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ani, glitter

Both She and Her Husband Were Portland Rose Society Presidents

As a 'native' of the City of Roses (born in SE Portland), the annual Rose Festival has always been a part of my life. My dad grew roses and shared blooms of "Cecile Brunner" with secretaries at his office. (This rose variety is a pink polyantha that has been around since 1881.)

Our family always tried to watch the Grand Floral Parade. In 1939 (I believe), I participated in the Junior Parade with a large group of the Junior Musicians of America, who marched while playing violins.

After marrying my late husband, Robert M. MacGavin, we had a house on SE 138th and Mill, that included a backyard garden full of roses. We entered the Royal Rosarians Garden Contest for several years and in 1966 were fortunate enough to win the Grand Sweepstakes Prime Minister's trophy. (The June 8, 1966 Oregon Journal article by Andy Rocchia has a special place in our scrapbook.) We also exhibited roses over the years and after joining the Portland Rose Society in 1957 were active as officers and held various jobs.

We were also instructors in the Pacific NW District of the American Rose Society, training rose horticulture judges. When the "Rose Bug" hits you, it grabs your entire family -- and our sons Dale and Donald also tended their own bushes and exhibited roses.

Bob was President of the Portland Rose Society in 1966 and we participated in many Rose Festival activities, and rode in the parades.

Bob and Marilyn

In 1978 I was President of the PRS, and we were involved in all the activities, including rose plantings. We were especially honored to have Wini Edmunds at the planting in our yard of the rose named after her, that was attended by Royal Rosarian Prime Minister, Joe Teresi and the Portland Rose Festival Association President, Wes Radford.

Bob and Marilyn with Prime Minister and wife and PRFA President and wife

Eva Heffner -- who was PRS Judging Chairman for many years -- decided to retire, and she asked Bob to take over the job, with me as his helper. In time I became more involved and ended up as co-chairman. The Portland Rose Society honored both of us with life memberships and a special plaque in October of 1985.

In 1986, Bob was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease -- and though he still enjoyed roses, as the dementia progressed he required day care. I'd drop him off at Lambert House and park my car there before taking a bus downtown to work at the law office where I was employed. While Bob was at Lambert House we often supplied them with rose bouquets, and in October of 1988, Mayor Bud Clark visited the facility -- and the caregivers gave me a photo of Bob and the Mayor admiring the roses.

After Bob's death in 1990, I have continued with various rose-related activities, such as rose pruning demonstrations and judging at rose shows. Although I now live 21 miles east of Portland, I still feel like a "Portlander" -- and I look forward to many special activities celebrating the 'Queen of Flowers' during this Centennial year of the Portland Rose Festival.

~Marilyn Peake MacGavin (Boring, Oregon)