In Memoriam: Fred V. Cummings
Fred V. Cummings passed away August 31, 2008, at the age of 79. Fred will be remembered by many for his beautiful garden in Orinda, California, which has been shown on several ARS convention garden tours. If you have seen it, we're sure you that you remember his special koi pond in the garden.
Fred was a prolific hybridizer, producing many fantastic plants, especially in his never-ending search for the perfect rhody of his favorite color - yellow. Yet he never wanted to name them or register them, only to enjoy them and share with others. He also grew innumerable species rhododendrons from seed. One of his hybrids, a cross of (R. arboreum X 'Elizabeth') x R. arboreum, a floriferous and vigorous fine red, was named for him and brought into commercial cultivation by Paul Molinari of Enjoy Nursery in Occidental, California.
In Fred's professional life, he was an attorney with the law firm Aiken, Kramer & Cummings from 1958 until he retired in 1992.
Fred has been an ARS member since 1960. He served as California Chapter president on three different occasions, was chairman of the 1981 ARS Annual Convention, and served on the Cal Chapter Board continuously for almost 40 years.
We at California Chapter remember Fred for his unassuming gentle manner and guidance, his piano entertainment at our potluck dinners, his flower arrangements, as well as for his love of rhododendrons, magnolias and other woodland plants. He was a wonderful role model, not only for his plant knowledge, but for his kindness, generosity, quiet leadership, and love of life and family. He had his own strong views on many subjects, but that did not interfere with his tolerance for the views of others.
Fred loved rhododendrons, but he loved people even more. We'll miss him.