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Obituary Rudolf Ernst Benary

02/01/2013

Rudolf Ernst Benary

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Rudolf Ernst Benary, former acting partner of Ernst Benary Samenzucht GmbH, passed away on January 2, 2013 at the age of 85.
As a member of the fourth generation of the family-run company, Rudolf Benary devoted his life to serving the business.

He was conscripted at the young age of 16 and returned to Erfurt in 1948 at the age of 21 after a period as a prisoner of war. He then took his higher leaving school certificate and completed an apprenticeship as a gardener in his parents’ company.

Communist oppression forced the family to flee from Erfurt in 1951 to Hannoversch Münden. His brother Friedrich had already set up a sales agency there in 1946. Later, with support from Erfurt, he had started to set up the newly found company called Ernst BenarySamenzucht GmbH.

After spending a few years gathering experience in Scandinavia with a Danish vegetable and ornamental plant breeder called Ohlens Enke and the leading Swedish company Weibull, Rudolf Benary joined the family-run company in October 1953. In Sweden, Rudolf Benary had met his wife Hildegard and arrived in Hann. Münden with her in 1953.

In the difficult years after the expropriation of the company in Erfurt, Rudolf Benary played a major role in rebuilding it in Hannoversch Münden. He looked after all the seed production and set up propagation stations at home and abroad. One of his key concerns was to create trust between producers, the company and customers. In 1964 he was granted power of attorney for the company in return for the professional and responsible way he had acted in the interests of the business.

In 1980 Rudolf was appointed the company's sole managing director.Under his management Benary flourished. Each of the 13 years under his stewardship generated growth. In the horticultural associations at home and abroad, he constantly strove to develop ornamental plant cultivation and horticulture in general. He was involved in drafting the story of horticulture in Erfurt. German and international horticultural associations paid tribute to his endeavours regarding ornamental plant breeding and his life’s work.

He received the Georg-Arends-Münze award from the "Zentralverband des deutschen Gartenbaus", the Central Association of German Horticulture, as well as the Award of Honor and Outstanding Achievement from the All-America Selections, the North American Association of Flower and Vegetable breeders. He was awarded honorary membership for his long-standing involvement on the board of Fleuroselect, the association of European ornamental plant breeders whose president he was in 1989 and 1990. His sense of social responsibility meant that he became heavily involved with the Lions Club and the "Vereinigung Erinnerung und Mahnung e.V.", an association in memory of Jews.

After the celebrations to commemorate the company’s 150th anniversary, Rudolf Benary handed over the reins to his son Ernst Günter in 1993 (the fifth generationof the family) and to Christian Börries. Afterwards he became a member of the administrative boardfrom where he continued to maintain close ties to the firm.He served the business for just under 60 years.

Rudolf Benary was a patriarch in the positive sense of the word. He was a father figure to everyone who worked at the company during his time.He was forward-thinking, level-headed, consistent and always interested in making improvements, however major or minor. Above all he was always concerned about the well-being of each of his employees and consequently gave them the feeling they were part of the family.