JARS v59n2 - In Memoriam: Wes Tarpley

In Memoriam: Wes Tarpley
Diane Thompson

Wes Tarpley, a long-time member of the Seattle Rhododendron Society, Seattle Chapter ARS, passed away January 13, 2005, after a long illness with lung disease. He had been an active member of our chapter for nineteen years including many years with the photo group of SRS. Wes was also the ARS chairman of the Photo and Video Library for thirteen years.

Wes was awarded the Bronze Medal in 1993. He and his wife Hazel were very active in the chapter, bringing rhody fertilizer to the meetings, storing all our show equipment and risers and transporting these items twice a year to our shows. Wes loved to propagate plants from seed and cuttings and brought them to share or auction to help SRS raise money for the chapter.

Wes was born in Dayton, Washington, on April 3, 1921. His family owned small farms and there is where his love of growing plants started. He worked for Douglas aircraft and the Boeing Company until he retired and began a lifetime interest in growing rhododendrons, roses, magnolias, geraniums, fuchsias, bulbs and many other plants. He volunteered his time at the beginning development of Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, and at the Rhododendron Species Foundation at Federal Way. At the RSF Wes was the volunteer carpenter and general "fix-it" person for anything that needed done. Wes also belonged to the Rose, Begonia and Magnolia Societies and traveled to the Magnolia Society annual conferences to enjoy the company of other magnolia friends. Traveling and taking photographs was a great joy for him and his favorite trip was to New Zealand.

Growing plants and taking care of them brought him a lot of pleasure along with reading horticulture books and magazines to find his next special plant. Even during the last months Wes was planning his spring garden by ordering new bulbs and roses. He was a true gardener waiting to go home and start a new season growing and enjoying his plants.

The SRS will deeply miss his presence at our meetings and shows and our hearts go out to Hazel, his wife of 63 years, and their son Larry.