As a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise, I interviewed Bob Whitman many times through the years. He was a fascinating man, and I learned about his many interests, from breeding rabbits to restoring his old home on Broadway to collecting netsuke and pursuing rare bromeliads. He was a published author and internationally known.
Bob grew up in rural Texas, but his intellect and passion for knowledge took him all across the globe. He collected bromeliads and bromeliad art, many of which are rare, valuable works. Walk through the Warren Loose Conservatory at the Beaumont Botanical Garden, where Bob was executive director, and you'll benefit from that passion.
Few people outside those who devote much of their lives to making the conservatory and BBG the beautiful, peaceful place it is know just how much Bob did. He was the conservatory, one BBG gardening friend told me, and many people are going to be surprised to find that out as they try to go on with him. They say no one is irreplaceable. Bob comes close.
Tomorrow, I'll try to gather some links that will let you read more about a man whose legacy will continue to touch literally hundreds of thousands of people who visit the gardens.