In Memoriam: John Francis (Jack) Wilson
Jack was born in Gisbourne, Australia, on August 25, 1924, and passed away on April 14, 2005. Upon leaving school he trained at Pilot School as a Navigator. He was seriously injured in training and carried fragments of a wayward grenade for the rest of his life. He then undertook teacher training at Melbourne Teachers College and spent twenty-one years as a primary teacher. He established a Professional Development Centre for teachers at Mirabooka, and eventually retired as Director of Teacher Education for the State of Victoria. He and his wife, Dorothy, lived in Brighton, and subsequently in Blackburn South, for a total of fifty-two years.
Jack was a perfectionist. His knowledge of rhododendrons, azaleas, vireya, and species Cyclamen became formidable. Jack generously gave advice, information, and plant cuttings to those who asked. To receive cuttings of R. "Southern Cloud", his prized hybrid, was to be given a magnificent gift. He also named three azaleas from the large number he bred, one of which was "Blackburn Pink Frills". He was one of a group of five who founded the Australian Rhododendron Society. Jack was President of the Victorian Branch in 1990 and 1991 and the editor of the newsletter for 10-15 years.