I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting both Tony and Dorothy
at the Region 6 Spring meeting last year and they proved to be some
of the kindest, most helpful, friendly, knowledgable, giving, and
considerate people I've met in the iris world. Most of my
interactions are on-line so having never seen the Willots I didn't
know that Tony had sat beside me during the judges' training class.
His comments and observations were invaluable.
During the training Paul Black showed a seedling with greyed coloring
which prompted a sea of groans from people that thought it was ugly.
I spoke up and said I thought it was beautiful. Tony really impressed
me when he turned to me and said he (Paul) should listen to your
opinion too, because if you like it there's a market for it.
In that one weekend I learned that Tony was open-minded enough to not
just simply dismiss things and to really try to see things from
another person's point of view. My appearance alone sometimes
confuses iris people(I have a tendency to wear black and I'm a male
with long hair(though I plan to cut it soon)) and he never even
acknowledged that I didnt come across as the average irisarian.
I will always be grateful for the short time I did have with him that
weekend and I am very sad to learn that I won't have that opportunity
again. I'm not looking forward to telling my sister either, because I
know that she loved his personality (let alone the countless things
he has done for the iris community).
Dorothy if you read this please know that you have an entire
community on your side and offering support.