JARS v51n1 - In Memoriam: Joe Davis

In Memoriam: Joe Davis

Joe Davis, dedicated hybridizer and plant propagator extraordinaire, left the rewards and challenges of this world on Sept. 7, 1996. Joe had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in June 1995 and was stricken with Alzheimer's which led to his death.

Joe was a member of the ARS and Pacific Rhododendron Society for 25 years serving in most offices in both groups. Together, Joe and Mavis received the Bronze Medal for their many years of service to the ARS, the nursery profession and the multitude of rhododendron lovers whom he fostered. Together, they started and fostered the Southern Hybridizers group and were its "spark plugs" for many years. Joe was one who loved to help customers and friends be successful with rhodies be they neophytes or professionals. His years of plant donations and propagation were testament to his skill as a superb plantsman.

Joe retired from J.M. McConkey & Co. in 1980 after a career of 32 years. He was instrumental in the design and manufacture of many of the innovative pieces of equipment which have contributed to the horticulture trade (the wire harnesses for hanging baskets, the paper sleeves for live plant shipment).

During this distinguished career, Joe started raising and propagating azaleas with considerable success which spawned his interest in rhodies and their hybridization. He started working for "the strong yellow" and registered 'Diny Dee' (named for his daughter) as one of the best early ones. Subsequent successful registrations have been 'Pink Sherbet', 'Golden Wedding', 'Ruth Mottley', 'Mavis Davis', 'Mike Davis', 'Claire', 'Eunie', 'Cranberry Swirl', 'Pacific Gold', 'Orange Marmalade', 'Unique Marmalade', 'Rosy Dream', 'Joe's Tequila Sunrise', 'Nelda Peach' and his latest registration, 'Pretty Woman'.

Joe and Mavis had celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. He is preceded in death by daughter Diny and is survived by his loving spouse, Mavis, and son, Mike. He will be sorely missed by a multitude of plant lovers and leaves a legacy of plant material.

Memorials are suggested to the Rhododendron Species Foundation where Joe's greenhouses will be transformed into a new shade house and further memorialize his contribution to the genus Rhododendron