Ed Ostheimer, a past president of the Society for Louisiana Irises and co-owner with his wife Rusty of Bois d' Arc Gardens in Shriever, Louisiana, died on July 22, 2002 as the result of an automobile accident.
Ed was a longtime member of SLI, served as president from 1986 to 1987, and was an AIS judge. With Rusty, he regularly attended all the SLI Lafayette conventions, brought many irises to shows for all to enjoy, and was an exceedingly valued member of the Society who will be sorely missed.
While most members who knew Ed will remember him from the conventions, many of us from South Louisiana had the opportunity to visit with Ed more often. I recall during one trip to the Ostheimers' garden seeing Ed on a tractor pulling heavy irrigation equipment into place among the four acres of irises. A series of persistent droughts had made extreme measures necessary. It was always interesting to hear about and observe Ed and Rusty's methods of iris culture applied to their large scale plantings.
The last time I saw Ed was in Lafayette this past Spring, selling irises for Bois d' Arc at the Festival d'Fleurs a short distance from the place where the Acadiana Chapter show was being held. Ed was manning the booth, answering questions and selling plants while Rusty took a break to visit the show.
Ed had many interests aside from irises. A number of years back he embarked on a second career, pursuing a Ph.D. in Entomology at LSU. He had received his M.A. and completed all but the dissertation for the Ph.D. At the time of his death, he worked as an agriculture consultant.
Ed was a native of Houma. He was in the United State Marines, was a Mason and was active for many years in the Boy Scouts of America. Ed was virtually a lifelong Scout. He had served as scoutmaster of two troops and was a leader who both headed and served on the District Committee. Ed specialized in training activities in the Scouts.
Members of SLI should keep Ed's family in their thoughts and prayers. In addition to Rusty, Ed is survived by their four daughters, Natalie Gaidry, Roberta Gaidry, Laura Gaidry Bell and Mary Gaidry Billings; four brothers, W. Alex, Arthur, Berwick and Sterling Ostheimer; and four grandchildren, Trevor Billings, Douglas, Miranda and Ruth Pecot.
Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the SLI Newsletter in the Summer 2002 edition.