Dr. Harold Franklin Wilkins passed away from COVID-19 in Baldwin, WI on 1/7/2021. Survived by his devoted partner Bryan Gjevre, extended family and many colleagues and friends. Born in Cobden, Illinois, Harold loved books, bookstores/libraries, newspapers, poetry, letters and flowers. He enjoyed good coffee, new restaurants, Classical MPR, and a good story. Harold received his horticulture doctorate from the University of Illinois, and spent his career teaching and mentoring at Cornell, U of FL, U of MN, Ohio State and consulted all over the world. Beloved teacher, he was devoted to helping all of his students reach their goals, he proudly “fathered” 11 Ph D students. As the author of more than 200 publications, the recipient of numerous awards, the guest speaker at many seminars and conferences, his impact on the floriculture industry is unquestionable. Harold influenced horticulture globally; he traveled to Israel, The Netherlands, Russia, Japan, South Africa, Chile, among other countries to collect information for his research. As a retirement project in 2005, he and Bryan purchased a 9-acre property near Baldwin, WI and named it Goldfinch Flower Farm. They grew and sold beautiful and unique flowers to local florists and the Mill City Farmers Market. In addition to research, Harold taught Floral Design and his bouquets were always exquisite. He consistently shared his positive energy and concern; he was described by many as unwaveringly sweet and kind. Shortly before passing, Harold told Bryan he was going “upstairs to recuperate.” A Celebration of his Life will be held this summer, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, MN. Burial will be in Anna, IL. Many thanks to all healthcare workers during this pandemic – your dedication is unparalleled. We wish to extend our deep gratitude to his medical team at the Baldwin Care Center Campus and Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin, WI. In Harold’s memory, support your local florists and garden centers.
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