Obituary for Paul Wilkens

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I inform the DSSAT community that Dr. Paul Wilkens passed away on Monday, November 27, 2017.   We owe much to Paul and his dedicated work on behalf of DSSAT. Many of the current programs in DSSAT, including the DSSAT shell, the Seasonal and Sequence application programs, ATCreate, and the Sensitivity Analysis tool, were originally developed by Paul. He participated in many DSSAT Training workshops and showed great patience in explaining DSSAT to others. Paul had a great sense of humor, which he sometimes included in the programs he developed. The words “Welcome” when you open the WeatherMan program in DSSAT will be a permanent reminder of Paul.

In his own words, Paul described himself as:

A scientist and computer programmer in the research and development division at IFDC, I have worked extensively on the development of several crop simulation models and related computer applications within the framework of environmental and sustainability issues. I have experience in linking geographic information systems (GIS) into data analysis information systems. I have organized and assisted on computer simulation training programs in the U.S. and internationally. Working closely as part of a multi-disciplinary team, I have has been involved in the development of models for the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer Models (DSSAT) including those for cereal (maize, wheat, sorghum, rice, barley and millet), cassava, potatoes and sunflowers. My research has focused on the development of decision support tools, integrating crop simulation models within a GIS framework, to generate site-specific crop management recommendations.

Scientist Programmer, International Fertilizer Development Center, Muscle Shoals, AL  1993-2017

November 29, 1956 – November 27, 2017

A Celebration of Paul’s Life was held on December 19, 2017 at the Good Shepard Lutheran Church at 2001 Cloyd Boulevard, Florence, Alabama, USA. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that a donation be made to M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital, Houston, Texas in Paul William Wilkens’ memory at

There is place below to share your favorite memory of Paul.

With deepest appreciation for Paul’s service to the greater DSSAT community and his personal friendship,

Gerrit Hoogenboom

23 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Name (required)
    November 30, 2017 at 12:34 am #


  2. Name (required)
    November 30, 2017 at 1:47 am #

    So sad indeed. When great men died, their vacuum most times don’t remain vacant because their works always speak for them. Mr. Paul, so soon that you had your last breathe. But one thing is sure, your works keep speaking for you. Good night.
    Dr. A.D. Olabode, Nigeria.

  3. Name (required)
    November 30, 2017 at 2:12 am #

    I am really sad of his lose, he has been such an instrumental personality for DSSAT.I thank him very much for all he contributed in the DSSAT crop modelling tool. Wish his soul rest in peace.

    Fitsume Desta

  4. Name (required)
    November 30, 2017 at 3:33 am #

    I as Prof. Gerrit Hoogenboom and all DSSAT community feel so sad to hear about this bad news; at this hard and painful event, I wish to express my sincere condolences to Paul Wilkens’s family and all DSSAT big family.

  5. Dr. Sohela Akhter
    November 30, 2017 at 3:49 am #

    I am Dr. Sohela Akhter, Principal Scientific Officer, Soil Science Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI). I completed my Ph.D. on crop modelling using DSSAT . I was trained up on DSSAT in IFDC, Alabama and also in BRRI and BARC where Dr. Upendra Singh, IFDC took our classes.During the problem Y2K, I was afraid that my weather file which was from 1981 and I was going to face weather 2000-2001, the computer may not response or recognize “00”- at that time I mailed to Dr. Upendra for settle down the problem. Dr. Upendra forwarded the mail to Dr. Paul and he nicely suggested me what to do. And afterwards, until my problem resolved, he continuously supported me. I will remember his kindness forever.

  6. Nozar Ghahreman
    November 30, 2017 at 4:24 am #

    We lost a great man, a dedicated teacher,and a famous scientist.As a person who has directly learned a lot from him during DSSAT training workshops in Chiang Mai,Thailand and Griffin Georgia, I can not believe that Paul is no more among us. His smile is always in my mind. May his soul rest in peace. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family,friends and all DSSAT users around the world.
    and….We lost a great man, but his world shall live on in our minds.

