Geoffrey Charles Johnson 1952-2000

By Thomas U. Lineham, Jr.

Geoff Johnson died on the 4th of February of coronary problems.

Geoff was a director of the Bromeliad Society, International for the 1993-1995 term but was known even more widely for having worked with his mother Carol as owners and operators of the Pineapple Place bromeliad nursery in Longwood, Florida.

Their nursery became well known as a major source of species, in contrast with other growers who specialize in hybrids. Their collection included species collected in at least seven countries of the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America as well as more commonly grown bromeliads. The Pineapple Place was frequented by experienced professional growers, armchair collectors, fanciers from Europe and South America who just happened to be in the area. All were welcomed; every visitor for the full tour with running commentary.

While the structure of the BSI and efforts of the officers and committee chairman are important, it is the work of knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and articulate growers that promote interest in bromeliads. Geoff was certainly one of those. He spoke to individuals who came to visit, to admire, and to buy. He frequently was invited to talk with (address is too formal a description) groups of society members in Florida and other states. You could depend on finding Geoff presiding over an enviable display of plants at regional bromeliad shows and the biennial World Bromeliad Conferences.

Geoff was most recently both editor and treasurer of the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies. He was a leader in the Seminole Bromeliad Society, but he was also the mainstay of the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida. He accepted the opportunities to serve the bromeliad cause and worked hard to produce results.

We shall miss his beaming smile, his self-deprecating manner, his recently adopted close-cropped haircut, his uncritical, outgoing manner.

The Johnson Family in recent months has suffered the deaths of Carol, James, and now Geoff.

This article originally appeared in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society, volume 50, number 2, March-April 2000.