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Pauleen Sullivan


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I received a call from Terry Sullivan this morning, informing Cindy and I that Pauleen Sullivan his mom, has passed away on Wednesday August 8th 2012.

Cindy and I are very saddened to hear this. Pauleen, to us, will always be the palm queen. Her gardens in Ventura and Hawaii and her passion for palms have been very inspirational to me and many others.

Pauleen has traveled all over the world for the love of her passion palm trees and has never let the fact that she was in a wheelchair, due to Polio, at a younger age stop her for any reason.

I have many memories with Pauleen. I will never forget the time when she had spray painted a palm crownshaft orange as a prank, I think is was a Chamaedorea that she donated to the PSSC auction. The bids on this rare mystery palm kept going up before she let onto her prank. Everyone there had a good laugh from this. I really admired her sense of humor and her positive way of thinking. Pauleen never had anything bad to say about anybody and she was very kind and always very giving.

I don’t think she ever let anyone buy her dinner. I had tried many times when Cindy and I had dinner with Pauleen and Terry in Hawaii, but she always had a sneaky way to beat me to the check. We knew we had to let her do this, because again this was Pauleen!

I remember asking her what her favorite palm was and her answer to me was, “The one that I’m looking at the moment”!

I still call the property in Hawaii that Pauleen once owned, the Sullivan garden and I will always call it that. I hope her gardens will always be remembered.

Our memories are so many, that I could write pages for hours. I do know for a fact, that it was Pauleen who inspired Cindy and I, to come to Hawaii, after a phone call I received about a property that had palm beginnings. She thought I would be interested in it. Because of her we did come to Hawaii and I am very grateful to her and we will miss her dearly. I can still see her smile and hear her laughter when I think of her. So we will say goodbye to our friend Pauleen Sullivan and send her great blessings into her next venture.

With much Aloha,

Jerry and Cindy Andersen

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Jerry D. Andersen

JD Andersen Nursery

Fallbrook, CA / Leilani Estates, HI

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Very sorry to hear of Pauleens passing .

Amazing collection of palms in Ventura and Hawaii .

It was Pauleens Ceroxylon ventricosum that really got me interested in that species and now have one albeit small in my garden .

Troy

Old Beach ,Hobart
Tasmania ,Australia. 42 " south
Cool Maritime climate

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Jerry,

Thanks for letting us all know. Truly tragic and it makes me very sad to know that Pauleen is no longer with us. Nobody else like her, that's for sure. Unfortunately, it's been a few years since she was able to visit Hawaii. I have many fond memories of her visits here and she and Terry would always make it their business to come by for a visit when they were here. And I always enjoyed visiting her garden in Kapoho, and walk around with her and Terry. Her very first visit to my old garden here in Leilani Estates will always be a powerful and vivid memory for me. She was here for a few weeks with Don Tollefson and we had agreed for them to come by for a tour on Friday, April 12th, 1996. I found out the day before that my Dad in Sweden had died suddenly and unexpectedly, and was desperately trying to get a flight to Sweden as soon as possible, but was not able to leave until Saturday, two days later. I was not exactly in the frame of mind to show visitors around and called and talked with Don, but finally agreed for them to come by anyway. And they did - the next day. I didn't have very many palms in the ground but they enjoyed seeing the property and a few large palms from Palms of Paradise that had been delivered the day before. It provided a welcome distraction for me and the fact that Pauleen was the first garden visitor will always be a special memory for me. I had only planted the first palm a couple of weeks prior to her visit.

Her kindness, her knowledge, her amazing adventures and her incredible California and Hawaii gardens will always be with us. My thoughts are with Terry and her grandsons and any other family.

Bo-Göran

Leilani Estates, 25 mls/40 km south of Hilo, Big Island of Hawai'i. Elevation 880 ft/270 m. Average rainfall 140 inches/3550 mm

 

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Wow... :( Sad to hear this. But I am happy to have met Pauleen on several occasions and she even let me visit her house in Ventura a couple times! At one or two of the tours I mentioned that I always loved to drive by and look at "the most often photographed Dypsis decipeins in the world" and her Ceroxylon. She said to knock on the door next time! So I did and she showed me the back yard and pool area. TWICE (different times)

A grand Dame of the palm world whose contributions and enthsiasm can't be underestimated.

