Edna Schultz loved flowers — especially roses — and worked hard for decades to make sure others could enjoy them as much as possible.
You may have seen her work a time or two. Those who like to stroll through the Julia Davis Rose Garden or enjoy the flower competition at the Western Idaho Fair can thank Schultz for turning her life-long love of flowers into support for the garden and the competition.
Schultz loved flowers so much that she told her friends she didn’t want a memorial service after her death. She told them their time would be better spent remembering her when they see and smell a blooming rose or chrysanthemum. And if they wanted to make a contribution in her name, the preferred destination was to the Julia Davis Rose Garden, a colorful oasis of 2,400 roses of all shapes and colors.
“Edna was an original — and an inspiration to be around,” said Amy Dohmen, the current president of the Idaho Rose Society, a group Shultz helped form in 1978 and that raises money to maintain the rose garden in Boise’s Julia Davis Park. “She was the last founding member, and her passing marks the end of an era.
“Even when she got sick (in the early 2000s) and couldn’t be an active member anymore, Edna’s first question was always ‘How are the roses?’ ”
Shultz also was in charge of the flower show at the Western Idaho Fair from 1974 to 1990. Dohmen said one time Schultz used dark beer bottles as makeshift vases so the roses stood out from other flowers at the fair.
Her love of flowers meant some travel: Shultz judged flower shows throughout the Pacific Northwest for many years. She also was an active member of the Golden Garden Club and the Chrysanthemum Club, in addition to her work with the Idaho Rose Society.
The 91-year-old Schultz died of natural causes on April 14 at a local care facility.
She was born in August 1919 on her family farm near Weiser. She loved to work in the orchards with her father and brother at their Fruitland-area farm. She graduated from Fruitland High School in 1937. That’s when she first moved to Boise so she could attend Boise Business College and the Buss Grimm School of Business before being hired as the first secretary of the Boise Police Department. She worked at the department until 1941.
Schultz also worked at Gowen Field, where she met her future husband, Joe Schultz, and at Mountain Home Air Force Base. She married Joe in 1944, and they moved to Louisiana and Chicago before returning to Boise in 1948, which is when Edna began working on her gardening and flower activities.
While the idea for the Julia Davis Rose Garden may have originated in the 1930s with H.C. Schuppel, who was a chairman of a Men’s Garden Club called the Cut Worms and who didn’t want any women to be involved, it is groups like the Idaho Rose Society and women like Schultz who have helped the garden become what it is now.
One of the garden’s most prestigious accomplishments is an accreditation from All America Rose Selections Public Rose Garden. That means it gets 10 bushes of each year’s AARS All American rose winners.
Schultz and her fellow Idaho Rose Club members also helped create the Memorial Rose Fund in 1979, which uses donations to fund memorials such as the fountains in the rose garden.
Dohmen said Edna Schultz wasn’t able to be involved in the Idaho Rose Society for the last several years because of early onset Alzheimer’s, but even when she struggled to remember other things, she never forgot her love of flowers.
Edna Schultz is survived by her son, Richard.
In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a Treasure Valley resident who has recently passed away. To recommend a friend or loved one for an In Remembrance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.