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Jim Wright, San Diego, CA


Phil

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Mod Edit: Another topic dedicated to Jim's memory is HERE

Readers and Palm Society Members

It saddens me deeply to tell you of the passing of a dear friend of mine and the Palm Society, Jim Wright. Jim was one of the original members of the PSSC and the IPS. He started collecting palms and planting out his garden in the Bay Park area of San Diego in the early 1960's. His garden has been on tour many times for the enjoyment of Palm Society members. He has written many articles for Society publications and was an excellent grower of rare palm species. He propagated many plants himself. He was a true friend of many. Known for his hospitality and friendly nature, Jim welcomed total strangers to tour his garden. His garden, although not huge, was one of the most cherished palm gardens in our area. His now deceased wife, Lise, and Jim spent countless time over many decades developing the garden and making it a real showpiece of gardening excellence. The garden was photographed and featured in many national magazines over the years.

Jim, with his wife Suzan at the time, bought his home and property in 1963. It had not landscaping at the time. For some unknown reason he developed a passion for palm trees and tropical plants. Soon after moving into his new home, he started collecting rare palms from anywhere he could find them. He became friends with Ed Moore of San Diego and Rudy Lasaga, both of whom have since passed away. He made friends with many pioneering and original palm enthusiasts in Southern California and, species by species, added more exotic palms to his garden.

He raised three children in his home. In the approximate mid 1970's he married Lise, who shared his passion for the plants. This passion led them to purchasing the house next door to the south and expanding their garden. Not only did they grow palms, but both also had a passion for other tropical plants including bromeliads, roses and orchids. Jim was famous for mounting epiphytes on the trunks of overhead palms. And, he meticulously maintained the garden. It didn't matter when you dropped by, the garden was always beautiful and ready to show.

Because of his broad interest in many types of plants, not only was Jim a member of the Palm Society, he was also deeply involved with the Bromeliad and Orchid Societies and had literally hundreds of friends throughout the plant communities in the San Diego area. He had a vast knowledge about plants that he was always willing to share with others. He was very generous with his time and energy when it came to plant matters. He was always a friend to all.

Jim was the one who originally got me involved with palms. I met him in the very early 1970's while I was in medical school. We did research together at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. We later traveled to Antarctica. This was followed by trips to South America and many other exotic locations. From the beginning, Jim told me "you've got to try some palm trees". I did listen and thereafter developed my keen interest in palms. But, he was the impetus that got me involved from the beginning. I have always felt indebted to Jim for this and thank him for his time and energy in getting me into palm trees. It's a great loss for me to know he's no longer there to chat over the phone about plants, weather or whatever. I could tell countless stories about Jim but that'll have to wait for another day.

In more recent times Jim had been plagued with health issues. He was hospitalized at Thornton Hospital, UCSD, in La Jolla several days ago. I visited him yesterday afternoon and, typical of Jim, even to the end he was very friendly, talkative and likeable. And, yes, we did talk about plants and the garden yesterday. But, he knew his end was near and told me he was ready. As much as I didn't want to hear that, I did acknowledge him and tell him he'd be dearly missed.

He passed away at about 10:15 PM last night. He is survived by his son, Steve and daughter Stacy. At present I have no information on any memorial services.

Phil Bergman
San Diego, California

Jungle Music Palms and Cycads, established 1977 and located in Encinitas, CA, 20 miles north of San Diego on the Coast.  Phone:  619 2914605 Link to Phil's Email phil.bergman@junglemusic.net Website: www.junglemusic.net Link to Jungle Music Palms and Cycads

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Very sad news, and a most accurate sketch of Jim's gardening life. Thank you, Phil.

I meet Jim in 1983, hardly knowing a palm from a cycad. He was instrumental in directing me to the best choices for my garden.

San Francisco, California

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I can only add to what has to be mentioned first in any memories about Jim. It would be impossible to say anything about Jim without a mention of his energy, passion, and genuine infectiousness about plants and gardening. It was ever present in all of my many enjoyable talks and visits with him.

And as you have been reading before my comments, and will be afterwards as well, Jim was one of the gardening and palm world's most effective ambassadors. You could not have met Jim and not have some of his upbeat spirit rub off on you. As he lit Phil's interest in palms/plants - and Phil in turn has helped pass that interest to countless others - Jim's enthusiasm is alive and well in hundreds, if not thousands, of us.

