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RES: Death of Julius Boos

Dear aroiders,

I can´t write properly right now, because my mind is a little disturbed by
this message. Even considering that we were already aware about his state,
is hard to wonder our world without our good friend Julius and I confess I
have been avoiding this subject in my own thoughts. You only had to spend a
few hours in a free conversation with him to fall in love with that "Julius´
way of life". His passion for plants (and for people), his charming sense of
humour and his deep sense of humanity.  It is really hard to imagine that
Julius lived in Trinidad, since his heart was bigger (and warmer) than
Venezuela! Our chubas will never look the same without him. Even considering
that we have lived pretty far from each other, Julius was the best friend I
have ever had. The world lost a fantastic naturalist and we lost one of the
most complete human beings I have ever met in my whole life. It is a sad day
for the aroid people... 

My deepest condolences,

Curador Botânico e Paisagista
Jardim Botânico

Rua B, 20 
35460-000 | Brumadinho | MG | Brasil
+55 31 3571.6638  Ramal Fixo 107         +55 31 9604.8618  Ramal 380
Rua Antônio de Albuquerque, 215 | Funcionários
30112-010 | Belo Horizonte | MG | Brasil 
+55 31 3223.8224          
Antes de imprimir, pense em sua responsabilidade com o Meio Ambiente.

-----Mensagem original-----
De: aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com
[mailto:aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com] Em nome de Theodore Held
Enviada em: segunda-feira, 12 de julho de 2010 10:11
Para: Discussion of aroids
Assunto: [Aroid-l] Death of Julius Boos

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I report the passing this weekend of the
incomparable Julius Boos. Even passive readers of this space will recognize
the importance of this man for the world of aroids and in the vitality of
the discussions that are recorded here. While we are blessed with a number
of remarkable people in the International Aroid Society, few will argue that
Julius was one of the most remarkable.
Anyone fortunate enough to have met him personally will remember the
radiance of his personality. He was just as ready to speak on equal terms
with the greenest greenhorn as with seasoned aroid specialists steeped in
decades of experience. I am grateful to have known him as a friend. Julius
had many, many friends.

Of course, we all knew him as an authority on aroids, especially regarding
their practical cultivation and the fascinating interface of the plants with
humans. He was a special expert in the world of edible aroid ?chubas?
(?chubas? is an endearing term invented by this aroid list and refers to how
Julius pronounced the ordinary English ?tubers?
in his charming Trinidadian accent), taking advantage of his lifetime in
South America, Florida, and the Caribbean islands, and his unapologetic love
of food. We were fond of joking that if a dispute arose about the identity
of an aroid ?chuba?, we could always send a specimen to Julius and he would
figure out what is was by taking a bite.

Trinidadian by birth and inclination, his understanding of the natural
history of tropical areas was profound. His interests were unlimited as far
as I could tell. For last year?s International Aroid Society Annual Show, I
was fortunate to have the opportunity of driving him from his home in West
Palm Beach to Miami. Although already experiencing the effects of his cancer
at that time, he spoke to me almost nonstop the entire way. Topics ranged
widely. Invariably one thing reminded him of another and so the threads of
conversation would wander here and there, but always coherent and never
tedious. I should emphasize that Julius?s knowledge of his favorite topics
was extensive, well-considered, and typically included a host of acute
observations and facts that you would not find written down anywhere (except
perhaps in one of his own writings). He involved himself in disputes on
occasion with this or that ?expert?. I would love to know his lifetime
batting average in these differences of opinion. My bet is that Julius was
right more often than he was wrong.

All his conversation was interspersed with an amazing set of anecdotes drawn
from his wide experience. Much of what he knew will die with him, of course.
Many of his stories related to interesting individuals, now long dead, with
particular knowledge lost to history.
Several of these stories were recorded by him in past months and are
available for all to hear on the web site of his friend and neighbor, Ted
Knight (www.tedknight.com/julius/julius.htm). I recommend listening to them
as they not only relate the particular history, but capture the cadence and
beautiful accent that made Julius such an engaging raconteur. This site also
hosts quite a few pictures of Julius and friends.

Now we have lost two pillars of the International Aroid Society in a short
month?s time: Julius Boos and Tricia Frank. We can only hope that new blood
will take up the leadership roles to ensure the continued success of our
organization into the future. This would be the finest memorial for the both
of them.

Readers here should also know how important Aroid-L was to Julius. In his
prime (not so many months ago) he would be in the thick of extended
back-and-forth discussions of identification clarifications and of mysteries
being hashed out. Frequently the topic would shift slightly and involve any
number of interesting tangents. Dry botanical terms would be explicated.
Recipes for tasty island dishes incorporating ?chubas? would be exchanged.
Cultivation advice would be given. This life of the ?net? was a huge part of
what inspired Julius; and everyone who contributed helped pump up, even
more, Julius?s already high energy level. In his waning days he would still
read the posts, occasionally typing in some abbreviated response despite
being so weak. Your postings inspired him to the last and made enduring his
miserable disease easier.

It is a sad time for all of us. As always, life will go on and all of us in
the International Aroid Society hope that the upcoming show this fall will
serve to continue Julius?s and Tricia?s work to inform the world of the
deeper joys of keeping our favorite plants. May they both rest in peace and
know that the work goes on.

Julius is survived by his dear wife, Suzie. My thoughts are with her.

Ted Held

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