THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST
IN MEMORIAM-FREDERICK W. CASE, JR.
With deep sadness, we note the passing of one of our most eminent members,
Fred Case on Jan. 12, 2011, at age 83 years.
Fred Case was a dedicated teacher, who inspired students to study plants. He
taught biology and natural science at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw,
Michigan, and gained a number of honors, including Outstanding Biology
Teacher in Michigan in 1971 and Outstanding Science teacher in 1987. He also
started a number of students on botanical and horticultural careers. Besides
being a teacher, Fred was active his entire life in conservation, serving on the
Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy of Michigan, and was a long time
member of the advisory committee for Michigan's Threatened and Endangered
Species law, and a strong supporter of the Michigan Nature Association. In
recognition of his teaching and outreach efforts, the American Society of Plant
Taxonomists gave Fred the prestigious Peter Raven Award in 2003. This award
is "to a plant systematist who has made exceptional efforts at outreach to nonscientists."
In the summers, in addition to working in his wonderful garden, Fred also
loved seeing plants in nature, and spent as much time as he could studying orchids, trilliums, pitcher plants, alpines, and anything else that interested him in
the wild, including butterflies and moths, which were another great love. Fred
was a great photographer and a superb speaker, much in demand internationally.
His lectures were diverse but especially focused on wildflowers, trilliums, orchids, western American alpines, woodland plants, and bog plants. They always
generated enthusiasm, were filled with original information, and never too short.
He was always willing to speak to the Michigan Botanical Club and spoke at
several Spring Forays, always skillfully using two projectors.
We owe to Fred a number of highly regarded books all of which contain information relevant to Michigan Botany. His first and probably best known book
was Orchids of the Western Great Lake Region, first published in 1964, with a
revised edition in 1987. Many beginning botanists, starting out with an interest
in orchids, like myself, learned field botany and plant hunting using this book. In
1978, we saw Wildflowers of the Northeastern States, in the Wildflowers of the
United States Color Slide Series from the New York Botanical Gardens. The text
was accompanied by 35 mm slides, and this is now somewhat of a collectors
item. Wildflowers of the Western Great Lakes Region (1999), with James R.
Wells and T. Lawrence Mellichamp, was a more complete and modern rendition.
This is a beautiful book with numerous, high quality photos. Finally, his 1997
book Trilliums, co-authored with Roberta, was an instant classic. All his books
included much horticultural as well as botanical information. He had been a research associate with the Cranbrook Institute of Science, The University of
Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and the University of Michigan Herbarium. He also made significant contributions to the Michigan Flora project, especially with many hundreds of important herbarium specimens.