Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Ornamental Seed Scientist Francis Kwong Dies at Age 65

Francis Kwong, PanAmerican Seed

Francis Kwong

Francis Kwong, who had a 38-year career in the seed industry (many of those years as Director of Seed Technology with PanAmerican Seed Company), passed away on July 30 from colon cancer. He was 65.


According to Ball Horticultural Company, Kwong was known for his passion for agriculture and seed science, as well as his remarkable spirit of collaboration, professional integrity, and amazing creativity.

“Francis Kwong will be missed greatly here at Ball. He had the mind of a scientist and the soul of an artist,” says Anna Ball, President and CEO of Ball Horticultural Company.

Kwong’s commitment and dedication to the industry for seed production helped PanAmerican Seed produce high-quality products and solve problems where others could not. His research was also instrumental in groundbreaking seed products such as angelonia, calibrachoa, and New Guinea impatiens. Among other industry accomplishments, Kwong edited a comprehensive reference book, “Flower Seeds: Biology and Technology” with M.B. McDonald in 2005, which showcases the science behind flower seeds.

Kwong arrived in the U.S. from China in 1969. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and his master’s degree from Oregon State University. He also held a doctorate in agriculture from Purdue University. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, his daughter, Lisa Xia; sisters Agnes Choi and Cecilia; and brothers John and Joe.

A testament to his life and career was recently printed in The Chicago Tribune.