Michael William Lefor was born in Yonkers, New York on April 1, 1943. He was awarded a B.A. (biology) in 1966 at Hobart College, a M.S. (plant taxonomy) in 1968 under H. W. Pfeifer at the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. (plant taxonomy) in 1971 under H. N. Andrews at the University of Connecticut. He went on to teach at UConn for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and then as an Assistant Professor-in-Residence for the Department of Geography until his retirement in 2000. He taught courses in botany, taxonomy, wetlands, environmental impact assessment, and environmental planning. He was also a principal of the environmental and engineering consultants Factum Erit.

His fields of specialization were the classification of flowering plants, phytosociology and ecology of wetlands, especially as related to wetlands mitigation, remote sensing, mapping, and land use. His research interests included: wetlands systems, wetland mitigation, and disturbed habitats; environmental management, vascular plant floras of the northeastern U. S. and the Antilles, and; vegetation studies. He was skilled in several languages, herbarium and information management, editing, publishing design and layout, and scientific illustration. He was also an accomplished organist, played, owned and repaired harpsichords, and was the Curator of the Organ at St. Mark’s Episcopal Chapel, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

He provided expert testimony as a state’s witness on many occasions, to protect Connecticut’s wetlands. He was the principal investigator for the Joint Highway Research Advisory Council (Connecticut Department of Transportation) in a study of wetlands mitigation, about which he authored several reports. He was author of numerous other publications including Distribution of Salt Marsh Vegetation in Relation to Tidal Datums with Kennard and Civco (1982), Trail Wood: Vegetation of the Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary with Egler (1987), A Guide to Common Inland Wetlands Plants of Connecticut (1989) and several papers on mycorrhizae associations with wetland plants with Cooke. He edited many publications, such as the Proceedings: Fourth IWR Wetlands Conference (1988), The Flora of Southeastern Connecticut, G. C. Tucker (1995), First Aton Forest Forum, October 28, 1995: Determinism and Uniformatarianism vs. Aton Forest with Clement, and Sociopolitics, H. Herrmann (1997).

He was a long-time and active member of the Connecticut Botanical Society and served as its newsletter editor from 1980 – 1993. He was an associate editor of Rhodora (Journal of the New England Botanical Club) and was a peer-reviewer for the journals Rhodora, Environmental Management, and Wetlands. He was also a reviewer for the Flora of North America Project, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.

Lefor was appointed as member of the Aton Forest, Inc. board of directors in 1990 and served as its President from 1994 until his death. He led the defense of Dr. Frank E. Egler’s last will and testament from 1996 – 2000, ensuring that Egler’s wishes would be honored and his legacy protected. Lefor lived long enough to see Egler’s estate pass to Aton Forest, Inc. and initiated the curation of Egler’s archives. He left Aton Forest, Inc. his library, his scientific equipment and other items. He was a brilliant, sensible and funny man. He often wrote to friends on plausible and ornate letterheads from unlikely European universities and principalities. His 20 (!) recipe contributions to the St. Mark’s Chapel Cookbook included Comment a Faire une Salade (How to make a Salad: Opinionated Diatribe) which includes the reprimand "but NEVER [use], that pseudo-crunchy tasteless, watery, pallid, slave-labor product, ICEBERG LETTUCE. Use something with a little naturalness, a little character!" He referred to the Aton Forest, Inc. board members and associates as "a group of quiet, polite, intelligent, thoughtful Yankees." Mike was diagnosed with leukemia in 2000 and died on September 3, 2000, from an infection that developed after apparently successful cancer treatments. He is sorely missed.


Curriculum Vitae of Michael Wm. Lefor, April 1997
Program for Requiem Eucharist, September 9th, 2000, Michael William Lefor, St. Mark’s Chapel, The Episcopal Church at the University of Connecticut