Neil Bertinot of Opelousas, Louisiana passed away on the 25th day of September, 2000 at the age of 69. He suffered from esophageal cancer for the last three years. Neil's first passion was his family. He is survived by his wife, Lorraine, three sons and two daughters and their families. Neil and Lorraine have 14 grandchildren and five great-grand children, They spent many weekends and vacations camping out and traveling together.
Neil was a member of Our Lady Queen of Angel's Church where he sang in the choir. Neil served in the United States Air Force. He was an agricultural engineer and served as assistant manager of Bertinot Tractor and Implement Company of Opelousas. When this business was sold, he became the service manager for Bordelon Motors Company for two years. Neil then taught civil engineering technology at T. H. Harris Vocational Technical School for 20 years, becoming the head of this department.
Neil always had a smile on his face. He was a kind, friendly, modest and generous man who was always ready to share his time, knowledge and his iris plants with beginning hybridizers and iris lovers. Neil liked many plants and worked with daylilies for several years. His garden contained many fruit trees and berry plants.
Neil was a long time member of the Society for Louisiana Irises and a dedicated hybridizer of many choice Louisiana irises. If an iris wasn't top-notch or if it had any faults, Neil would not name
it. His high standards led to such great award winning Louisiana irises as: BELLEVUE BEAUTY, BELLEVUE BUTTERFLY, BELLEVUE COQUETTE, BELLEVUE MEDICINE MAN, BELLEVUE SIREN, BELLEVUE'S ANGELA, BELLEVUE'S DOLLY, BELLEVUE'S JASON, BELLEVUE'S LORRAINE, BELLEVUE'S MICHELLE, BELLEVUE'S MIKE, BELLEVUE'S NATIVE CHARMER, GLADYS BERTINOT, MARTHA MISTRIC CLARY and JERI.
Neil won the coveted Mary Swords DeBallion Award for JERI. He was justifiably proud of this notable accomplishment although his gentle, unassuming manner kept him from mentioning this. His last Louisiana iris introduction was GLORIA CORTEZ (Bertinot - 1998). It is a beautiful, large, ruffled, maroon flower with purple veining.
All lovers of Louisiana iris will miss Neil, although we will still have his lovely creations to enjoy forever.
Editor's Note: This announcement first appeared in the SLI Newsletter in the Winter 2000 edition.