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Family remembers Scranton native for his dedication

Alex Gladden
Paris Express
Terry Siebenmorgen

The family and friends of Terry Siebenmorgen are still in remembrance of the internationally recognized rice researcher from Scranton.

In addition to his scientific research, Siebenmorgen was a teacher, father, husband, and cattle rancher. He died Nov. 22 after battling cancer for more than three years. 

“He truly wanted to make a difference in the lives of people around the world," his brother Kenneth Siebenmorgen of Fort Smith said.

Terry's rice research stretched across the world and had a huge impact on rice production, one of the largest industries in Arkansas. His work involved big names that used rice in their products such as Kellogg's and Anheuser-Busch. The research focused on improving the growing, harvesting, and storage of rice, Kenneth said.

His wife Patty Siebenmorgen said his research more specifically involved rice processing after the harvest.

“It’s kind of all-encompassing but it really focused on the post-harvest processing of rice," Patty said. 

Terry was a University of Arkansas professor and conducted his research through the university and the Division of Agriculture. 

It was at the university that he created the Rice Processing Program, which served as a global industry alliance that came together to solve problems with rice production, Patty said. 

“And really he was just kind of the conduit to bring all those people together," Patty said. 

Terry was inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2019. He received many other prestigious awards. 

Despite the acclamation he received throughout his career, Terry remained exceptionally humble. 

“And no matter how successful he was at work his family and faith were always more important," Kenneth said. 

Patty, who was married to Terry for 38 years, said he was her best friend. 

“He was just a great family man," Patty said. 

Terry's sister Doris Williams found Patty and Terry's love for each other inspirational. While Terry was sick, Patty was his rock, Williams said. 

Terry grew up on a dairy farm just outside of Scranton. He was the oldest of eight children, Kenneth said. 

Williams said Terry worked hard on the farm, feeding and milking cows, hauling hay, and hoeing soybeans. 

“He loved working the land," Williams said about Terry who grew up to have his own cattle farm. 

Terry and Patty made their home in Fayetteville, where they had their cattle farm. 

“He loves his cows, and he always said farming is what he would do if he could really make a living at it," Patty said. 

Terry attended the University of Arkansas for his undergraduate degree and then went to Purdue University for his master's, where he met Patty. The couple married in 1982 and moved to Nebraska for Terry to get his Ph.D. 

But his plan was always to move back home to Arkansas, Patty said. 

Terry began working at the University of Arkansas in 1984 and continued working there until his death in 2020. 

Patty and Terry had three sons, one of whom died in 2004. 

Williams described Terry's strength and faith after his son died as incredible. 

Terry maintained a positive outlook on life, Patty said. And above all, Terry kept his Catholic faith close to his heart. 

“And he loved the lord and that’s what I’m grateful for," Patty said.