My prayers go to Terry and any family.

Zone 10a at best after 2007 AND 2013, on SW facing hill, 1 1/2 miles from coast in Oceanside, CA. 30-98 degrees, and 45-80deg. about 95% of the time.

"The great workman of nature is time."   ,  "Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."

-George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon-

I do some experiments and learning in my garden with palms so you don't have to experience the pain! Look at my old threads to find various observations and tips!

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If there was a Mt. Rushmore for IPS luminaries, there would certainly be a spot reserved for Pauline. But apart from being a true long time hard core palm junkie, she was a genuinely gracious individual. It is consoling to realize that despite her handicap she couldn't have squeezed much more life and living out of her allotted time. And for that reason, she should be an inspiration for much more than just her lasting legacy in the palm world.

animated-volcano-image-0010.gif.71ccc48bfc1ec622a0adca187eabaaa4.gif

Kona, on The Big Island
Hawaii - Land of Volcanoes

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Sad to hear of her passing. Photos of her palms in Hawaii were a huge inspiration to me, some species of hers were the first time I had seen them, or at least photographic evidence.

My regards to all family and friends, thank you Pauleen, part of your legacy is with me.

Happy Gardening

Cheers,

Wal

Queensland, Australia.

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I appreciate the tributes from all of you who knew her. There have been some great stories about the adventures of Pauleen. While I never met her, I always admired her as a pioneering palm woman. It's interesting to learn she encouraged Jerry and Cindy to acquire property in Hawaii, fascinating to see how palm people encourage and inspire each new wave of palm enthusiasts. She has set a fine example and a high bar. Thank you, Pauleen, for having shared your collections and good humor with so many more people than you ever realized.

Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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I visited her Ventura garden in 2001 -- she was very kind as we had made a cold call--- We jsut thought we would look from the street and not disturb any9one. Her son stopped us and said we must come in and see the whole garden ---- she did this to anyone looking at her plants. she took us around to some of her other places with Macrozamia Jubeaopsis and even a Roystonea. Very nice gracious lady and sons.

My deepest condolences

Ed Brown

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Such an iconic name in our palm world with a legacy to match. I'm so glad I was able to tour her magical garden here in Hawaii before it was

sold, it was an inspiration. Mahalo Pauleen.

Tim

Hilo, Hawaii

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I didn't know Pauleen the way some of the real old-timers did. I once helped Don Tollefson pick her up, wheelchair and all, and get her up an otherwise impassible flight of stairs at a PSSC meeting.

But, I recall many happy stories about her, both from her (in her writings in the IPS and PSSC journals) and from others.

For just one example: One day I was feeling a bit risk-averse, and then I read about how Pauleen instructed some tribesmen to put her, wheelchair and all, into a dugout canoe, which they paddled down a river. Dugouts are tipsy. South America? New Guinea? Whatever. She didn't worry, and after that I didn't so much either.

Another time, she and her traveling companion got quizzed by gun-toting soldiers after she had harvested a bunch of seeds from a particularly mouth-watering Ptychosperma.

And, her best line, from more than one PSSC Journal: "My favorite palm is the one I'm looking at."

It was wonderful to see her gardens all through Ventura. You couldn't miss them. They were the ones with "all those palms"! That apartment across from Ventura College. That other apartment down the road. Her personal house. My favorite garden of hers was the one I was looking at. I never saw her place in Hawaii, but . . . maybe just as well. (Swoon and never awaken?)

I will mourn her passing and celebrate her memory. And always be inspired by her refusal to let [expletive] inconveniences stop her from enjoying life.

Miss you, dear.

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

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Jerry and Cindy thanks very much for the well written obituary of Pauleen Sullivan.

I of course had never met Pauleen but I like "most palm enthusiasts worldwide", had certainly heard of Pauleen and her "Incredible Inspiring Gardens" at Ventura and her "Very Bountiful Palm Collection" in Hawaii.

Inspired from above posts Id like to post an A to Z in memory of Pauleen Sullivan.

