JARS v45n2 - In Memoriam: Everett E. Farwell, Jr.

In Memoriam: Everett E. Farwell, Jr.
Parker Smith
Sebastopol, California

Everett E. Farwell, Jr., the Western Vice President of the American Rhododendron Society, died December 16, 1990, at his home and nursery in Woodside, California. Up to his death, Ev, as he was known to most of us, continued to work with his wife Marge growing and selling rhododendrons at their nursery south of San Francisco. Ev spent nearly 45 years in the nursery business and just as long promoting, supporting and serving the ARS on a local, district and national level. He encouraged growing rhododendrons wherever he went and made many friends throughout the country while serving in various ARS positions. Rhododendrons truly fit their designation as "king of shrubs" to Ev, and he saw little need for other types of shrubs. Ev was a sensitive, good-natured individual with a keen sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Everett B. Farwell, Jr.
Everett B. Farwell, Jr.

In the mid-1940's, when the ARS was just formed, Ev was in contact with the founders in Oregon and became one of its first members from California. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the ARS in March, 1951, for a two year term. Soon he was promoting the idea of a chapter being formed in the San Francisco area. This was accomplished in early 1952 and Ev became the first President of the California Chapter. He was largely responsible for creating the San Mateo Chapter and serving it in various capacities for many years. He encouraged the formation of other chapters in California and worked hard for their success. He was elected to two terms as the Director for District 5 (California) in which capacity he served until he was elected Western Vice President in 1987. Despite several health problems during the 1980's, his enthusiasm and efforts in support of the ARS never faltered.
Ev traveled diligently to chapter meetings throughout California as well as attending chapter board of directors meetings and various committee meetings. He always worked hard for the success of the national conventions held in California and was the organizer and prime force behind the two Western Regional Conferences held in Monterey during the 1980's. Ev was awarded the Silver Medal in 1981 at the convention in San Francisco for his work at the national level. He also received Bronze Medals from the California and San Mateo Chapters for his dedication to their formation and success. His tireless efforts on behalf of ARS members and chapters in California will be greatly missed.
Born in Alameda, California, on October 10, 1914, Ev began working in his father's nursery at a young age. In 1937, he married Margery (Marge) du Rivage of Oakland and they had two children, Gary and Carol. In 1946, Ev obtained his nursery license and he and Marge opened their first nursery. He traveled to Portland, Oregon that fall to get acquainted with Jock Brydon and John Henny and to see their rhododendron nursery. His enthusiasm and interest in growing and selling rhododendrons never dimmed from that point on, despite critics who insisted rhododendrons would not grow in California. In the early 1960's Ev and Marge moved their nursery to its present location in Woodside, overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the east. Ev pioneered the creation of appropriate soil mixes, methods of planting and fertilizing rhododendrons, as well as the selection of varieties that would thrive in California's strong sun and long dry season. Many rhododendron plantings that exist in gardens throughout the San Francisco Bay Area are a tribute to Ev's knowledge of the plants and their requirements. His enthusiasm for the genus has inspired many of us to grow what is perhaps the widest range of rhododendrons and azaleas seen anywhere in the country. Marge will carry on the nursery business at its present location with the help of three grandsons. In addition to his wife, son and daughter, Ev is survived by a sister, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.