Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi

The ADS loses a legend

September 3, 2017

Categories: Daffodil Enthusiasts, General, Hybridizer, Hybridizing

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Yesterday when the mail came, there was an envelope with the name ‘Becky Gould Gibson” on the back, with a Winston-Salem, N.C. address, and I knew “Bill’s gone.”

Bill Gould died at age 98, on August 11, and as Becky said, “He had a long and happy life, and was feeling good almost to the last day of his life.”Bill was a painter, a photographer, a watercolorist, and also a superb hybridizer. Bill was also part of the ADS’ favorite couple.  Bill and Mary Ellen married in 1943, and lived happily together for 70 years, until January of 2015.

Becky Gould and I swapped funny stories, and shared some tears. We also remembered Eve Robertson, my dear dear friend who brought me together with the Goulds in 1997, at the first Jackson ADS Convention.  Eve inspired Bill to begin hybridizing when they were neighbors in  Greer, South Carolina, and he moved forward on the same path she set herself–daffodils with white petals (for Bill it was usually the pink cups), with substance and texture (because these two qualities were so hard to achieve in the warm climate that is Zone 7B.

Then Becky Gould brought up a practical matter.  “What should we do with his daffodils?

We’ll be putting the house up for sale in the spring, and the wonderful raised beds will be a plus. But what can the Daffodil Society do about saving his bulbs?”

She remembered that Richard Ezell had come down twice and had taken show flowers to the national convention. He was able to convince her that the bulbs should not be dug until spring, and together we persuaded her to hold off on listing the  property until “late April.”

Here is what she hopes, and offers, if we will help her coordinate it. Anybody who wants to come to Winston-Salem on their way to, or going home from, the Nashville convention, would be welcomed to dig and take the bulbs. Also, Becky was pleased with the suggestion that some bulbs could be offered at the bulb auction, with all proceeds going to the ADS.

So I’ve wound up as a temporary coordinator.  If you think you want to go  visit, with shovel and sack, let me know.

She says the metal labels are screwed down tightly in the corners of each plot.  (Bill had not named many of his crosses, but they were still being exhibited under number.  Pictures are available from about the years worth of conventions..mostly Bill won the Hybridizers 6.)

Last night I told her, look for his stud book. (She’d said they had no maps of the plantings.)

Tonight she’d called me, and they think they might have it.

If you do go to dig, I know you will keep careful records of what you did, and the only other thing I ask is that you keep me apprised (another e-folder in the Historian’s file.) of which of his crosses work in your climate, and which do not.) Remember, he was trying to grow perfectly substances large cups with pink color in a climate zone that was more amenable to jonquils.

Loyce McKenzie

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2 Responses to The ADS loses a legend

  1. Phyllis Hess, Ohio
    Phyllis Hess, Ohio
    September 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    So sorry to learn of Bill’s death he was a great supporter of ADS and a very nice man. Too many of our ADS greats are leaving us.  Prayers and sympathy to the family.

  2. Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi
    Loyce McKenzie, Mississippi
    September 10, 2017 at 8:09 am


    Plans have changed, and I think it will be better all around. The week of Sept. 28, Sara Kinne plus her usual digging/rescue crew from the Indiana Daffodil Society will meet Bill Isaak, of Virginia at the Gould home, and with Becky and Dell Gibson, get all of the surviving bulbs dug, cleaned, and set for immediate replanting in beds already ready, one in Bill’s hometown, and the other at Libby Frey’s property in Indiana.

    Other than having a few bulbs for sale in the bulb auctions, in Cincinnati in November and at the Nashville convention in 2018, there are no specific plans.

    If you would be vitally interested in testing, growing on, and reporting on some of the cultivars, contact Sara at , to get on her possibilities list for the future.