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Hybridizer Stafford Lelean Jory (1889-1968)

Cloverdale, California, USA

From The Bulletin of the American Iris Society, No. 194(July 1969): To his friends, and they were legion, Stafford Jory bequeathed many happy memories of fun-filled trips to see irises or capture beauty on film; of "at homes" to meet the great or near-great of the iris world; of association with a good and considerate man who had an integrity that could not be compromised, an innate sense of beauty and a lively sense of humor, tempered with kindness. To the world, Stafford left a record of excellence, as architect, teacher, gardener, photographer, gentleman. He entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1908, as a student of architecture. It was an exciting and stimulating time, a time when the "Ark", under the direction of John Galen Howard, was bursting at the seams with the yeasty ferment of new ideas and new directions. In spite of his work-study load, Stafford found time to captain the varsity basketball team and to receive his A.B. in 1912, his A.M. in 1913 and Graduate in Architecture (the highest degree the university granted in this field at that time) in 1914. In 1917 he accepted both a position on Dr. Howard's professional staff and an instructorship at his university. World War I soon intervened, and Jory enlisted and taught, as an officer, at the Artillery School in Virginia. He returned to his teaching and professional posts at the end of the war.

On January 17. 1920, Stafford married a former classmate, Grace Weeks. She too held an A.M. in architecture and was a practicing architect in her own right. The young couple spent eight months of 1921 in Europe, traveling and studying architecture. Stafford Jory rose in the academic ranks to full professorship in 1944, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1956. He was involved in the design of many of the buildings on the campus, including Wheeler Hall, the Doe Library, the Law School and the Athletic Field. He taught upper division and graduate courses in architectural design and lectured on the classical period of the history of architecture. The rapport between students and professor was great. One of his students wrote, "He was most respected and loved by his students … taught them more of the absolute basics of composition and the underlying principles of architecture than anyone else. He inculcated his own sense of beauty into young people and was a great influence not only on their learning but on their characters."

Stafford Jory's interest in irises came early, soon after his arrival in Berkeley from his home town in Stockton. He met Carl Salbach, and through Carl, Sydney Mitchell. He caught Sydney's enthusiasm and benefited from his advice. Stafford first tried his hand at hybridizing with plicatas. Of this period Professor Jory used to laugh and say that he should be given credit for the success of Mitchell's plicata program; according to Jory, Sydney thought so little of Stafford's work along this line that, to show Stafford how it SHOULD be done, he started breeding plicatas himself! As he became more interested in hybridizing, Stafford's objective turned to oncobreds. His own explanation for this, in typical Jory understatement, was that few oncobred crosses "took" and that few of the seeds germinated, so that he never had more seedlings than he could grow on his small place. Actually, the sterility barrier in WILLIAM MOHR fascinated him, and he worked long and diligently to break the barrier. He and the introducer of MOHRSON were the first to do so. Stafford's GRACE MOHR and MOHRSON both were introduced in 1935.

Second generation crosses of GRACE MOHR with Reinelt's CAPITOLA (Stafford persuaded Reinelt not to throw Capitola on the compost heap, and saw that it was introduced,) gave a series of Mohr irises with delightful names—MOAB, GAZA, ASKALON, HEBRON and CANAAN—which, a Tom Wilkes so aptly remarks, were "subtly muted blends . . . flowers of refinement and yet elegance." Other Jory oncobreds were MT. ARARAT, a small plicata from Grace Mohr X Mis Muffet; and the popular award winning Purissima X Capitola crosses, MORNING BLUE and BLUE ELEGANCE. Jory's own modest appraisal of his hybridizing was that "it resulted in a lifetime of disappointment, but it was fun." On the other hand, Tom Craig said that Professor Jory had inbred the 'Mohrs' with greater success than any other hybridizer.

Stafford was a keen judge of irises and an honorary judge of AIS. In 1960 he was chairman of the International Competition jury, in Florence, Italy. No article on Professor Jory can overlook his interest in and his devotion to the camera, where his love of beauty and his sense of design were given full expression. Stafford never lost a youthful zest for life. He overrode all physical infirmities, with a love for action, an ear for a good joke, an eye for a pretty girl, a compassionate heart. He died suddenly of a heart attack, while undergoing a routine physical checkup, after returning from a picture taking trip in the Pacific Northwest. He was seventy-nine. Grace spoke for all of us when she said," Now he will never know the pain, the frustration of growing old." —Roy Oliphant


Arilbred: 'Askalon'; 'Blue Elegance'; 'Calico'; 'Canaan'; 'Gaza'; 'Grace Mohr'; 'Hebron'; 'Jory's Mt. Sinai', 'Moab', 'Morning Blue', 'Mt. Ararat',

Tall Bearded: 'Spring Cloud'.

-- BobPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r17 - 29 Sep 2020, Pamina
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