In Memoriam: Robert Danik
On August 23,1988, the Great Lakes Chapter as well as the American Rhododendron Society lost one of their most avid supporters, workers, and friends with the passing of Robert C. "Bob" Danik. Bob grew up on the north side of Pittsburgh, where he began his association with the nursery industry by working for a landscaper in the summers during his high school years. He joined the Marines and served in the South Pacific during WW II. While serving in New Zealand, he was impressed with the large rhododendrons he found growing there. After returning to the states, his association with local plantsmen, like Orlando Pride turned his interest in plants into a life-long affair.
In 1957, Bob moved to a 12-acre farm in Valencia, Pennsylvania, and started the North Hills Landscape Nursery. A garden center was added to the operation in 1973, and the business has grown into a successful family operation.
No task proved too menial nor too difficult for Bob. Usually he completed assigned work without asking for recognition in return, and many times others were not even aware of what he had done for them. He was a true quiet leader and an asset to every organization he was affiliated with. Bob was responsible for the elegant displays of rhododendrons that graced the hotels at both the National Conventions in Pittsburgh and in Cleveland, and he was instrumental in making both events successful ones. He was a most talented landscaping artist.
In 1983, The Great Lakes Chapter presented Bob with the Bronze Medal, the highest award a chapter can give, and in 1986 he was given the highest honor the Pennsylvania Nurserymen's Association can bestow when he was named Nurseryman of the Year. Bob worked tirelessly to promote horticultural educational programs giving of both his time and financial aid. He was the force behind the Pennsylvania Nurserymen's Association Scholastic Awards Program for students in ornamental horticultural programs in Pennsylvania.
Crystalaire Rhododendron Foundation was indeed blessed to have Bob as a member of its Board of Regents. He did everything in his power to promote the foundation and its work researching rhododendrons and azaleas.
Bob's personality, generosity, loyalty, knowledge, talent, and energy were an inspiration to all who were associated with him. I, personally, am far richer in every respect for having been a close friend, and I thank God for giving me this rare opportunity.