A Tribute to Henry R. Yates
Austin C. Kennell, Martinsburg, West Virginia
My friend, Henry R. Yates of Frostburg, Maryland, died December 15, 1970. In memory of this treasured friendship, I would like to pay tribute to him - and others like him.
Many people like rhododendrons; quite a few love rhododendrons - Henry Yates lived rhododendrons. Every minute he could spare from the necessary job of earning a living, he spent with his beloved rhodos. He made countless crosses and grew thousands of seedlings. He developed plants that men of lower standards would have introduced. He raised plants under growing conditions such as adverse weather and unsatisfactory soil that would have discouraged a less dedicated man.
FIG. 26. Henry R. Yates
Henry was a modest man, but his accomplishments could have earned him the accolades of his peers if he had sought them. He never made a penny from his plants although many men have profited from lesser achievements. He became a close friend of the man who sparked his initial interest in rhodos - Joseph Gable, who honored Henry and his wife by naming rhododendrons for them.
Despite his dedication to his plants, Henry was a whole man. He was a good father and a devoted husband. He was always willing to share his experiences and knowledge with others. He was friendly, pleasant, enthusiastic, and considerate. To meet Henry was to like him; to know him was to respect him.
So this tribute is for Henry Yates and all other men like him whose rewards are the respect and admiration of those whose lives they touch. Men like Henry - who add so much to the lives of others without seeking anything in return - are far too rare. Henry Yates may never be characterized as one of the giants in the rhododendron but few men stood taller by any measure in any field. He is one of the few who will make Heaven a more beautiful place for all of us.