In Memoriam: Alma Louise Allbaugh
Alma Allbaugh, age 77, died July 28,2000, in Whatcom County, Washington, after a long illness. Alma was born Oct. 2, 1922, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. She married Larry Allbaugh and during WWII accompanied him to New York City where he taught gunnery at Columbia University. After the war, Alma and Larry operated a dairy farm near Everson, Washington, and raised five children on the farm.
During their years as dairy farmers, they became interested in rhododendrons and in 1975 turned their hobby into a business and opened Komo Kulshan Gardens on the site of the farm, operating the nursery until 1987. Alma and Larry became very knowledgeable about rhododendrons, and Alma is remembered for her remarkable memory of rhododendron names. The Allbaughs inspired many of their customers to collect rhododendrons and were always willing to share their knowledge of the genus. Their display garden at the nursery, which included a barn for growing tender large-leaf species, was a testament to their love of the genus and ability to grow it to perfection in an immaculately groomed garden and nursery.
The Allbaughs were early members of Komo Kulshan Chapter and contributed in numerous ways to its growth. The chapter recognized their support with the Bronze Medal Award in 1995. Alma and Larry served as technical assistants and proofreaders for the Journal American Rhododendron Society from 1991 to 1998.
Larry Allbaugh died in 1999, but Alma continued to attend Komo Kulshan Chapter meetings during the next year in spite of frailty during ill-health. Her good humor and sunny smile never failed to brighten chapter meetings.