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Kona, on The Big Island
Hawaii - Land of Volcanoes

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What a wonderful, generous spirit he was!

I remember the first time touring his garden when Lise was still alive. Boardwalks all over, like being in a jungle, Hedyscepe soaring overhead, along with Euterpe edulis (with acai berries!), and Linospadix, and so much more.

The world is now a sadder place. I will miss him.

Here's a picture of Mr. Wright in his garden (with the gray beard, second from right). I'll let the rest of you self-ID if so inclined . . .

RIP, amigo.

MEMBERS+PIC+2.JPG?format=1000w

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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Sad news, sad news. Jim's was one of the very first gardens I visited as a brand new member of the PSSC, and the garden and the man left an indelible impression on me. Walking through his garden felt like disappearing into a dense and beautiful jungle, something precious around every corner. You could not believe it was on a typical residential lot; with the crossing boardwalks through it and the tall and dense plantings going uphill toward the back, it felt so much larger. The green trunks of his Howea forsteriana and the impossibly long fronds of his Rhopalostylis sapida were astonishing. Even more, Jim, as host was so incredibly enthusiastic and sharing of his vast experiences with palms and other plants. I first knew him from the San Diego Bromeliad Society, where he always brought the most meticulously grown tillandsia and vriesea specimens to share at meetings. I'm sure I never saw Jim without a smile on his face and a kind word from his heart. He was uncommonly good natured, and his enthusiasm will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.

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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Oh I'm so sad to hear this. I first met Jim at his house back in the early 90's. He was a gracious host and spent quite a bit of time showing me around his yard. Other than the palms, I remember his vast collection of epidendrum orchids he had and all the different colors they came in. He was very kind and truly enjoyed visitors that came by. I remember this because he pulled out a book and had me sign and date it because he was so proud of all that came by over the years. RIP....Jim.

Searle Brothers Nursery Inc.

and The Rainforest Collection.

Southwest Ranches,Fl.

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I did not meet Jim until a palm society meeting at his home about 5 years ago. I remember his friendly, kind demeanor. He took such pride in sharing his garden; he made sure that everyone who came through signed his guest book. I got the impression that he treasured that. Sometime after that he stopped by my house, as he was attending a garden tour of a neighbor. We chatted a bit & I asked him if I could stop by sometime to see his garden with my wife. I still remember his reply: "Why Bret, it would be MY honor to show you around"! A kinder, more cheerful soul, I've never met.

Bret

 

Coastal canyon area of San Diego

 

"In the shadow of the Cross"

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I did not meet Jim until a palm society meeting at his home about 5 years ago. I remember his friendly, kind demeanor. He took such pride in sharing his garden; he made sure that everyone who came through signed his guest book. I got the impression that he treasured that. Sometime after that he stopped by my house, as he was attending a garden tour of a neighbor. We chatted a bit & I asked him if I could stop by sometime to see his garden with my wife. I still remember his reply: "Why Bret, it would be MY honor to show you around"! A kinder, more cheerful soul, I've never met.

AMEN!

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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Very sad to hear this. My friend lived next door and before I was into palms I couldn't help but be drawn into his garden. He caught me snooping through his front yard and instead of shooing away some young punk he invited me to see the rest of his garden. It was my first garden tour and my first interaction with a palm person. I can't help but feel his kindness made palms Much more than just plants to me. Very sad but I'm glad I got to meet him.

"it's not dead it's sleeping"

Santee ca, zone10a/9b

18 miles from the ocean

avg. winter 68/40.avg summer 88/64.records 113/25

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I spoke to Jim at the Darien palm tour last month and he seemed to be happy. It's always a bummer to hear this sort of news. I hope his palms keep growing and his garden continues.

RIP Jim.

Jerry D. Andersen

JD Andersen Nursery

Fallbrook, CA / Leilani Estates, HI

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Jim was a man without a single mean bone in his body. He was allways full of positive words and upbeat conversation he was one of the first people I met at a palm meeting and he immediately invited my wife and I over for a tour of his fantastic garden which we did several times. He was very enthusiastic when he toured our garden and allways asked how things were growing. We have several of his palms growing in our garden We are really going to miss him he was the kind of guy this world needs more of. RIP old friend

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I had the pleasure of meeting Jim 2 yrs ago when palmcurry drove me down to his place for the day - Amazing garden and amazing man that was so hospitable and generous with his time . We decided to take Jim for lunch and he charmed the pretty young waitress with his jokes and wit !

