In Memoriam: Tom Koenig
Richard H. Gustafson
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
On May 27 Tom Koenig passed away while confined in a hospital. Tom had been severely handicapped for about nine years as the result of a stroke. He is survived by his wife Emma, a daughter, and two granddaughters.
Many gardens are the richer because of his efforts and his generosity. He collected avidly, seeking only the best and most beautiful plants. He gave away many plants and countless cuttings from the choicest azaleas and rhododendrons in his collection. Many hybridizers sought pollen from him and he collected and mailed pollen to all who asked. He and several others explored the many nurseries and estates that had collections of unnamed and unevaluated Dexter hybrids. Where the quality warranted it, they requested cuttings which were grown and evaluated further. When Heritage Plantation sought to build a collection of Mr. Dexter's hybrids, Tom was able to provide them with a number of varieties not otherwise available.
Tom has been a member of the ARS for close to thirty years. Initially he was a member of the New Jersey Chapter and after the Princeton Chapter was formed became a Princeton member also. At various times he was a member of the New York, Tappan Zee, Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Middle Atlantic, and perhaps other chapters in addition to his membership at New Jersey and Princeton. He served as Treasurer for New Jersey for a number of years.
He was asked to speak at a number of chapters and at other organizations. His talks were always beautifully illustrated with color slides provided by his wife who is an excellent photographer. He sent his programs to a number of more distant chapters when he was unable to go in person.
He was presented with the Silver Medal of the American Rhododendron Society on February 17, 1979 and the citation acknowledged his service on the national level as a director and on national committees; commended him for his skill in growing and exhibiting rhododendrons; and praised his dedication and generosity. Tom Koenig was a valued friend of many and one of the finest members of our Society.