Staff scientist Vincent D'Antonio remembered

Worked in cool season crops

Hed shot of an older man
Vincent L. D'Antonio
Vincent L. D'Antonio, a long-time staff research associate in the former UC Davis Dept. of Vegetable Crops, died on Sept. 23 in Vacaville, Calif. He was 74,
D'Antonio was born in Newark, N.J., and lived in California for the last 50 years. He graduated from Rutgers University in Newark with a bachelor of arts degree and the University of California, Davis, with a master of arts degree. After college, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Jamaica. He held positions as a research scientist and a plant geneticist before settling at UC Davis. His responsibilities included working with the California Celery Growers Assoc. for 30 years.

Carlos F. Quiros, an emeritus professor and geneticist with the Department of Plant Sciences, remembered this about D'Antonio:

"Vince was my SRA for the cool season crops program I headed. His work was supporting the research activities involved in celery and Brassica crops breeding and genetics. He was in charge of field and greenhouse operations related to this program, which involved traveling to southern California to evaluate celery breeding lines. He was also in charge of germplasm maintenance for the crops included in the program.

"I met him first in the 1970s, when we both were grad students at UC Davis. Then, I re-encountered him in 1981 at IPRI, a biotech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I was hired at the then-department of Veg Crops in '83, I hired him as my trusted and loyal assistant, basically until I retired in 2011. I believe he retired soon after I did."

He loved sports and was an avid lifelong fan of the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.

D'Antonio was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother and friend. He was predeceased by his loving parents, Louis V. D’Antonio and Raffaela (Meola) D’Antonio, his wife Debra Jo (Piazza) D’Antonio and his sister Carolyn D’Antonio.

He is survived by his daughter, Gina D’Antonio of California, and his sister, Cecelia D’Antonio of Livingston, N.J.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Philomena Church in Livingston, N.J., on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Entombment followed at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover, N.J.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy for the D'Antonio family may be shared at

Media Resources

  • Trina Kleist, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences,, (530) 754-6148 or (530) 601-6846

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