In Memoriam: Fang Wen-pei
David W. Goheen, Camas, WA
Those who cherish rhododendrons throughout the World will be saddened to learn of the passing of one of China's most able botanists. Professor Fang Wen-pei of the University of Sichuan at Chengdu died at the age of 83 on Nov. 30, 1983. Professor Fang had a long and illustrious career in systematic botany with specialization in the Genus
. This gentle, yet sparklingly human person, wrote many monographs and articles on the rhododendrons of Mt. 0mei and other regions in his native province of Sichuan. During World War II, Professor Fang still managed to continue his studies and his writing even in those perilous and difficult years in China.
After the war, he studied in America and then returned to China where he became Professor of Systematic Botany at Sichuan University. His studies on rhododendrons continued unabated and the whole scope of his activities is only now becoming fully known in the West.
Those of us who met Professor Fang in Chengdu last October while traveling to Western Sichuan on a trek to the glorious rhododendron regions of that province, will be forever grateful that we were able to meet this great botanist and teacher. His life was long and full. He will be sorely missed, but his work in Sichuan will be carried on by his son, Fang Ming-yuan, also of the biology department at Sichuan University.
His interest and concern for the rhododendrons of China remained keen to the last. When he was asked in October of 1983, only one month before his death, if China could send a representative to the International Rhododendron Conference to be held at Federal Way in May of 1985, his eyes twinkled as he said, "Yes, I'll be happy to attend!"
We will surely miss this great man.