Adventurous

Bright

Collector and of course Ceroxylon

Discoverer

Enthusiastic

Friendly

Generous

Humourous

Inspirational

Journeyed

Keen

Leader

Memorable

Notable

Optimistic

Palm Lover

Queen of Palms

Rest In Peace

Seed Collector and Sharer

Treasured

Unique

Ventura

Wise

Xenodochial ( means Friendly to strangers)

Yes

Zest

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Pete,

Considering that you never met her, that was outstanding and as perfect as it gets! :) Yes, Pauleen most definitely had all those qualities and I'm thankful for having known her. She had a great sense of humor, and never let an opportunity slip her by. Jerry mentioned the Chamaedorea she had spraypainted. Well, she did a similar thing here in Hawaii. Or in all likelihood had Terry do the "work". When we had the Biennial here in Hawaii in May 2004, the group (4 buses, 200 people) alternated between three gardens here in lower Puna one day - my old garden, the Sullivan garden in Kapoho and the Swann garden here in Leilani Estates. Pauleen had the crownshaft of a fairly large palm painted VERY bright orange. If I recall correctly, it was a Dypsis pilulifera "orange crush", which of course would be orange anyway. But this one was REALLY orange. And it attracted a LOT of attention. That was a typical Pauleen prank and she loved that! :)

Bo-Göran

Leilani Estates, 25 mls/40 km south of Hilo, Big Island of Hawai'i. Elevation 880 ft/270 m. Average rainfall 140 inches/3550 mm

 

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I first meet Pauleen in 1984 and visited her many times in the 1980's and 90's. She was always most generous with her time and knowledge. She would drive us both around town in her car, and yes, she always grabbed the check at lunches! Her impish sense of humor always made me smile, even now, writing this. Who else would paint the leafbases of Chamaedorea hooperiana with red nail polish ?

Here is some additional information.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/venturacountystar/obituary.aspx?n=pauleen-sullivan-welsh&pid=159181850#fbLoggedOut

San Francisco, California

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It's very sad to hear this news and it's truly the end of an era. Pauleen was really the fairy godmother of the Palm Society and she was someone who was indefatigable, optimistic, funny and truly inspirational to anyone, myself very much included. She was generous to a fault in her warm spirit and I was lucky enough to have many wonderful conversations with her back in the '80s and early '90s. I hadn't seen her several Ventura gardens for years but was in the area in early July and drove by to see how they were doing, and was very happy to see they were still as amazing as ever...wow, that Ceroxylon!!! She was such an achiever and her joy rubbed off on many around her, so the palminess of southern California and the strength of the Palm Society owes much to her. She never let her wheelchair stop her from doing anything in life and indeed it was such a signature to see that wheelchair and the jet-black hair in the distance at any palm event, because you always knew you were in for a fun time. What a fantastic lady she was. It's just very strange to think she's not somehow still there...though happily I think she will be in spirit as long as those who knew her are around to conjure memories of her and of her legacy, for what a full life she led and what joy she spread! Rest in peace, Pauleen, you are very much missed.

Michael Norell

Rancho Mirage, California | 33°44' N 116°25' W | 287 ft | z10a | avg Jan 43/70F | Jul 78/108F avg | Weather Station KCARANCH310

previously Big Pine Key, Florida | 24°40' N 81°21' W | 4.5 ft. | z12a | Calcareous substrate | avg annual min. approx 52F | avg Jan 65/75F | Jul 83/90 | extreme min approx 41F

previously Natchez, Mississippi | 31°33' N 91°24' W | 220 ft.| z9a | Downtown/river-adjacent | Loess substrate | avg annual min. 23F | Jan 43/61F | Jul 73/93F | extreme min 2.5F (1899); previously Los Angeles, California (multiple locations)

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Thanks Pedro for your beautiful post! You were right on target.

I met Pauleen shortly after moving here to Leilani Estates. She and Terry came by each time they were in Hawaii. Although sympathy is only a small consolation even from the hearts of us on PalmTalk, Pauleen's loss is felt by many. Very few persons have been held in as high esteem as she was and still is! Her charm, warmth, humor and many other attributes will never be forgotten. Pauleen made a friend of everone she met. Her infectious smile made you smile, plus she had a twinkle in her eyes.

