In Memoriam: Alec McCarter
Dr. John Alexander McCarter, known to all as Alec, died in Victoria, B.C., on February 14th, 2005, aged 87. Born on January 25th, 1918, he was raised in Dawson City in the Yukon Territory and Vancouver, B.C. He received his baccalaureate and master's degrees in biochemistry from the University of British Columbia. During wartime, he conducted research for National Defense at the University of Toronto, receiving his Ph.D. from that institution in 1945. During his distinguished career as a biochemist, he taught at three universities across Canada, at Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Victoria. During his time in London, Ontario, he was associated with Canada's National Cancer Research facility as its Director.
In recognition of his services to Canada, Alec was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977. Though his career was steeped in science, Alec's interests covered a broad spectrum. As a child, Alec was afflicted with polio; he always walked with a limp and in latter years used a walker. That hardly deterred him from living a full life. He was a stalwart in the life of the Victoria Rhododendron Society. His gardening talents were highlighted in his writing; he edited the newsletter of the VRS for many years and with characteristic erudition and elegant style, he continued producing a wealth of fine works. He took up painting in his later years, becoming a talented amateur artist.
To celebrate Victoria's 25th anniversary ‘Silver Salute', ARS's annual convention in 2005, the book entitled A Rhesplendence of Rhododendrons was published. Alec was the principal editor; he authored its preface and two of its articles. But his involvement in the project extended beyond these efforts. Ever the learner, Alec undertook the design and layout of the book, and he derived great pleasure in the process. In its final form this volume will serve to celebrate the splendid contribution that Alec McCarter has made to the life of our Society.