Henry Marcellus “Marc” Cathey ’49

Henry Marcellus “Marc” Cathey ’49, of Davidson, N.C., died Oct. 8 at the Pines at Davidson following an extended illness with Parkinson’s disease. Born Oct. 23, 1928, Marc was the son of the late Carl ’20 and Emily Cathey of Davidson. Following graduation from Davidson High School in 1945, he attended Davidson for two years. He then transferred to and received his bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University in 1950. He worked as a florist for two years before going to Cornell University where he received his master’s and Ph.D. in horticultural science. He was a Fulbright scholar in the Netherlands. He went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Md., in 1956, where he pioneered experimental research on florist and nursery crops. He was the visiting D.C. Kiplinger Chair professor at the Ohio State University. For 10 years, Marc was the director of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. During that period he brought new gardens and exhibits including the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, the National Capital Columns, the Asian Valley, the New American Friendship Gardens, and sustainable gardens. He was instrumental in the creation of the U.S.D.A. Plant Hardiness Zone and AHS Plant Heat Zone Maps. In 1995, he became president of the American Horticultural Society for the second time and later served as president emeritus. Marc was a member of numerous professional societies related to the florist and nursery industry and was awarded many national and international awards for his work. He wrote several books, made many television appearances, and hosted a weekly radio phone-in show for many years. He spent a lifetime trying to make the world a more beautiful place through flowers, plants, gardens, research, and an imaginative and personal sense of humor. He presented thousands of talks at national floriculture meetings, garden clubs, community groups, and more. He passionately believed that plants were at the center of our future and lived by the words, “Green is the color of hope, and in the color of plants is our hope for the future.” He was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian church and served as a deacon and elder. He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Mary Jackson Cathey, 400 Avinger Ln., Apt. 209, Davidson, NC 28036-9705; his two children, Marcy E. Cathey (Aaron Frank) and Henry M. Cathey, Jr. (Jodi); and four granddaughters, Emily, Ellen, Elizabeth, and Sarah (Miss Pink, Miss Peach, Miss Emerald, and Miss Ruby). He was preceded in death by his brothers LeConte ’47 and Carl ’53 Cathey. Memorials may be sent to the Davidson College Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 337, Davidson, NC 28036.