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Quercus xjackiana acorns
The hybrid of Q. alba and Q. bicolor

In Memoriam: Riet van Hoey Smith (1923–2020)

In early November Trompenburg Arboretum announced the sad news that Riet van Hoey Smith had died on October 24th, aged 97. Gert Fortgens, Director of Trompenburg Tuinen & Arboretum, wrote to me: "A wise and modest woman passed away quietly and in peace. She counted the days since Dick’s death now ten years ago." (See Oak News & Notes Vol. 15, No. 1, 2011, pp. 6 & 12)

Riet and Dick
Riet and Dick van Hoey Smith at their home in Trompenburg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2010 © Guy Sternberg

Riet was the managing partner who made her husband Dick one of the foremost tree people on the planet. Usually working in the background, she was always there to help him sort slides, find things, pick and label seeds, handle visitors, and see that everything was done perfectly and on time. She was the one who kept all the records straight as Dick ran excitedly from tree to tree gathering acorns during the California IOS conference in 1997. She persuaded him that they should come to America to participate in the 2000 IOS conference, where I was to present him with the very first IOS award as a surprise. She knew about it but he did not, and she was effective in bringing him without giving any clue about our secret mission. I still recall the wink she gave me as he, stunned beyond words, received it. She also had been my gracious hostess every time I stayed with them at their home in beautiful Trompenburg. Her passing is the final chapter of her generation, the end of an era, and a sad landmark event for all who knew her.

IOS Award