In Memoriam: Col. Raymond H. Goodrich (USA Ret.)
Col. Raymond H. Goodrich became a member of the Potomac Valley Chapter of the ARS in the 1960s. Always an active member, Ray progressed through the offices of director, vice-president and president. For many years he managed the chapter seed exchange. He also managed the annual chapter flower show in some years. With his developing knowledge, he was often called on to judge flower shows in other chapters.
Ray and his wife, Jane, were the backbone of the Gable Study Group, making many trips to the Gable farm in Stewartstown, Penn., not only to obtain plants but also to help identify the plantings there from Joe Gable's row records. With their help, many of the Gable rhododendrons were registered, including two forms of R. vernicosum, aff., Rock 18139, now known as 'Kulu' and 'Mt. Siga'. In searching through the Joseph Rock collection records at the National Arboretum, Ray (and Jane) were able to explain the discrepancies in the Royal Horticultural Society's numbering of Rock accessions. Their work resulted in a complete revision of the RHS published Rock accession numbers.
Always the questioner, Ray performed some simple but effective pollination experiments with R. maximum that debunked the widely held theory that "apomixes" was the primary cause of seedlings of R. maximum crosses all looking like R. maximum. Ray showed that R. maximum tends to self-pollinate itself before the flower is completely open. By emasculating the flower in the bud stage, Ray made many successful R. maximum crosses. A selection of the latter one was named 'Dr. Purcell'. It has bright red flowers and is quite adaptable to sun or shade. Another seedling raised by Ray, (R. fortunei [Gable form] x 'Vulcan'), was named and registered as 'John C. White'.
At chapter plant and cutting auctions, Ray was the preferred auctioneer. He always managed to inspire spirited bidding with comments like, "This one roots easily, in fact it may root for you on the way home." He gave numerous demonstrations on how to economically and effectively grow seedlings and root cuttings. He often brought small seedlings and rooted cuttings to be given to new members, or to be put into the auctions. The Potomac Valley Chapter honored Ray with the Bronze Medal.
His expertise and his willingness to share will be sorely missed.