RIP Jim you will be sadly missed !

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

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Jeff Marcus asked if I would post this on his behalf:

"My wife and I were shocked to hear about the passing of Jim Wright a few days ago..He was a true gentleman and a great palm enthusiast. Jim always called us to check on our weather in Hawaii and if storms were coming and was so kind and genuine..He is in that group of the original palm growers and had a great California garden in San Diego..He was a mentor and friend and so kind to Suchin..The photo was from late September 2014 at a gathering of friends at Randy Moore's new home in Carlsbad.He will be missed but not forgotten and today is a sad day"...Jeff Marcus

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Kona, on The Big Island
Hawaii - Land of Volcanoes

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I was sad to read this news on FB while I was away recently. Its hard to add anything to what has been said here already. The world was a better place while Jim was here and it will be a sadder place now that he is gone. But oh the joy and enthusiasm he gave to everyone he met! I was so happy I stopped and chatted with him at the recent tour at Mardys. As usual we talked about him finally coming up to tour my little patch of jungle, it was always "someday, we gotta do that".. I always figured it would happen.. now it will not. Yet surely his view now of my garden from above will be the best way to thank him for his his friendship and his fantastic work as an "Ambassador for all and the goodwill of the world".

Jim was that kind of guy. Thanks for being who you were Jim. RIP

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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  • 2 weeks later...

As many of you know already, we have set up a "Celebration of the Life of Jim Wright" service at SDBG (formerly Quail Botanical Garden) to be held on Saturday morning, 26 September. Jeff Brusseau published more information of this service, see link below.

Phil Bergman

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/46825-james-wright-celebration-of-life/?hl=%2Bjim+%2Bwright

Jungle Music Palms and Cycads, established 1977 and located in Encinitas, CA, 20 miles north of San Diego on the Coast.  Phone:  619 2914605 Link to Phil's Email phil.bergman@junglemusic.net Website: www.junglemusic.net Link to Jungle Music Palms and Cycads

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  • 2 weeks later...

 To all those planning to attend the Celebration of Life for Jim please log on to the website listed below as we need a head count.

Thanks!

 

To All Concerned:

I wanted to follow up with an update on the upcoming Celebration of Life for Jim Wright.

For ease of following I will continue with the format of my 8-21-15 post and update each item in Black. Items which require no further action are marked as Complete . All items requiring additional work are marked , Continue.

 

We just confirmed the date of the Celebration of Life for Saturday September 26th at the San Diego Botanic Garden (“SDBG”). Complete

The celebration will commence promptly at 9 AM and run till approx. 11 AM . we will need to be out of the event venue by noon as there will be a wedding setting up after we finish. We will need several volunteers to arrive approx.. 8 am to help with setup of the event including but not limited to the following: Set up of memory tables, Plant display, drink coolers for water and soda, desserts/snacks, etc. Continue

Those that want to socialize or enjoy the garden can stay as long as they like outside the celebration venue. Confirmed, Complete

 

I am not an event planner nor do I intend to become one so I really need everyone’s help to make this a truly memorable celebration for Jim. The Orchid Society has really been great as have several others. Ivan Allen is the lead party at the SDCOS and he has provided the following.

     The San Diego County Orchid Society (SDCOS) has found it convenient to setup a Volunteer Website to get a count of how many will attend an event, the job they will perform at the event - if any- and a quick way to communicate with these people (they log onto the website with their e-mail address).  I have setup a Volunteer Website, for Jim's  celebration at "www.volunteersignup.org/FHYCB". 

 The website can be modified once jobs are defined - Ushers, bring food, serve food, setup tables, setup chairs, speak at the event, whatever.  

     If you look at the website, you will see that 9 people have signed up, for a total of 12 people.  All are listed as "Attendees".  Again, this will be changed when jobs are defined.  Also, Scott Labouff has 14 additional people that replied directly to him.  I will integrate these people after jobs have been defined.

    This website works for people with computers, they just log on and register.  For people who do not have computers, they just call me at 760-533-4975, and I add them to the list.

 

I would like to ask that all parties utilize the Volunteer Website above to confirm attendance and job duties. If you have further questions please contact Ivan or myself.

