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World-class gardener's enthusiasm spread to family

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Mary Pope

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By Jerry Vondas
Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 8:24 p.m.
 

Garden clubs across the eastern United States recognized Mary Pope's reputation as a gardener who specialized in dallies, irises and daffodils.

Her resume read like a Who's Who in gardening circles: member of the Forest Hills Garden Club, Pennsylvania State Garden Club Federation and Edgewood Garden Club, of which she was a past president.

Mary Ellis Pope of Edgewood died on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in UPMC Monroeville. She was 82.

Mrs. Pope's specialties earned recognition from the National Gardening Club Federation. She received the Elizabeth Potts Amidon Horticulture Award, the District VII Hummingbird Award and was on the roll of honor for the Garden Club Federation.

Mrs. Pope grew up in West Milford, W.Va., one of six children of steelworker John Parsons Ellis and his wife, Mary Catherine Arehart Ellis.

She met her husband, John Pope, at West Virginia University. They became known as a dynamic duo often called upon to judge flower shows.

“Mary got me involved shortly after we were married,” said her husband, a retired steel industry executive. “It wasn't too long after we moved to Edgewood that I began to garden.

“We soon became a team, which pleased a lot of the groups that called Mary to judge their shows. They knew there were two judges available.”

Her husband said the couple explored gardens in other countries during a 1999 European trip.

“While in England, we visited the famous English gardens, which were a far cry from the devastation I saw while serving in the Navy in England after the end of World War II,” he said.

Mrs. Pope's daughter, Lynn Borders of Tucson, said her parents often recruited her and her siblings to help. “On the day before a show, she had us cleaning the areas around the garden.”

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Pope is survived by children Bill Pope of Chicago, Carol Hallberg of Edgewood, Kathryn Pope of Swissvale, and Jane Richmann of Tucson; five grandchildren; and siblings Mark Ellis and Eleanor Flowers.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home Inc., 7441 Washington St., Swissvale.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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