JARS v54n4 - From the President

From the President
Lynn Watts
Bellevue, Washington

I would like to depart from the usual message to take this opportunity to announce some exciting news: the American Rhododendron Society has recently received a check in the amount of $311,940 which represents 90 percent of the total bequeathed to the ARS from the estate of the late John E. Swisher. The final 10 percent of the distribution will be made after all other legal matters are closed. The Board of Directors of the ARS have been notified of this wonderful gift and will determine, at the Western Regional Conference in Duncan, B. C., how we shall invest this inheritance.

John E. Swisher, a Life Member of the California Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, passed away on October 6,1999. From the little we can learn of the life of John Swisher we have discovered that he was interested in the vireya rhododendrons. Dee Daneri's research led us to learn that he gathered vireya seed in Borneo and wrote an article in the ARS Journal in the fall issue 1981, Volume 35, No. 4, page 211, "Sintered Clay in Vireya mixes." John evidently moved to Key Largo, Florida, where he grew quite an extensive collection of vireyas. "It is most gratifying to know that Mr. Swisher found great joy in these magnificent flowers. He has given us the ability to reach out to others in our mission to educate the public about the genus Rhododendron " Dee Daneri said.

The ARS was first notified of Mr. Swisher's passing when Dee received a letter in December 1999. Following that first announcement we subsequently received increasingly detailed information which led to the discovery that the ARS has been named by Mr. Swisher as one of several beneficiaries. In April 2000 we were informed that the ARS would receive 2 percent of the Swisher estate which was valued at approximately $15.5 million.

We are indeed grateful to Mr. Swisher for this gift which represents a vote of confidence and support for our organization.