By Jim Morris

Perry Dyer (1955—2018)

The loquacious and talented Perry Dyer, 63, of Blanchard, OK in Region 22 died of a second heart attack on September 3, 2018. He had just recently celebrated his birthday of August 17, 1955 and was recovering from his first attack when he succumbed. He is survived by his sister Kathleen.

Perry Dyer (1955-2018)

Perry had a BA in Music majoring in Piano Performance from the U. of Oklahoma in 1977. He was a longtime pianist for the Disciple Christian Church in New Castle, OK. Perry's career was with the Federal Aviation Administration performing in a lead inventory management position. This was a high pressure job, and was one of the reasons he hadn't issued a catalog or done any serious hybridizing the past dozen years. He retired in 2013 after 36 years of service.

Facebook posting by his friends and former co-workers depicted him as funny, sincere, dramatic, profane, zany, and unpredictable, yet someone who was very serious and knowledgeable about irises—someone to be remembered.

Perry's intense interest in irises was begun in grade school with strong support from his mother Kitty. He was the first winner in 1974 of the AIS Clarke Cosgrove Youth Achievement Award. He was a talented hybridizer who registered 44 irises, introducing 38 of them via his Contemporary Gardens listing. He had early success with 21 HMS, and 9 AMS. 'Silent Strings' (1979, IB) won the Sass Medal in 1985; 'Soft Spoken' (1980, BB) won the Knowlton Medal in 1988; and, 'Serenity Prayer' won the Cook-Douglas Medal in 1995. The latter is the classic example of excellent marketing of a new introduction. Perry knew he had a winner when he first saw it as seedling L-4. He increased the stock and sent it free to almost all the 65 Median Iris Society display gardens for the year of introduction.

Josephine Muller Shanks, a lifetime member of the Society for Louisiana Irises (SLI), passed away on November 25, 2019. She was born in Houston in 1934.

She attended Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA and graduated from Rice Institute. She married Rex Shanks in 1956 and they moved to New York. Returning to Houston she became very active in many activities in the Houston area.

She loved tennis and often attended the River Oaks Tennis Tournament each April. She served on the boards of St. John’s School, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Junior League of Houston, The Friends of Fondren Library, The Contemporary Arts Museum and Rice’s Shepherd School of Music and the Garden Club of Houston.

A picture of the Louisiana Iris 'Dr. Dormon' hybridized by Sidney Conger

by Ron Killingsworth ca Fall 2007

Sidney Conger was born in July 1924, in his grandparent's home at Arcadia, La. He died in August 1993, in Houston, Texas, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston, La. Sidney's wife of almost 40 years, Bette Lee Davis Conger, now resides near her daughter in Maryland. Sidney and Bette Lee had two boys and a girl and the children were raised in the family home in Arcadia.

Wayland Rudkin, a hybridizer of Louisiana Irises and Tall Bearded Irises

When I graduated from Tracy Hi in 1942 I had no idea I would be hybridizing irises when I was 80. However, there should have been some clues. The Busch and Lomb Science Award was given to me for taking four years of science classes. My father, wanting to teach me about the birds and bees, arranged to get me on a field trip with a almond grower and his daughter. We went to the University of California at Davis to learn how to pollinate fruit trees.

Marvin Granger is honored by the American Iris Society with the award of the Distinguished Hybridizer Award

Congratulations to Marvin Granger of Lake Charles, Louisiana, who was selected at the fall board meeting of the American Iris Society to receive the Distinguished Hybridizer Medal at their annual convention in Memphis, Tennessee, this April. This is quite an honor and especially so for a hybridizer of one of the 'other irises' like Louisianas.

Marvin Granger who hybridized many "double" and "cartwheel" Louisiana Irises.

It would take a book-length article to write about and describe all the things and people that influence hybridizing of the Louisiana iris. It all began after World War II, around 1946 or a little later, when I got into the field of serious hybridizing. My sister and I had been collecting the blue GC's (I.giganticaerulea) whose main habitat was in the marshes of Cameron Parish, that was a short drive south of Lake Charles, Louisiana in Calcasieu Parish.

John Taylor, the winner of the AIS Hybridizers Medal
Congratulations to John Taylor, our Louisiana Iris hybridizer from Rainbow Ridge Nursery in Dural, NSW, Australia. Taylor has been voted the Hybridizer Medal of the American Iris Society at their Fall Board Meeting.