 

Some of the aspects for consideration are as follows:

  1. We will need an Officiant for the Celebration. I will act as the Officiant. Complete

     

  2. A Guest Booklet should be purchased so all attendees can sign in and leave their contact info and messages to the family. Stacy Wright has purchased and will bring to the event. Complete

     

  3. Name Tags should be purchased so all attendees can be identified easily. Stacy Wright has purchased and will bring to the event. Complete

     

  4. A Memorial Booklet will need to be prepared with the Celebrations itinerary as well as pictures of Jim and sayings that he liked. Jims daughter Stacy is heading up this task. Stacy Wright has purchased and will bring to the event. The format may want to be updated to reflect the event activities. Continue

     

  5. We will want several speakers who were very close to Jim and want to share some good history, positive uplifting stories, etc. The SDBG will provide the PA. We currently have six speakers as follows, Jeff Brusseau- Palm Society of Southern California (“PSSC”), International Palm Society ,(“IPS”) and friend, Horace Hobbs- IPS and friend, Peter Tobias- Orchid Conservation alliance and friend, Krista Mills – friend, Scott Labouff- San Diego County Orchid Society (“SDCOS”)and friend, Tom Biggart- SDCOS and friend. Please confirm with me the amount of time you estimate to speak so we can schedule appropriately. Continue

     

  6. We will want a  few Memory Tables with lots of photos, personal effects, special plants ,etc. The SDBG will provide the tables. I am hopeful these tables can be set up by the SDCOS volunteers with help with the personal effects to be provided by Stacy Wright and Pattie Byrd. Continue, 

     

  7. The Celebration should have music and we will need someone to select songs that meant allot to Jim and are appropriate to be played at different times during the Celebration. Unless we know any musicians that would like to play at different times we will need the music recorded and composed in the order we want it played. The devise and format for playback will need to be coordinated with the SDBG. This is an open item and needs to be addressed. Phil Bergman is trying to arrange some musicians ,But I believe we should have recorded music lasting approximately from 8:45 am till noon. Who can handle this and coordinate the mode of playback with SDBG? Continue

     

  8. We would like to have a ceremonial planting of a palm and perhaps some of Jims other favorite plants. The location and plant selection will need to be coordinated with the SDBG. Phil Bergman is confirming a location as well as what plants can be planted. We will need people to donate the plants approved for planting. Continue

     

  9. We would like a bench dedication with a plaque acknowledging Jim and Lise Wright. The type of bench ,location in the garden and plaque will need to be coordinated with the SDBG. Phil confirmed the cost for the bench with SDBG at $15,000. In light of the significant cost this is not something that we are able to pursue. Complete

     

  10. Some have suggested having a few tables were we could make available plants of the many genus and species Jim loved and propagated. These could be made available on a donation basis with the monies raised used to offset the costs of the Celebration. I have received mixed responses privately from a few on this aspect. Unless the SDCOS wants to bring and sell/give away some of the orchids Jim gave to them I believe we should eliminate this idea from the celebration. Continue

     

  11. Card stock could be purchased and handed out with the Memorial Booklet to allow Guests to write Farewell Messages to be given the family. Stacy Wright has purchased and will bring to the event. Complete

     

  12. One of the things I have seen done is a Butterfly Release. This might be a nice touch and clearly appropriate given Jims love of nature. I have investigated this and the cost is estimated at $ 350. I believe we can cover this cost from volunteer donations. Continue

     

  13. Refreshments – Liquid refreshments and perhaps some sweets could be offered upon arrival and at the end of the Celebration. I am hopeful this aspect can be provided by the SDCOS as well as suggesting attendees bring a dessert/snack of their choice. Continue

     

  14. Open Mike- A member of the SDCOS has suggested an open mike time when a volunteer will walk the mike around and allow those in attendance who want to say a few words about Jim an opportunity to do so.Continue

 

The list above is by no way set in stone or all inclusive. No other suggestions were offered, Complete

We are completely open to all ideas and really need several of you to step up and volunteer to help run with any of the items above.

We need some approx. head counts from each organization so we can establish a magnitude of Guests . The SDBG will we providing the chairs, tables, PA ,etc. Still need head counts, Continue

It is undetermined what the total costs will be and we will be looking for contributions from all those that would like to do so. At this point the only known costs that are not covered by the family or other individuals are the butterfly release. Continue

Jeffry Brusseau

"Cuesta Linda"

Vista, California

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