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In Memoriam: Clarissa S. Willemsen


July 21, 2022

Mrs. Alan M. Willemsen, Little Compton Garden Club, Zone I

Clarissa “Chris” S. Willemsen, an outstanding horticulturist and horticulture judge, GCA President from 1997-1999 and past president and member of the Garden Club of Morristown since 1975, died on June 20, 2022. She was also a member of the Little Compton Garden Club.

Chris was a zone representative on the GCA Flower Show, Horticulture, and Judging committees, and vice chair and then chair of the Horticulture Committee. She was vice president of the GCA Executive Board and a member of the Finance, Policy Research, Strategic Planning, and Endowment committees. She was co-chair of the Centennial Committee and a member of the Board of Associates. Chris also served as a Trustee of the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.

Chris received the Catherine Beattie Medal (twice), Zone Horticulture Award, Creative Leadership Award, Barbara Spaulding Cramer Zone Floral Design Education Award, and the Medal of Merit. The Clarissa Willemsen Horticulture Propagation Award, presented at GCA Flower Shows, was established in her honor.

Chris’ leadership style was to encourage and enable others, to really listen, and to preside, not direct. She possessed a boundless energy and commitment to excellence that inspired those around her. She is remembered for her honor, respect, integrity, and friendship.







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