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- JBS-L - Josselyn Botanical Society discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Rick Speer <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Jan 2011 12:52:40 -0500
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- JBS-L - Josselyn Botanical Society discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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I'm passing along Eric Doucette's recent posting regarding the passing of
Les Mehrhoff.  Please excuse the duplicate information, however some of our
JBS members are still not connected through the website, so I wanted to get
this information out to as many as possible:


*New information regarding Les Mehrhoff*
From - Eric Doucette
Time - January 10th, 2011 @ 11:48 AM

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is with great sorrow that I send this message to you. Our good colleague,
comrade and invasive plant teacher, Les Mehrhoff, passed away of a massive
heart attack on December 22.

His colleagues at the University of Connecticut sent this message on
December 23: “This morning we learned the tragic news that one of our
dearest friends and colleagues, Les Mehrhoff, died last night of a massive
heart attack. He was home when the attack happened. His daughter Jessie
started CPR immediately and the paramedics took over when they arrived. He
was taken to the closest hospital where he passed away. The doctors told his
family that nothing could have been done to save him. Les will be cremated
and his remains spread at his favorite spot in the spring along with those
of his dogs. His wife Olga will organize a memorial service sometime after
the holidays.” A service is being planned for mid-February (for information,
contact Kathy Tebo: [ mailto:[log in to unmask] ]
[log in to unmask] or 860-486-4319 as plans progress.)

Les was instrumental in conceiving the idea for the Invasive Plant Atlas of
New England (IPANE) and has been its Director from the start, making it one
of the most useful information sources on the topic that we have in the
region. His enthusiasm about it was infectious and he was asked to speak at
numerous conferences across the nation. Those of us who had the privilege of
knowing Les and seeing him in action will remember how knowledgeable he was,
not only about invasive plants, but botany in general. As I got to know him,
I became more aware about the breadth of his knowledge, but now, in reading
others’ tributes about him (see below), I see how far-reaching it was. Even
still, he did not place himself above others and was patient toward those of
us who were still learning. He always strove to impart this knowledge in an
engaging and fun way.

Dave Wagner, Les’ colleague at UCONN has known him for many years and tells
of the many contributions that Les has made to the world of conservation and
also wonderfully captures Les’ personality:

“Les was an integral element and personality in the New England Botanical
Club, Torrey Botanical Society, the Connecticut Botanical Society, and Rhode
Island Natural History Survey. He was an active member and quintessential
catalyst in the early history of the state’s chapter of The Nature
Conservancy, the Center for Conservation and Biodiversity, The Connecticut
State Museum of Natural History, the Connecticut State BioBlitz. He was
central in IPANE, from its inception on through. The Connecticut Butterfly
Atlas was his brainchild. Perhaps most importantly he was instrumental in
efforts to draft and pass legislation in Connecticut for the protection of
rare and endangered species and controlling invasive exotics. [Beyond
Connecticut,] his efforts and reach were national in scope. We have lost a
giant… It saddens me most when death takes someone with so much life. He
livened up every meeting, every conversation. Enthusiasm and passion and
ideas bubbled out of him. Sometimes you could see and feel it coming, and
you just had to smile as he gained momentum and watched it all pour
forth….We greatly appreciated his sense of humor—not uncommonly he laughed
out loud while still plotting a story, anecdote, or practical joke…always
fun to be around. He will be sorely missed and never replaced.”

Dave says that Les’ office door "tells it all" and photographed it to share
with us (see attached). Yes, that's Les alright.

Les also founded the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group in 1997. Donna
Ellis who coordinates the group says that “his passion and knowledge of
invasive plants is the reason that CIPWG exists today.” In Massachusetts as
well, he became a trusted coach to diverse stakeholders of the Massachusetts
Invasive Plant Advisory Group as he helped us evaluate plants for

His death notice, other remembrances and tributes can be found online at the
following sites:

[ http://potterfuneralhome.com/?page_id=8 ]
http://potterfuneralhome.com/?page_id=8 (obituary)
Also, please see the additional message at the end of this letter as you may
wish to contribute memories to a book of memories being compiled for the
Les' family.

I will miss him tremendously and feel honored to have known him and worked
closely with him. Please keep Les’ wife Olga and daughter Jessie in your
thoughts as they truly must be crushed by this loss.

P.S. I just received this additional message from Steve Manning of Invasive
Plant Control, Inc. who also worked closely with Les:

"Good morning, Les's wife Olga asked that I pass along the link for his
obituary. [ http://potterfuneralhome.com/?page_id=8 ]
We are also collecting "memories" of Les from his many friends and
colleagues. For those that are interested, please take the time to write an
account of a time or meaningful event you had with Les. You may want to
include photos or scans with your memory. It can be as short as a sentence
or as long as you wish. Once compiled we will be formatting and printing a
book in Les's memory so that whomever wishes can read and fully understand
the impact Les had on so many lives. You can type this, or write/scan and
send as a PDF. Please personalize as much as you wish and send to Steven
Manning at [ mailto:[log in to unmask]
][log in to unmask] and Jesse think this would be a
wonderful tribute to remember Les by
and offer them insight into the impact Les had on so many of the people they
only heard about.

Please forward to as many of Les's friends and colleagues that you can think

Steven Manning
President, Invasive Plant Control, Inc.
PO Box 50556, Nashville, TN 37205

615-969-1309 (cell)
615-385-4319 (office)
615-385-4124 (fax)
web: [ http://www.invasiveplantcontrol.com ]www.invasiveplantcontrol.com