In Memoriam: James David Menzies
The Tacoma Chapter had a pall cast over its holidays with the sudden death of Jim Menzies. A native of Vancouver, Jim received his Bachelor of Science and Master's degrees from the University of British Columbia. Opportunity and his interest in plant pathology led him across the border to Washington State University to complete his doctorate and take a wife, Marian, in 1942. Jim worked at the Agricultural Station in Prosser for the next 20 years, a period that saw the deserts bloom as the Coulee Dam project came on line and irrigation transformed Eastern Washington. It was a busy time for a plant researcher.
In 1962 Jim transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's headquarters at Beltsville, Md. Working as a consultant for agricultural projects abroad took him to Pakistan, Turkey, India and Chile. Many honors were bestowed for his research and professional contributions. However, the highlight of his career must have been his selection as one of the nine scientists to make up the evaluation team to determine if the first moon rocks brought back by the Apollo Mission headed by Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins were safe to release from quarantine.
The Menzies retired to Fox Island across the Narrows from Tacoma, Wash. Jim immersed himself in his special interests including local historical societies, organizing the herbarium at the University of Puget Sound and conducting community plant walks. And, of course, one of the first things Jim and Marian did was to join the Tacoma Chapter of the ARS. Both played active roles in the Society, not least of which was to be host chairmen for the 1993 international convention of the ARS in Tacoma. Jim was also a keen supporter of the Rhododendron Species Foundation and grew many of the species in the showplace garden he and Marian created.
The Tacoma Chapter mourns the loss of one of its favorite members.