Bloome was one-of-a-kind

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To the editor:

Upon returning from our winter vacation recently, my wife Donna and I received the sad news that longtime friend Harry Bloome had passed. We were truly heartbroken.

I began looking for large trees around 1995, placing articles in local newspapers urging Macoupin County residents to nominate any large native species. Within a few months, Harry Bloome contacted me suggesting several large trees that he observed while delivering flowers for Blooms and Blossoms.

A few weeks later, as nominations began to arrive, Harry Bloome, Lester J. Cox, and I began measuring trees throughout Macoupin County. Using local plat maps, we drove most roads, some paved and some not. For several years, Saturday mornings were reserved for our treks, ranging from Scottville to Staunton to Bunker Hill, looking for that one special tree. My thanks go to Rosalind, Harry’s wife, who encouraged Harry to pursue his new hobby.

Harry was responsible for locating five county champion trees as he became obsessed with looking for “the big one.” One of the most memorable of Harry’s finds was one that he located in Mayfield Cemetery. Harry excitedly called Lester Cox and me to tell us about a huge persimmon tree that he had found. We drove out to the cemetery and as we approached the tree, Mr. Cox and I could see that it was a female Gingko tree with an abundance of fruit. Playing a little joke on Harry, we told him that we doubted his species, but to prove his theory, we suggested that he pick three fruits, squeeze them in his hands, and smell the juice. Harry did as we asked and then let out a sickening cry of disgust (female Gingko fruit has the smell of rotten fruit and dirty socks combined). Harry never let us trick him again.

Harry Bloome was a special person that I will always remember. He never uttered a negative thought about anyone or anything. I will always cherish our times together.

Larry P. Mahan,