In Memoriam: Peter Schick
On August 5th, 2008, the Noyo Chapter, indeed the entire rhododendron community, lost a great benefactor, mentor, and friend, Peter Schick of Fort Bragg, California. He passed away peacefully, with his family in attendance. He was predeceased by Lorraine, his wife of 60 years, and his son Peter.
Peter Anton Schick was born in Lemberg, Saskatchewan, Canada, Sept. 11, 1915. Peter grew up on small farms in Canada and immigrated with his family to Berkeley, Calif., in 1961. He was an ardent member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in Berkeley while working on the Bay Area Rapid Transit as well as freeway and school construction. After retirement he moved to Fort Bragg in 1977 where he became involved with the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, the Noyo Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, and Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church.
His love of plants continued and he became a world-recognized expert of tender species rhododendrons. In 2007, he was awarded the American Rhododendron Society's Gold Medal for lifetime achievement, a major highlight of his life. The tender species garden at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden was also dedicated to him in recognition of his support and many contributions to the development of the garden.
Peter Schick was a humble man who never sought recognition for his endeavors. His work with rhododendrons was done out of a selfless desire to learn and to share this knowledge. He was responsible for any number of crosses, especially of vireyas, and shared this material with others who went on to register the plants; Peter wasn't interested. What he was interested in was preserving the species Rhododendron, gaining as much knowledge about these plants as possible and sharing his information with anyone willing to listen. His vision was to preserve the natural habitat and to protect the environment so that the original and native species will always have a place to thrive. We have all benefited from Peter's prolific work. He will be