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Re: Death of Julius Boos

  • Subject: Re: Death of Julius Boos
  • From: Alistair Hay <ajmhay@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 14:57:06 +1000

I am sad to hear this. Julius was a real gentleman - charming, funny, clever, immensely knowledgeable and very generous. I am so glad I had the opportunity of meeting him, as well as corresponding with him over the years.


> Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 09:11:24 -0400
> From: oppenhauser2001@gmail.com
> To: Aroid-L@www.gizmoworks.com
> Subject: [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
> Detroit
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