Aloha("In the presence of the breath of life").
I am celebrating the life of the vibrant, living, Julius Boos. He and I were kindred spirits and we bonded
as, "brothers". The physical loss of my brother is very hard to take, but, I had told him that I would make offerings of beer to all of his favorite plants that are growing here in Hawaii. Topping this list are the Philodendron of the subgenus, Meconostigma. Cush-cush, Dioscorea trifida, is Julius's favorite eating, "chuba"...and I gave extra offerings to these plants. We often toasted each other long-distance for this or that. Julius has never left me in spirit.
He is here in the garden and enjoying the plants he never actually saw. I will miss my dear brother, but, each time I look at my Philodendron and cush-cush, flourishing, I know he is with me. My quest now is to test as many edible aroids as possible and to collect and grow as many Meconostigma as I can. One day we will both be exploring the rainforests of our mutual dreams.
--- On Mon, 7/12/10, Theodore Held <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Theodore Held <email@example.com>
Subject: [Aroid-l] Death of Julius Boos
To: "Discussion of aroids" <Aroid-L@www.gizmoworks.com>
Date: Monday, July 12, 2010, 3:11 AM
It is with great sadness
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 âchubasâ (âchubasâ is an endearing term invented by this aroid
list and refers to how Julius pronounced the ordinary English âtubersâ
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 âchubaâ, we could always send a
specimen to Julius and he would figure out what is was by taking a
Trinidadian by birth and inclination, his understanding of the natural
history of tropical areas was profound. His interests were
as far as I could tell. For last yearâs 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 Juliusâs 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 âexpertâ. 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 monthâs time: Julius Boos and Tricia Frank. We can only hope
that new blood will take up the leadership roles to ensure
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 âchubasâ would be exchanged. Cultivation advice would be
given. This life of the ânetâ was a huge part of what inspired Julius;
and everyone who contributed helped pump up, even more, Juliusâs
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 Juliusâs and Triciaâs 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.
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