James M. Blackford III
W. A. Letcher, O. D., Placerville, CA
The Eugene Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society has been saddened by the loss of one of its oldest and most active members with the death of James Blackford. A practicing attorney for many years in Eugene, Jim was an avid student, historian, gardener and collector. His range of knowledge was exceptional and his memory remarkable.
From the beginning, Jim was interested in promoting the welfare of Hendricks Park and its plantings of rhododendrons, and he gave freely of his time, energy and advice. As a gardener, the formal garden which he and his wife, Grace, built at his residence was an outstanding example of the use of rhododendrons, azaleas and companion plants. In addition to being a member of the board of directors of the Eugene chapter, he actively promoted the genus in many ways.
As the organizer of innumerable plant collecting trips in the West, he contributed much to many people's enjoyment of native alpines. Abundant enthusiasm, limitless energy, and an unending thirst for knowledge marked this man. It has been truly said of him, that "he was his own man", and with so few of his calibre, he will be sorely missed.