The San Antonio Botanical Garden is sad to report that Dr. G. Shannon Smith (1943 – 2016) died suddenly from a heart attack Wednesday evening September 14th – on his birthday. Shannon was a plantsman and lover of nature throughout his entire life. Growing up in Florida, the love of the environment came naturally.
His passion and love of plants was endless. From big and small things, Shannon noticed and appreciated all.
His work experiences included Research Fellow with the University of Florida (1967-1970), Senior Lecturer with Massey University, New Zealand (1976-1978), Horticulture professor at the University of Tennessee (1978-1980), First President and Executive Director of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (1981-1985), Director of Research and Development, Lone Star Growers, San Antonio (1985-1991), Director of Horticulture with the Missouri Botanical Garden (1991-2005). After retirement, Shannon served as Director of Research and Rare Plants for the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
He tirelessly shared this love of horticulture and botany with his cherished wife and best friend of 53 years Catherine, his two sons , Greg (wife Vicky) and Steve (wife Lauren), and his four grandchildren Tyler, Jacob, Parker and Gavin, and each and every one of his colleagues and friends. Anyone who knew him appreciated his keen wit and passionate emails. He enjoyed looking at the sunset and birds each evening while enjoying glass of wine.
Our world has lost a wonderful man who positively contributed wherever he was. His last work at the San Antonio Botanical Garden was his hand pollination of Manfreda longiflora – one of the CPC (Center of Plant Conservation) plants he was entrusted with protecting and sharing. It is comforting to know that after three years, the plants started to flower a month ago and started setting seed last week. He was beyond thrilled.
Dr. Smith was a former Secretary (1992-1993) and at-large board member of the Association and will be greatly missed in the world of public gardens.