JARS v53n4 - In Memoriam: Marion Shapiro

In Memoriam: Marion Shapiro
Dick Gustafson
Lawrenceville, New Jersey

It is with regret that we report the passing of Marion Shapiro of East Brunswick, New Jersey, at the age of 83, approximately seven months after the death of her husband, Ben. She is survived by her son, Phillip, and her daughter, Janet.

Marion and Ben always shared their rhododendron hobby equally and were active hybridizers and gardeners until their later years. Both had been awarded the Bronze Medal by the Princeton Chapter. Many of their hybrids have been registered, propagated and acquired over the years by regional collectors. Roslyn and Rare Find nurseries have included several Shapiro hybrids in their catalog, and the popular picotee 'Kristen Marie' has also been distributed by Shepherd Hill Farm and Van Veen Nursery. The Shapiros' early cross of 'Essex Scarlet' x R. fortunei may have been their most thoroughly evaluated with 25 of 120 blooming plants named. This effort yielded 'Cynosure', a favorite of the Shapiros and local collectors. Ben and Marion continued to evaluate and register some of their hybrids until recently, including the fine lepidote 'Lemon Tea'.

As a former professional editor, Marion took pleasure in reading skilled and beautiful uses of the English language, whereas Ben was devoted to his very large and often esoteric collection of classical music. After her suburban garden was filled with maturing rhododendrons, Marion borrowed space from a generous neighbor in order to indulge her passion for vegetable gardening. She tested innovative new seed from several companies and always returned carefully prepared reports on the overall success or failure of each new variety. Of course these included taste tests with occasional help from trusted friends. The rhododendron and azalea garden was visited every year at blooming time by neighbors and chapter members. Marion and Ben will be missed, especially in the spring.