Lois Elsie James, 87, Whittier College biology professor from 1942 to 1979 who was an expert in plant anatomy, died Friday in La Habra Heights.
Best known for her work in developing macadamia plants for commercial use in California, she spent her post-retirement years as a consultant to the state’s growers of the popular nut usually associated with Hawaii.
Born in Hoquiam, Wash., James earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Whittier and her doctorate from Stanford. She spent her entire teaching career at Whittier and helped design its John Stauffer Science Building, which opened in 1968.
James conducted many field trips and research expeditions to Baja California, studying plant life in the peninsula’s coastal lagoons and nearby islands.