Clarence Barbre: 1890 -1973
Frederick G. Meyer, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Clarence Barbre of Webster Groves, Missouri, died on 8 June 1973, after a brief illness. He was born in Taylorville, Illinois, on 15 May 1890. His retirement years (he had been a chemist with the Monsanto Chemical Company in St. Louis) were filled with great joy and pleasure gained from his garden and small nursery business at his home in Webster Groves and his association with his many plant minded friends. Mr. Barbre's consuming interest was in plant propagation, especially the growing of azaleas, rhododendrons, and hollies. He grew thousands of these plants from seed and he introduced other thousands as plants for testing in the St. Louis area. In this endeavor he had great success and through his efforts one now sees azaleas in gardens of the St. Louis area where they were virtually unknown 20 years ago. This achievement came about in a way that was characteristic of Clarence. Before he would agree to sell azaleas to anyone, first they would have to agree to follow his explicit instructions for their culture. His system worked and failures were few. People soon learned that azaleas, rhododendrons, and hollies could be successfully grown in the rigorous climate of St. Louis, an achievement, which gave him much personal gratification. He loved nothing more than to get seeds of new azaleas and rhododendrons he could grow and test. He regularly attended the annual meetings of both the American Rhododendron Society and the Plant Propagator's Society. From July 1970 to July 1972 he served on the Advisory Council of the U. S. National Arboretum, in Washington, D.C. For many years Mr. Barbre assisted in teaching classes in plant propagation at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Mr. Barbre's boundless enthusiasm, his great good humor and intelligence and ability to educate people will be greatly missed by all who knew him. The "Clarence Barbre Memorial Fund" has been set up in his memory.