July 21, 2017
I am writing to let you know that yesterday I learned our beloved Buxton member, Normand Dufresne, passed away on June 5, exactly one month following his 88th birthday. Normand was a central part of Buxton for countless years, not only sharing his extensive knowledge of begonias, but also sharing those species, whether it be a leaf cutting or young species he had started from seed. Normand presented Plant of the Month for years, telling us about the begonia, but also his experience growing that begonia. It was so interesting and so very useful. I don't know that I ever saw Normand when he didn't carry a genuine smile and sense of happiness being with other members of ABS near and far. I was told that Normand passed away peacefully and at home in his favorite chair, exactly where he wanted to be.
In 2014, Normand was awarded the ABS Eva Kenworthy Gray Award. Below is the award information read by Cheryl Lenert at the 2014 ABS Convention, when presenting the ABS awards.
The Eva Kenworthy Gray Award is given for contributing original material toward helping the rank and file members further their study of begonias. This individual has been a member for many decades. These many years have been filled with much dedication to growing, sharing, and writing about rare and unusual seeds and begonias. Many of the subject begonias in these writings were produced and grown, and then shared with countless members over the years. This person’s monthly contributions of articles to the local branch newsletter have been reprinted in various newsletters and publications. He has been a great help to the editors of The Begonian for his ability to translate French from foreign members and French Scientific journals. The 2014 Eva Kenworthy Gray Award is presented to – Normand Dufresne.
I talked with Normand last year as I prepared the program on hybrids named for ABS members who've made significant contributions to ABS, and when asked his favorite thing about ABS, he said, "The people are so great. I see some one or two times a year, when when I do, they give you a big hug, like you were a life-long friend." When asked what his favorite begonias were, B. froebelii was his favorite. Others were B. kingiana (mottled form), B. goegoensis, B. goudotii from Madagascar and he said has very large leaves, and any and all begonias from Malaysia.
I know we are all grateful to have known this special person.
Normand's Obituary can be seen by clicking here