In Memory: Dr. Charles Bollich

Dr. Charles Bollich, headshot
Charlie Bollich
Jun 21, 2022
USA Rice extends condolences to the family and friends of Charles (Charlie) Nelson Bollich, who passed away on June 16.  He was 95.

Charlie grew up on a rice farm in Mowata, Louisiana, the sixth of ten children, and left home for the first time at the age of 17 when he joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  After the war, he returned to Louisiana and got an undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University and worked at the Rice Research Station in Crowley.  

He eventually earned a PhD and spent his professional career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beaumont, Texas.  During his thirty-year career at USDA, he became known as a legendary rice breeder, developing 23 rice varieties including Lemont, that for several years was grown on more than a million acres in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

In 1994, Charlie was inducted into the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame and the following year the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction.

“Dr. Bollich was a superstar among U.S. rice breeders,” said USA Rice’s Dr. Steve Linscombe, a fellow rice breeder and director of The Rice Foundation.  “He released numerous important varieties such as Labelle, Bellemont, and Rexmont.  Perhaps his greatest achievement was the release of Lemont in the early 1980s, the first widely-grown southern long grain with excellent yield, quality, and lodging resistance that quickly became the predominate variety in the south.  He was my mentor and had a tremendous reputation in the industry both domestically and internationally.”

After his retirement from USDA, Charlie volunteered with VOCA, Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, once making a trip to Ukraine to work with a rice breeder who was trying to develop new varieties for that region.  He also served as a consultant for the International Atomic Energy Agency, a branch of the United Nations concerned with the peaceful application of this resource.

A gathering of Dr. Bollich’s family and friends is scheduled for Friday, June 24, at Broussard’s (2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont, Texas) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., with a Rosary recited at 6:00 p.m.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 25, 2022, at St. Anne Catholic Church (2715 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas).  His interment will be at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, June 25, at St. Lawrence Cemetery (29031 Crowley Eunice Highway, Crowley, Louisiana).