Former executive director of the Maine Potato Commission Ed Plissey died Nov. 14 in Bangor, Maine, of leukemia. He was 77.

Passionate about potato research, Plissey was recently working with growers to evaluate new technologies and processes to improve potato production, according to obituary information from the North Plains Potato Growers Association.

Plissey, a Maine native with roots on his family’s farm near Washburn, spent much of his career in another potato growing region – he was the first extension potato specialist for the Red River Valley region of North Dakota and Minnesota, serving from 1968-76.

With a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in botany and plant pathology from the University of Maine at Orono, Plissey became known as an authority on potato production.

He continued his studies at the University of North Dakota, eventually serving as an extension agent and potato specialist for that school as well as the University of Minnesota.

In 1978 Plissey became executive director of the Maine Potato Commission. He was appointed a processor and extension specialize for the University of Maine at Orono in 1985. When he retired in 1997 he was declared professor emeritus and potato specialist emeritus for the university.

Plissey is survived by his wife of 54 years, Bonney Plissey and his five children. Memorial contributions are suggested for the Roque Bluffs Community Outreach Program, P.O. Box 471, Roque Bluffs, ME 04654 or to the Down East Community Hospital, 11 Hospital Drive, Machias, ME, 04654 attn: Doug Jones, Administrator.