In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Don Maurizio (-2022)

Former President San Diego Imperial County Iris Society (1983)

Tribute by Bill Molnar

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that our group lost one of the longest members of the San Diego Iris Society. Don Maurizio passed away suddenly on May 5, 2022 from a brain aneurysm. Don was always active at the February SDIS Birthday Party, the Spring Show & Sale, and the Fall Rhizome Sale. We could always count on him for his willingness to help, his vast knowledge of irises, and his kind-hearted attitude. Don leaves behind his sister, Debra Medel, and his mother, Irene Maurizio, who many of you know from their having attended the February SDIS Birthday party and various iris events. I am sure that Don would ask all of us to let our families, friends, pets and everyone around us know TODAY how much they are appreciated, since our lives can end so suddenly and unexpectedly. Don will be missed by many.

Photo by Claire Schneider

Photos of Don Maurizio: (1) Don in 1983 entering his irises in the San Diego Imperial County Spring Show. Don served as President of the society in 1983.(2) Don at the San Diego Iris Society birthday party in 2013 with fellow SDIS member Dorothy Driscoll. (3) Don at 2022 Spring Show where he clerked and helped the public with their iris questions.

In Memoriam

Richard C. Richards (1935-2022)

In Memoriam: Richard C. Richards by Katharina Notarianni

We were very sad to learn that our dear friend and author Richard Richards passed away in July 2022. He had a clever sense of humor and wit that will be missed. It was an honor and a delight to help him publish his books.

Professor Richards had many accomplishments with his latest efforts resulting in two published books 'A Philosopher Looks at The Sense of Humor' and 'Poems that Almost Got Away: Reflections on Death and Life', and he introduced many innovative iris hybrids. During his life Richards was deeply involved anything iris and contributed regularly in the form of presentations of his latest findings and seedling introductions at the local chapter of the American Iris Society, The San Diego Iris Society. His award winning irises included tall bearded irises 'Amethyst Winter' 'Marty Richards' 'Easy Being Green' and 'Classical Brass.' His hybridizing focused on a true green iris. Out of his program emerged many greenish examples and a variety of other colors, such as the dramatic purple irises he introduced, and due to his exacting standards, every introduction had to be tall and sturdy with many buds. Richards was also an expert on Pacific Coast Native Irises which he hybridized for fun. Richards introduced 'Clarice Richards' in honor of his mother who encouraged his passion for growing and hybridizing plants. He also introduced a species cross iris unguicularis 'Zzyzx.' Professor Richards was always available for interesting discussions on all things iris and attended AIS national conventions, regional meetings and San Diego Iris Society meetings until his health made it too difficult to make the trek.

Pictured here are Richard and Marty Richards at a San Diego Iris Society birthday party.

In Memoriam

Jennifer Fisher (1951-2018)

It is with great sadness that we inform you that longtime San Diego Iris Society member Jennifer Fisher has passed away on September 2, 2018. Jennifer and her husband Leif have been active members of our society, always helping out wherever they can. Jennifer was an avid gardener and in 2011, Jennifer and Leif won the Tom Craig Trophy for Best Red Iris in the San Diego Iris Society Spring Show. Read more about Jennifer in Mary Hanson's touching tribute to Jennifer.

We will miss Jennifer and extend our sincere condolences to Leif and the rest of their family.

Tribute to Jennifer

from her dear friend and fellow SDIS member Mary Hanson

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to reap, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace.”

Many of you may have thought these words sounded familiar, Pete Seeger and the Byrds in 1965 recorded Turn, Turn, Turn which is based on these words, writings of Solomon, King David’s wise son found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. These words seemed an appropriate foundation for this tribute to Jennifer. In the time I knew Jennifer, I had the privilege knowing with her as she walked through the seasons of her

Jennifer was a special person in my life. I met her when her daughter Megan brought her parents to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church shortly after Leif and Jennifer moved to California. Jennifer and I talked about many things. I found her intelligent, witty, compassionate, generous and kind.

Jennifer and I spent the majority of our time talking about gardening. She was so knowledgeable about plants, their culture and uses. There was no plant she didn't know something about. She talked about her gardens, how she tended them and made them flourish, I think her favorite garden was her “secret garden.” It was a fanciful place filled with a sweet fragrance of many blossoms. It was a place where she could go to rest and get rejuvenated. When she first told me about it I could see the flowers and feel the peace of that space. Prior to moving to San Diego, Jennifer had saved seeds from her extensive gardens from her homes in the Midwest. I was the fortunate benefactor of a large number of those seeds. As I remember Jennifer this spring I will be going into the seed box and planting some of the majestic Hollyhocks and some of the sweet peas with their intoxicating fragrance. These plants are part of her garden legacy. I was fortunate to be able to hear Jennifer in a rare public speaking appearance at Our Redeemer’s Young at Heart, a monthly senior luncheon where she presented on Edibles. Not only did she talk about dozens of plants during her presentation, she provided a multi page handout that had additional details and references.

