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Re: Michigan Hostalady-Pauline Banyai

  • Subject: Re: Michigan Hostalady-Pauline Banyai
  • From: DonWachtel@webtv.net (Don)
  • Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 13:53:05 -0400 (EDT)
  • Content-Disposition: Inline

I never knew Mrs.Banyai but this thread reminded me of a memorial
article in the Spring 1993 Hosta Journal that made me wish that I had.
It was written by Virginia Heller. I hope it is OK with the Banyai
family that I take the liberty to reproduce it here. It was difficult to
abridge Ms. Heller's thoughts because I couldn't decide what to leave
out but what is here is enough to show the affection and esteem in which
Mrs. Banyai was held. 

Pauline Banyai, the "Hosta Lady" is gone. She died in her sleep while
visiting her son Bruce and family in Hockessin, Delaware. Typical it was
of this dear soul who was so independent, unassuming and undemanding, to
slip away without bothering anyone. The trappings of high-tech
civilization were of no interest to her, creativity was. Family, plants,
and people were paramount. Her kindness was phenomenal, her patience
For years, every weekend she got up before dawn to set up her stall at
the Royal Oak Farmers' Market.....A plantsman extraordinaire, she knew
her plants. Labelling was superfluous. She never had a customer that
didn't become her friend and confidante.
How did she ever find the energy to keep up this activity? Even when she
became afflicted with heart problems, she never ceased to have concern
for others. .....or take care of and run errands for shut-ins.
The garden was a major part of her fiber. The constant interruptions,
showing friends or customers or strangers about, and talking hostas,
seemed to energize her. .....When she relaxed it was with the phone or a
handicraft project in her hands. 
Her bare feet in contact with the earth, her tools left in strategic
place, she walked one through, pointing out ....what she considered the
gems. Large or small, she knew them all and would easily point out their
virtues and idiosyncrasies.
It is no exaggeration that legions of people, a cross-section of
society, knew her, respected her, liked her.   So secure in her hosta
knowledge and understanding of the plants' cultural needs ....this
unpretentious woman never felt the need to impress anyone with her
knowledge. She just knew.
The combination of her encyclopedic knowledge of horticulture, her
uncanny ability to spot hosta seedlings and sports, coupled with the
unique ease of instant recognition of at least a thousand different
varieties makes her passing a tremendous loss to the horticultural
world. .......
Pauline spotted 'Gold Standard' in one of the shipments of plants she
had ordered. She brought it with her to her first convention in 1976 at
Mansfield Ohio. It sold for the phenomenal price of $85---then the
highest ever paid for a hosta. The rest is history. ......
Pauline was the eldest of ten (eight girls and two boys). Married in
1948, she was a widow for the last 23 years. She leaves a legacy of
having been an exceptional human being to her four sons; ....to her
daughters-in-law, .... and to her seven grandsons and two
Virginia Heller

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