OH PAULEEN WE LOVE YOU!!! PALM QUEEN YOU ARE!!!

As Jerry said, being in a wheelchair, never stopped her from doing whatever she set out to do.

Thank you Pauleen, for being all that you are. May you rest in peace!

Enjoying MY home and garden in Leilani Estates, "K.P. Lundkvist Palm Garden"

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What more can I say about Pauleen, its all been said above. We will miss her dearly. While our Palm Queen is no longer with us her accomplishments and her memories will live on. I'm happy to have seen her interesting and beautiful Ventura property gardens on several occasions. Pauleen's "Palmetum'' in Hawaii was beautiful and unique in its own way. Showing off beautifully in the black lava soil of her Kapoho property was a huge collection of well spaced palms with not a weed to be seen. We got to see it grow in area and in maturity as each visit she made to Hawaii she'd call Silvia and I and invite us for a visit which we always thoroghly enjoyed. Despite her handicap she would drive her golf cart all around the property giving us a personal tour of the garden. Sometimes we'd go out to eat and of course she insisted on picking up the tab. She was fun and comfortable to be with, so it was sad when her son Terry (who usually accompanied her to Hawaii) told us that his mother would probably not be able to make another trip back to Hawaii as her health had begun to fail. Terry deserves much of the credit for his hard work and helping his mother obtain her Hawaiian dream garden. We will truly miss her presence as will everyone who knew her.

Hawaii Island (Big Island), leeward coast, 19 degrees N. latitude, south Kona mauka at approx. 380m (1,250 ft.) and about 1.6 km (1-mile) upslope from ocean.

 

No record of a hurricane passing over this island (yet!).  

Summer maximum rainfall - variable averaging 900-1150mm (35-45") - Perfect drainage on black volcanic rocky soil.  

Nice sunsets!

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I never met her nor have I ever been to California, but she was a very famous( and important) person, nonetheless. I feel like we lost a legend; much like when Florida lost Theodora Buhler, California is now without their palm matriarch... My condolences to her family and friends.

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What an amazing legacy she left us. I never knew her but am so grateful for her gifts to us all.

Jason Dewees

Inner Sunset District

San Francisco, California

Sunset zone 17

USDA zone 10a

21 inches / 530mm annual rainfall, mostly October to April

Humidity averages 60 to 85 percent year-round.

Summer: 67F/55F | 19C/12C

Winter: 56F/44F | 13C/6C

40-year extremes: 96F/26F | 35.5C/-3.8C

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I was happy to have met her at her Ventura garden. She was a foundational contributer at all PSSC meetings. She will be missed (but her D. decipiens et al. lives on in her memory).

JD

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  • 1 month later...

MR JERRY AND CINDY ANDERSON...

I AM VERY SORRY TO READ OF THE PASSING OF MRS PAULINE. I KNOW SHE WAS ONE OF THE REAL PROMOTERS OF PALMS AND I HAD SPOKEN TO HER ABOUT HER SEED SUPPLY AND EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE. IN CALIFORNIA WE HAVE LOST MANY OF THE SENIOR SET OF PALM ENTHUSIASTS AND GROWERS, HOWEVER I WOULD LIKE TO LET YOU KNOW THAT PALMS AND PLANTS ARE KEEPING MR CONRAD SKIMINA HEALTHY AT 89 AS WELL AS MANY OTHERS WE KNOW, WHO LIVES ARE BOTH EXTENDED AND ENRICHED BY THEIR ASSOCIATION IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WITH THESE REMARKABLE PLANTS.

I HAVE BEEN OUT OF CONTACT WITH THE PALM SOCIETY FOR MANY YEARS SO MANY OF THE PIONEER GROWERS HAVE PASSED OVER, HOWEVER THEIR AMAZING GARDENS LIVE ON AS BOTH INSPIRATION AND TESTAMENT TO THEIR PASSIONS FOR PALMS. MAY THEY ALL COME BACK IN THE COMING RESURRECTION TO CONTINUE SOON.

RESPECTFULLY YOURS

JOSEPH D'EARTH

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