, I have always had the
    feeling that he was somebody who prefered listening than talking. Even if he had a lot of things to teach us.
    I liked his Open smile and nice character.
    All our condolences from Strube España.

  7. Lyndsay Read McCall says:

    Marly and family,
    My sincerest condolences to you and your family. I am thinking of you and wishing you warm memories and peace.

  8. Judy anderson says:

    I grew up with bob kindergarden thru high school. That ultra shy boy obviously rid himself of his shyness, he was more than just a working man, this skagit valley boy grew up to make the world a better place, thank you bobby, our class of
    1965 are so proud of you and your lovely wife, it has been 52 years since we last saw each other, but I never forgot how graceful and always kind you were, peace be with your family bob, we will never forget your kindness and that sweet smile.

  9. Dick Lowe says:

    Marly & Family,
    I have known Bob for 40+ years. Bob was a very kind man. He was fun to work with, interesting to talk to and was a very dedicated worker. The time and energy he put into plant breeding made him a true expert in his occupation. Bob was well respected in the agricultural industry. His success in developing new varieties of processing peas is demonstrated by their use today in the USA and the EU countries. Bob was a great husband and father. It was just to early for him to go. Bob will be missed.
    On behalf of the Lowe family and Pure Line Seeds, Inc. we send our heard felt sympathy to you Marly and Family.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I met Bob when Elsoms Seeds first represented Crites in the UK.

    I immediately knew that Bob was someone with a deep scientific knowledge of plant breeding and the vining pea industry. Bob was someone in whom you had absolute trust in the information he gave you, and this in turn gave one so much confidence in re- establishing Crites market share in the UK over the last 7 or 8 years.

    He bred some world beating pea varieties which we continue to sell. He was a wonderful guy and will be sadly missed by all of those in the agricultural world who had the good fortune to meet him and learn from him.

    Bob Miles
    Elsoms Seeds Ltd
    Spalding U.K.

  11. Alex and Gerdean Tan says:

    Dear Marley and Family,
    Our hearts are with you today as you celebrate Bob’s amazing life! He was a wonderful man, and you Marly are such a wonderful woman. You are all in our prayers hearts and prayers as you go through this difficult time. God bless you always!
    Alex and Gerdean

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