In Memoriam: Frank Arsen
The New York Chapter's oldest member and avid rhododendron hybridizer recently passed away on June 25, 2008, at the age of 93. Frank was born on December 4, 1914, and grew up in Astoria, N.Y.
Frank was an army veteran who served in WW II from 1941 until 1945 and was stationed in England, Africa and Italy in the 805 tank destroyer battalion. He was buried in the National Cemetery in Calverton.
Frank and his wife, Gay, resided in Lindenhurst where they raised their two sons, Ted and Eric, and their various varieties of azaleas, rhododendrons and many other specimen plants. They both joined the New York Chapter in 1962 in which they were extremely active. He served as the chapter's vice president, chairman of azalea study groups and earned the Bronze Medal on June 3, 1978, for recognition of his generosity in sharing with us his knowledge of and experience with the genus Rhododendron and for his cheerful and able assistance in all chapter activities.
The registered hybrids for which Frank is well known are: 'Gay Arsen', 'Agateen' (unregistered), 'Amber Lantern', 'Ambrose Light', 'Arsen's Pink' and 'Irene Virag'. 'Bud's Yellow', named and registered by Bud Gehnrich, was hybridized by Frank. 'Agateen' was named after the Agateen Lacquer business where Frank and Gay were both employed. 'Amber Lantern' was named after a restaurant where he “courted” Gay and 'Ambrose Light' was named after the Ambrose light ship which was Frank's first sighting of the New York Harbor upon returning from the War.
Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay on Long Island is privileged to have some of Frank's lepidotes planted in the N.Y. Chapter's Hybridizer's Garden to serve in memory of his accomplishments.
We shall truly miss his wonderful dedication and his beloved friendship.