A Tribute - Walter George Beasley
Furman Cantrell, Ph.D., Piedmont, S.C.
Editor's Note: The Atlanta Convention was dedicated to the memory of George Beasley. A moving and inspirational series of slides was shown by Boris Bauer. Dr. Furman Cantrell presented the following tribute at the Saturday night banquet.
The name, George Beasley, was first mentioned to me by my uncle who is an azalea enthusiast. He was describing some of his favorite azaleas, obtained from George. How many of us have done the same thing? Soon after that conversation with my uncle, I met George and Mary at the Azalea Chapter Flower Show. I was impressed with the warmth and friendliness of these people. Before the day was over, I was invited to "stop by the house and look at what we have blooming." The friendship grew rapidly and we soon felt like part of the family. It is difficult to recall all of the good times we shared. However, things like trips to see the natives in the Georgia mountains, visiting each others gardens, judging flower shows and getting together at chapter and regional meetings stand out. We also value the plants which George so generously shared. Just today as I saw the Choptanks begin to show color I could almost hear George telling about that beautiful find and all the promise of his crosses.
Everyone knows that George was generous. Many of our gardens are more beautiful because of his generosity. However, our lives are also richer because of his generosity. George gave to everyone he knew, who would accept it, a gift of love and friendship that was essentially unmatched. He truly belonged to a select group of God's creation who were able to impart the truest meaning of love and concern.
As the unfortunate events that would eventually end his biological life unfolded, the sadness of it all was outweighed by the fact that we had all been enriched by our friendship with George. We know him as a beautiful truss - a best in show. We will remember him like this; but perhaps more by the seed which he produced that will live on as ideals and examples which many will try to equal, but few will be capable of producing a life to compete with our departed friend, George Beasley. May God care for him gently until we are all together again.