JARS v51n3 - In Memoriam: Leon Yavorsky

In Memoriam: Leon Yavorsky
Robert Murray
Colts Neck, New Jersey

Reprinted from the Victoria Chapter Newsletter

Leon Yavorsky, 1909-1997, was an avid hybridizer and nurseryman. He especially enjoyed evergreen azaleas. He was a longtime member of the American Rhododendron Society and Princeton Chapter. Some years ago, Princeton Chapter made him an Honorary Member in recognition of his many successes as a hybridizer. He came to this country from Poland at a very early age. His name was Jaworski, but at some point a school teacher decided that, based on the pronunciation, it should be spelled Yavorsky. Leon acquiesced and for the rest of his life used the teacher's version.

He served as sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. After the war he lived, raised azaleas, and worked as a foreman at a manufacturing plant in northern New Jersey. When he decided to raise plants full time, he moved to Howell, New Jersey, where he established a plant nursery. He hybridized and propagated rhododendrons and azaleas and propagated dwarf conifers.

Leon's health had been deteriorating for several years and late in 1996, after an illness, he entered a nursing home to recover. He passed away on Feb. 2, 1997, at the nursing home and is buried at the Veterans' Cemetery in Arneytown, New Jersey.

Following is a partial list of Leon's hybrids. It is known that there are many more, but since he sold many of his plants identified by only a number or the cross, their identity does not appear in any available record:

'Alice Swift' 'Leon's Toby'
'Anna Louise Grassi' 'Leon's Whimsy'
'Brunhilde Jaworska' 'Linda Stuart'
'Carlpi' 'Margo Reynolds'
'Cheeky' 'Matilda'
'Country Girl' 'Medley'
'Edna Bee' 'Nancy Plent'
'Grandma Matilda' 'Rik'
'Hannah' 'Roberta Gauvreau'
'Jack Swift' 'Sara Ann'
'Leon's Amy' 'Shiloh'
'Leon's Bicolored' 'Sierra Glow'
'Leon's Red' 'Virginia Delito'
'Leon's Rheba' 'Wemrock'
'Leon's Sport'