Judith R. Clemson, 78

Avid gardener

June 30, 2008|By Rona Marech

Judith R. Clemson, a garden lover with a knack for making colorful arrangements and growing orchids, died of bladder cancer June 21 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was 78.

Mrs. Clemson was an alumna of Girls' Latin School in Baltimore and the Maryland College for Women in Lutherville, where she studied education. For several years after her college graduation, she taught preschool to disabled children, some of whom had been blinded after birth because of a shortage of oxygen in their incubators.

She and her husband met when their best friends married, wed in 1954 and raised two children. They lived in Pennsylvania, then Gibson Island and eventually Annapolis.

Mrs. Clemson was a dedicated volunteer at garden clubs, including the Gibson Island Garden Club and the Federated Garden Club of Maryland, where she served as president. Last year, she completed a term as the president of the Central Atlantic Region of National Garden Clubs Inc. She judged master flower shows and worked as an administrator at the clubs, which emphasize conservation and education.

She won many awards for her floral designs and grew orchids in her homes. In Annapolis, she had about 40 kinds of orchid growing on her porch. People would frequently ask her for cultivation tips.

She also loved snorkeling and the beach; in recent years she traveled to vacation spots including the Mediterranean, Alaska and the Caribbean.

A memorial was held at St. Christopher by the Sea on Gibson Island.

She is survived by her husband, D. Buckey Clemson; a son, D. Buckey Clemson Jr. of Pasadena; a daughter, Kathryn Verbanic of Gibson Island; and a brother, John T. Robertson III of Cambridge, Mass.

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