Eugene Chapter Awards Two Bronze Medals
CARL H. PHETTEPLACE
At the June meeting, held on the 10th at Greer Gardens, the Eugene Chapter of the ARS presented, perhaps somewhat belatedly, the Bronze Medal to Carl H. Phetteplace, MD. Dr. Phetteplace and the Eugene Chapter of the ARS are almost synonymous. Carl was one of the original signers of the club's articles of incorporation in April of 1961, and quickly rose 'through the ranks' of the local, state, and national rhododendron society to become the national president, culminating in his being awarded the Gold Medal by our society. When non-local growers or plant lovers thought of Oregon, perhaps even the entire Northwest, the name of Carl Phetteplace sprang immediately to mind. And well it should, for Carl has devoted a substantial portion of his entire life in the propagation and promotion of rhododendrons. His reputation for exacting standards in new hybrids, and his zeal for the procurement of new species or new hybrids became internationally recognized and respected. He helped finance plant explorations into the Far East, and received seeds and cuttings from around the world. His care in developing mature healthy plants from these tiny starts built a garden of breathtaking beauty, and his talent for being generous spread these rare and beautiful plants, through cuttings or outright gifts, throughout Eugene and the Northwest. Even now, he is transferring many of his specimens to the Species Foundation, so that generations of present and future rhododendron enthusiasts can continue to enjoy their beauty. Local chapter members are nearly awestruck by his talents, and almost reverently listen to his thoughts on our beloved rhododendron. Every member of our chapter has personally benefited from Carl's talents. He has always been available, health permitting, for answering questions about all phases of rhododendron care. His rise to national and international recognition seemed only natural to us. His being a recipient of the Gold Medal was expected. I think that if Carl were to be swept off to Heaven in a fiery chariot, we would all nod in approval. That is why, in a belated, and somewhat embarrassed manner, the Eugene Chapter of the ARS awarded the Bronze Medal to Carl. It came late. It was the least we could do for this man who had done so much for us."
JAMES M. BLACKFORD
"Some of you may have noted the brief article concerning the untimely death of James M. Blackford that appeared in the Spring 1979 Bulletin of the ARS. About the time of Jim's terminal illness, the Eugene Chapter's Board of Directors met and voted to award the Bronze Medal to this dynamic force within our club. Owing to unforeseen delays, the award ceremony had to be delayed until July 6, 1979, at which time Grace Blackford accepted the award. But Jim's accomplishments for the Eugene Chapter made his reception of this recognition an inevitability. Jim was one of the originators of this chapter, and supplied his legal expertise in writing up our bylaws and articles of incorporation. His talents in plant research and exploration were enumerated in the Spring Quarterly Bulletin. These efforts alone could have qualified him for the chapter's recognition. But Jim did more, much more. He volunteered each year to assist in the updating and clarification of the classification for our annual truss show. This task, probably the epitome of the "thankless job', was accepted and faithfully carried out with insight and knowledge. Jim's wisdom was sought out in all matters concerning club affairs. His attention to detail was tempered by an unfailing devotion to rhododendrons. His voice was ever raised whenever the club needed guidance. Volunteering for those tough jobs was his way. To Jim, improving rhododendron information meant improving our chapter. To this end, he was available for any and all club assignments. The eventual successful outcome of any venture was assured whenever Jim took control. His genius for organization was displayed to all when he quietly organized the clocklike transportation of the garden tours during the national meeting held in Eugene in 1977. Taking into account that no one knew how many people might be going on these tours, nor whether the buses could turn around in some of the driveways, nor what should be served for lunch, nor when, nor where, etc. - well, you can see it took some kind of organization. Eugene was fortunate to have such an organizer. Eugene was doubly fortunate, for Jim was such a good man, too. We join his widow in mourning his passing. Presenting him the Bronze Medal seems such a trivial thing. Yet, it is all that is mortally possible for us to do. Jim Blackford, though sorely missed, will be fondly remembered."