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William J. McKee (1875-1957)


William J. McKee, dean of iris hybridizers in New England, was 81 years old when he passed away February 27, 1957. He had retired from industry in 1944 and had since devoted his energies to his long continued program in horticulture. In addition to his work with the tall bearded iris, he has had similar interests with hemerocallis, daffodils, and orchids. He said himself that his early hybridizing efforts were made with named varieties without any definite planning, and that the results were not very promising. He was a great advocate of line breeding and claimed his results were much more favorable when his program in this latter type of hybridizing began in 1940. His first iris introduction, Royal Beauty, was made in 1932. Among his many named varieties… …he considered Moontide, Fairday, Miobelle, Ponder, Pequot and Trim most outstanding as breeders. All of these were used extensively in his line breeding program. Mr. McKee was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, the son of Cyrus P. McKee and Agnes (McKibbon) McKee. He is survived by his wife Clara B. (Little) McKee, two sons: William J. McKee, Jr., and Robert C. McKee, both of Worcester; two daughters: Jane E., wife of Leigh T. Coffin of Beatrice, Nebraska, and Mary E., wife of Rev. John V. Butler of Princeton, New Jersey; five grandchildren and one greatgrandchild.

Mr. McKee was educated in Pennsylvania in the public schools and at Piersols Academy and also at Geneva College. His long and distinguished career in industry began in 1897 with the Pressed Steel Car Company in Pittsburgh. He began as a clerk and was promoted to chief clerk in 1902. He became general storekeeper with the Standard Steel Car Company in 1903. He came to New England in 1911 to become assistant to the president of the Osgood Bradley Car Company in Worcester. He became vice-president of this firm in 1917. The Osgood Bradley Car Company was consolidated with the Pullman Standard Company in 1930, and Mr. McKee continued as vice-president and director. He was also president and director of the Standard Tank Car Company of Sharon, Pennsylvania, and vice-president and director of the Keith Car Company of Sagamore and a director of the Van Motor Truck Company of Philadelphia.

Mr. McKee was a member and accredited judge of the American Iris Society for several decades, and he served as president of the Society from 1940 to 1942. Many of his iris received the H. M. and the A. M. awards of the Society. He was awarded the American Iris Society Medal for Distinguished Service in 1943 and also the American Iris Society Hybridizing Award for Achievement in Hybridizing in 1954. Mr. McKee and Mr. George Pride together were the founders of this New England bulletin of the Society. JAMISON R. HARRISON


Border Bearded: 'Reverto'.

Tall Bearded: 'Annabet', 'Ardeur', 'Astrid', 'Augusta', 'Beleek', 'Bess Albright', 'Blue Angelwings', 'Bridal Pink, ''Ceylon', 'Chinese White', 'Darlene', 'Dewgold', 'Diantha', Eben', 'Enon Valley', 'Faerie', 'Fairday', 'Fairy Gem', 'Ferdinand, 'Francelia', 'Gold Mohur', 'Holden', 'Hywill', 'Janet Butler', 'Jericho', 'Jomar', 'June Moon', 'Karnak', 'Kim', 'King Bee', 'Lady Rose', 'Lea', 'Mary Ellen', 'Mary Vernon', 'Mayan Gold', 'Miobelle', 'Mioflore', 'Miogem', 'Miss Blue', 'Monique', 'Monomoy', 'Moontide', 'Muscadine', 'Oderic', 'Orange Gem', 'Panay', 'Paul Revere', Pequot', 'Ponder', 'Pullman', 'Red Comet', Redwyne', 'Redyen', 'Royal Beauty', 'Royal Mantle', 'Signet', 'Snow Belle', 'Spy Song', 'Starbeau', 'Sundot', 'Temple', 'Terrific', 'Texies', 'The Hood', 'Trim', 'Tryst', 'Vandax', 'Wave On', 'Wo-Peen', 'Yukon',

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
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William <a class="foswikiNewLink" href="/bin/edit/Main/Bio/McKee?topicparent=Main/Bio.HybridizerMcKeeWilliam" rel="nofollow" title="Create this topic">McKee</a>.jpgjpg William McKee.jpg manage 672 K 26 Aug 2022 - 20:10 UnknownUser Scanned from AIS Bulletin, Jan. 1958.
Topic revision: r43 - 25 Dec 2023, BrewItt
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