  7. Dr ALHASSANE Agali
    November 30, 2017 at 7:39 am #

    I am deeply touched by this unpleasant news announcing the disappearance of Mr. Paul. I extend my most sympathetic condolences to Mr. Paul’s family and to the entire DSSAT team, which has just lost a fervent and excellent member. Through his programming and analytical genius, Mr. Paul has rendered important services not only to the communities of developers and users of agronomic models, but also to all agricultural producers to whom agronomic models, such as DSSAT, are dedicated to facilitate the proper selection and optimization of their cropping practices and calendars, with the overarching goal of sustainable agricultural development and food security.
    It’s truly sad ! but, so life goes, all life is destined to disappear one day and each one in turn! We can not do anything about it!! I wish the soul of the deceased to rest in peace. May God forgive Paul his sinners and welcome him to his eternal paradise. To his family that he has just left, I wish for good courage and good divine protection.


  8. Sunday
    November 30, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    It is with shock that I received the news of Paul’s demise who had been an ‘Iroko’ tree in the DSSAT community. It is painful to believe that he is no more to fix things especially at this infant stage of my encounter with the DSSAT model. His track records will continue to speak volume.
    I commiserate with the family of Paul and ask my God to give them the fortitude to bear this irreparable lost.

  9. Stella
    November 30, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    My deep condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Paul Wilkens. May his soul rest in eternal peace. A brief interaction with Paul at Nairobi was memorable, funny and very helpful.

  10. Aris
    November 30, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    I was very sad to learn of the death of Paul Wilkens, colleague of long time ago and collaborator in crop modeling. Last time I saw Paul was in Joe Ritchie’s retirement party in Detroit, around 2002.

  11. Jingyi Yang
    November 30, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    I am very sad to hear the death of Paul Wilkens. I communicated with Paul frequently for integration of EasyGrapher program with DSSAT 4.0 to 4.5. And Paul is really a kind, generous scientist programmer who gave me lots of helpful instructions. I had many conversations and photos with Paul in DSSAT training workshop 2008 in Griffin Campus, the University of Georgia. Paul contributed a lot to the development of the DSSAT software, and we will remember him forever!

  12. Amos Ngwira
    November 30, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    I, Dr Amos Ngwira, Post Doctoral Fellow, ICRISAT was trained by Paul and Upendra at ICEP Compound in Nairobi. The skills obtained during the training enabled me publish one chapter of my PhD in Soil and Tillage Research by employing DSSAT. May the Almighty God be with Paul’s family in this difficult time. May His Soul Rest in Peace

  13. Kemp Simon
    November 30, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    While I have not met Paul, as a DSSAT user I certainly appreciate his valuable contribution to science, technology and the DSSAT program. May the good memories prevail.

  14. Dr. Vakhtang Shelia
    November 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    I never had a chance to meet Paul personally, but actually I was “meeting” him everyday while working on his legacy almost everyday last several years.

    It was great privilege for me to continue what he created for DSSAT and
    I believe his great works will last long time beyond his short life.
    May his soul rest in peace!

    My sincere condolences to his family!

    Vakhtang Shelia

  15. Joyce Franzmeier-Vitzthum
    November 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    Wow! Didn’t realize what a “big deal” Paul grew up to be. I knew him as a young boy, neighbors to me and my family growing up in Iowa. I knew his parents better than I did Paul, as they continued to be friends with my parents after retiring to town. My sympathy to all his family and all of you co-workers who so obviously adored him. Hard to imagine a boy from small town Iowa had such an international impact. God bless you all.

  16. Vineeth
    November 30, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    My deep Condolence, may his soul rest in peace

  17. Name (required)
    December 1, 2017 at 12:29 am #

    My deep concern. May Dr. Paul Wilkens SOUL rest in peace. Its great loss to our DSSAT research community, we are missing lot. I Pray with the GOD to give energy for his family and DSSAT researchers to overcome from this loss.

  18. Seyed Bahram Andarzian
    December 1, 2017 at 1:43 am #

    God bless him. He was a valuable person for the global agricultural community

  19. Name (required)
    December 1, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    I am very sad while I have heard his death. the world has lost the very incredible person special for agrarian society it very irritating and bad new. research in agriculture scaled dawn by one step.

    God bless him

    December 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm #


  21. Jeff White
    December 2, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    Paul will be greatly missed by the crop modeling community, not only for his contributions to DSSAT but for his sense of humor. Many of my e-mail exchanges with Paul on details of the Weatherman tool and other tools issues ended with our swapping jokes on politics or research.

  22. Buba
    December 3, 2017 at 4:51 am #

    The dead is inevitable on us humans, but the dead of professional being is always shocking, may his legacy continue to fetch him reward and make us remember him in prayers all the time. My condolences to his families and entire dssat community.

  23. Name (required)
    December 8, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    A gr8 scientist…RIP

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