[gardeners] Do I have to own a suit to go to a funeral?

Bob Kirk (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sun, 1 Feb 1998 20:42:39 -0600 (CST)

   A bit late to ask, by now, as it was when I found out half the faculty
in the department were gone Wednesday to John Pair's funeral down in Wichita.
A little late as well to ask about working with him on several uncommon woody
plants that seem to have merit for the Southern Plains.
   John who? Oh, well, he had his share of fame: high-end awards from AHS,
ASHS (Am. Soc. for Horticultural Science) and no doubt others.  You can't
have failed to see his name while delving into Dirr's Manual of Woody
Landscape Plants.

   I only met him twice. Once years ago at a Wichita Hort Research Center
field day, plus one Saturday morning a few years later when I wandered in
because the gate was open, and he was out in the plantings taking notes.
   Those occasions stick in my mind in part because they were among the few
long conversations with an intelligent person I _had_ back in those days -
and maybe because he was the only person who ever actually encouraged me to
go into horticulture.

   "Inspiration" is no doubt too strong a term - I probably take that little
better than I do advice - but...  aw, hell, I don't suppose in the last few
years of his life he would've liked to know he'd had some part in bringing
someone to professional horticulture who could envision worse careers than
taking much the same kind of work he did into the next century.