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For over a year Western Horticultural Society's board of directors discussed establishing a Founders Award to show appreciation to our long time members, whose foresight and dedication have resulted in the organization we enjoy today. This project came to fruition when the first Founders Award was presented to founding member John R. Dunmire (known to all as Dick Dunmire) at our annual December potluck. He was presented with a Letter of Appreciation, a vase and an album of significant events spanning the past forty-one years. 

The society was the brainchild of several nurserymen on the San Francisco Peninsula. The first organizational meeting was held on March 13, 1962, at the home of William Schmidt. September 9, 1963, marked the group's inaugural public meeting at the Los Altos Methodist Church. The first officers on the board of directors were Bill Schmidt, John Edwards, and Charles Burr. Committee appointments included Dick Dunmire, Ralph Bernstein, John Edwards, Albert Wilson and Its Uenaka. Western Horticultural Society had become the reality of their vision. 

Dick Dunmire received BA and MA degrees in English literature from Bucknell College, Pennsylvania, and taught English as a graduate student at Stanford University. He also taught English literature at the University of Kansas, before returning to California, where he worked for Sugawara's Nursery in Los Altos. He was then hired by Sunset Magazine as editor, retiring from that position in 1989. Dick edited the Western Garden Book, including its most recent revision, and wrote many articles for the magazine. Always involved in the broader horticultural community, Dick has served on the board of Pacific Horticultural Foundation and, currently, is a volunteer editor of Pacific Horticulture

Dick has been actively participating since Western Hort's founding. His dedication and commitment has been unlimited, and his vast knowledge of horticulture, which he freely shares, has been recognized and greatly appreciated. His spirit has provided the backbone of the organization. 

It is with these thoughts and gratitude to all our dedicated members that the Western Horticultural Society plans to carry on the Founders Award in some manner in future years.


– Glenda Jones

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