Dr. Jon F. Ort, who retired last year as extension director and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, died suddenly April 4 at his home in New Hill.
Ort, 63, led extension for 15 years. He also served as the university’s assistant vice chancellor for Extension, Engagement and Economic Development.
On Ort’s watch, North Carolina Cooperative Extension emerged as a leader in educational and applied research programs for alternative agricultural crops and enterprises, childhood nutrition and physical activity, school-age care and disaster preparedness. He was a leader for extension at the regional and national levels.
A native of Bryan, Ohio, Ort attended Ohio State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and master’s and doctoral degrees in poultry nutrition. He joined NC State as a poultry science faculty member in 1979. He was the college’s assistant director of academic programs and director of the Agricultural Institute from 1989 to 1991 and assistant dean for administration from 1991 to 1995. He became associate dean and extension director in 1995 and served as assistant vice chancellor from 2002 until his retirement.
Ort’s professional honors include the Agricultural Institute Outstanding Faculty Member; Outstanding Teacher Award, Academy of Outstanding Teachers, NC State; Meritorious Service Award, African American Science and Health Society; and North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation Service of Excellence Award.
Survivors include his father, Lewis Ort; his stepson, Brad Thompson, and his wife, Cristi; his daughters, Katie and Hunter Ort; their mother, Debbie Ort; and many close family members and friends. He was an avid hunter, boating enthusiast and talented musician who enjoyed traveling with his family and spending time with his mother and father.
A visitation is scheduled at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 S.E. Maynard Road, Cary, on Thursday, April 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral service will be Friday, April 8, at Cary Presbyterian with burial at Apex Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Dr. Jon Ort Family Scholarship Award, Campus Box 7645, Raleigh, NC 27695.