Carville M. Akehurst, a former partner in a Perry Hall nursery who ran one of the nation's largest nursery trade shows, died Friday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. He was 70 and had developed complications from a hip fracture.
In the 1960s, Mr. Akehurst cultivated and patented a new variety of azalea with reddish peach flowers called "Tropic Sun."
"It was lovely, like the tropic sunset," said his wife of 40 years, the former Nancy Brown. With his brothers and father, Mr. Akehurst was a partner in Akehurst Nurseries until 1973, when he sold his interest to devote himself to several horticultural organizations.
In 1986, he established Akehurst Management Associates, a private firm in Baltimore that at various times managed the Maryland Christmas Tree Association, the American Conifer Society and the Maryland Greenhouse Association. Later, the firm was renamed Quercus Inc.
A lifelong resident of the Baltimore area, he graduated from Kenwood Senior High School in 1948, receiving the school's highest academic award that year. He later attended Cornell University. He served in the Army from 1952 to 1954.
While working in the family nursery business, Mr. Akehurst became involved with what is now called the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association, becoming its executive secretary. He managed the group's trade show, which became one of the nation's largest when it combined with the nursery exhibitions of Virginia and West Virginia.
In 1970, he became executive vice president for the regional show, now called the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show. The show grew -- from about 80 booths to more than 1,200 -- to the point that it now fills the Baltimore Convention Center, said Ralph Quinn, a friend for 40 years and past president of the nursery association.
"He was a brilliant businessman, a wonderful friend," Mr. Quinn said. "He was able to head off a problem if it existed and work so well with people."
Mr. Akehurst was also active at Franklin Square Hospital Center, helping to raise money for its construction in the 1960s and later serving as president of its board of trustees.
He served in many civic roles. Gov. Marvin Mandel appointed him chairman of the Regional Planning Council, and Gov. Harry R. Hughes appointed him to the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. In 1982, he became the first chairman of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Camp Chapel United Methodist Church, 5000 E. Joppa Road, Perry Hall.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Natalie Marano of Philadelphia, Heather Krause of Baltimore, Vanessa Finney of Baltimore and Allison Akehurst of Ketchum, Idaho; and six grandchildren.