By the time I met Jennifer, her physical limitations prevented her from tending the plants outdoors as she once did. Jennifer loved to purchase plants that needed TLC and to nurse them back to health. Her bedroom and bathroom were like a greenhouse. There were plants everywhere, orchids, African violets, assorted tropicals and a variety of seedlings. Not only did she nurture plants, she nurtured people. Despite the fact that she had seven children, including two daughters, she loved me like a daughter. At the time I met her, I was still grieving the death of my own mother, three years earlier. Jennifer helped fill that void. I felt as though I could talk to Jennifer about everything. She listened to whatever I said without passing judgement. She held me many times when I cried over painful events in my life. She helped me put things into perspective and move on from the circumstances in my life. She encouraged me to write and release my thoughts and emotions through my words. In my final discussion with Jennifer, I promised her I would write my novel. I told her I would be dedicating it to her. At first she resisted but eventually she relented.

Outside in the yard, there were the Irises. Shortly after she moved here, her bearded irises came. She had carefully dug the rhizomes, labeled them and packaged them for transport. There were so many boxes of them. I was amazed not only by the number of plants but by care she had taken to ensure that they would arrive in their new home ready to go into the ground in San Diego. The yard at the home was small and at first these plants were grown in pots, later the majority of the plants were transplanted into the ground by Leif.

'Dynamite' grown by Jennifer and Leif Fisher, awarded the Tom Craig Trophy for Best Red Iris in 2011.

Jennifer was an active member of the San Diego Iris Society. She participated in as many activities as her health would allow. She prepared rhizomes for the fall sale, attended meetings and special events. She cared for more than iris, despite her issues Jennifer nurtured people. She always had something to say that helped people become better horticulturalists. Jennifer hybridized a few Iris, making something new out of the old. In the spring her yard was filled with beautiful bloom stalks. One year, I went by on the Friday of our Spring show and saw a stalk displaying three nearly open flower buds, I convinced her to cut the stalk and to enter it in the show. The iris was called “Dynamite” and the judges thought so too. In her first show, Jennifer won a blue ribbon and the trophy for the best red in the show. Jennifer was pleased to have won but typical of her, she shared the honor with her husband for caring for it and with me for convincing her to enter it.

Jennifer has stepped into a new season in her life, she has left behind weeds and drought and and is now tending plants to the glory and pleasure of her creator, sustainer and redeemer.

-- Mary Hanson

Remember Me

Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow, But remember me in every tomorrow. Remember the joy, the laughter, the smiles, I’ve only gone to rest a little while. Although my leaving causes pain and grief, my going has eased my hurt, and given me relief. So dry your eyes and remember me, not as I am now, but as I used to be. Because I will remember you all, and look on with a smile. Understand in your hearts, I’ve only gone to rest a little while. As long as I have the love of each of you, I can live my life in the hearts of all of you.

In Memoriam

Rosalyn "Roz" Hill (1934-2017)

Roz Hill Memorial - 1934-2017

It is with great sadness that we inform you that longtime San Diego Iris Society member Roz Hill has passed away. She was an active member of our society and always brought a smile to our meetings. Roz was an avid iris gardener and will be remembered fondly by all of us in the San Diego Iris Society.

"Roz Hill passed away on the 22nd of August 2017 with her granddaughter Raechel, and several close friends by her side. She was a very strong person who never failed to voice her opinion, but always with a smile. She was not only an avid Iris lover, and active in the San Diego Iris Society, but she was a member of the Horticultural Society and a long time Master Gardner, and do not want to leave out the Edible Garden Club.

She was always hospitable and her home was open to all garden lovers. She was very generous in sharing her knowledge of what plants to buy and when to plant them. Roz loved to travel and visited a number of iris gardens locally and abroad. As a very close and personal friend I will cherish the memories I have of all the fun, and heartaches, we shared."

-- Charlotte Minter

San Diego Iris Society Memorial for Roz Hill 1934-2017

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Photo of tall bearded iris 'Life Behind Bars' growing in Jim and Edith Schade garden in Ramona, CA.