In Memoriam: Earl Hester
Earl Hester, age 69 of Fayetteville, Ga., a quiet, faithful man who served as a director of the Azalea Chapter, died at home on July 20 after a long, heroic battle with cancer. The youngest of eight children, Mr. Hester left home to attend the University of Georgia at 16, but kept the dawn-to-dusk work habits of his family's farm through his life. His own son remembers that his father's idea of fun was re-potting several hundred azalea cuttings before breakfast.
Mr. Hester held bachelor's and master's degrees in horticulture from the University of Georgia. He distinguished himself with military service in Korea and later obtained the rank of major in the Army Reserves. Beginning in their sales force, Hester eventually became president of Jiffy Products of America, a commercial grower supply business in West Chicago.
For the past 10 years, Mr. Hester grew thousands of specialty azaleas and operated Peach State Growers Supply in Fayetteville. He grew the largest variety selection of the different evergreen azalea groups that flourish in the Southeast, more than any other local plant supplier. He also served as president of the Oconee Chapter of the Azalea Society of America. Mr. Hester was known, particularly, for his generosity with his azaleas. He was honored by our group for donating his own plants for the landscaping of a project at a major Atlanta public park in the name of the Azalea Chapter, ARS.