Remembering Fred Bergman, 1928–2011

Phal. Fred's Precocious

[The following was written by Susie Hanna, OSGKC member.]

Fred Bergman, 82, died August 28, 2011 in Kansas City. By profession, Fred was a chemist at the Midwest Research Institute, but his great passion in life was orchids. For nearly 60 years, Fred was an avid orchid grower and hybridizer, registering 257 crosses, primarily phalaenopsis. In his later years, he was increasingly active in hybridizing working on reds, miniature harlequins, and what he called “true miniatures,” plants with small blooms and branched spikes. He registered 60 Phal crosses in 2009. Fred’s great sense of humor is reflected in his hybrid names: Fred’s Folly, Fred’s Charmer, Fred’s Adventure, and Fred’s Hohum, being only a few of his witty registrations.

Fred was an early member of the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City (OSGKC) which was formed in 1949. When the American Orchid Society (AOS) hosted its first World Orchid Conference in St. Louis in 1954, Fred and his wife Pat Bergman, then a young honeymoon couple, were one of 600 registrants.

An Honored Lifetime Member of OSGKC, Fred received the Orchidist of the Year Award several times. He was well-known for his scientific approach to growing orchids, and shared his knowledge with society members as chair of the monthly beginner’s group meetings.

Fred wrote many articles for publication, including the AOS “Orchids” magazine, the International Phaleanopsis Association’s magazine “Phalaenopsis,” “ Orchid Digest,” and “Phalaenopsis Fancier.” His article, “Sowing Orchid Seeds, An Easy Approach to New Rewards,” (Orchids, July 2006) has inspired many orchid growers to try hybridizing for the first time.

Survivors include his wife, Pat, of 56 years, children: Laura Bergman, Cindy Phipps, and John Bergman, and 3grandchildren, and a sister: Gayle Bergman.

Susie shares this message she received from Jim Watson, editor of Orchids at AOS:

Dear Susie,

Thank you for letting me know the news. We now print obituaries and photos on the Web site once a month and so I will send your e-mail w/the attachment to Greg Allikas, our webmaster. Fred’s perspectives and writings will be missed. I did not realize he had been at the first WOC. Again, thank you for keeping us informed and for helping to share with others information about this remarkable man and orchid grower/hybridizer.

Jim Watson
Susie has also posted Fred’s passing on at the Big Leaf Orchid Forum website.


One response to “Remembering Fred Bergman, 1928–2011

  1. Susie,
    A very nice tribute. Thank you. I first met Fred at a Mid-America meeting here in KC in 94. (Beth and I still lived in St Louis then.) He and I were part of a group discussing orchid flasking. We each realized that the other knew things we didn’t and we’ve been friends ever since. Fred could be gruff at times but he respected people. A curmudgeon with a heart of gold! We all miss him.

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