BERNARD FRANK SCHREINER
1919--1982

 
Any remembrance of Bernard (Gus) Schreiner must be written in terms of family and irises, for these were his life. His father, F.X. Schreiner, was one of the earliest American iris fanciers and began issuing a catalogue in the 1920s. After his father's death in 1931, his brother, Robert, took over and expanded the business. Born and schooled in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gus was preparing to enter the family firm when World War II broke out, and he enlisted in the Air Corps, serving in communications in the Pacific theater.
....Following his discharge after the war, he returned to the mainland and the decision was made to expand the nursery operations. In 1945/6 the big move was made to Salem, Oregon, and Robert, Gus, and their sister, Connie, re-established Schreiner's Gardens in its present location. Commercial stock, including the future introduction BLACK FOREST, plus all the breeding material developed in Minnesota-the basis of the present-day Schreiner orchid and plicata lines-had to be moved cross country
Connie-Constance Schreiner Kendall-was in charge of office operations at the time of her death in 1971. Escalating business involvements took increasingly more of Robert's time. Gus took full responsibility for running the outside operations, as well as overseeing the extensive and highly successful hybridizing program. As a measure of the success of the Schreiner breeding lines, three Dykes Medals (for BLUE SAPPHIRE, AMETHYST FLAME, and STEPPING OUT), numerous Awards of Merit, and many foreign awards have been won by their irises, and nearly one-fourth of the varieties on the annual AIS symposiums are Schreiner originations.
....In 1942 Gus married Patricia Dion, and together they raised a family of four sons and four daughters, some them are currently carrying on the family's iris tradition: Stephen, Raymond, Patrick, and Lizabeth all live in Salem and assist at the garden. Paula, Connie, and Barbara live in Portland, and Thomas lives in California.
....Because of his involvement with the field operations, it was difficult for Gus to leave the garden, but those who attended the 1950, 1960, or 1972 Oregon conventions met him on his home turf, as did the many irisarians who made the annual pilgrimage to the Oregon iris fields. They found a warm, good-natured man, brimming with knowledge, enthusiasm, and the love of life-and, they found a friend.
....This past spring Gus walked the seedling selection rows with an oxygen tank suspended from his neck; when too tired to walk any longer, he would get into the car and drive the road through the first-year seedling patch, looking at the blooms from the car window. On November 29, Gus Schreiner died, yet he lives on in our memory and in the beauty he helped to create. Ours is a better world for his having been a part of it.
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 Photo furnished courtesy Schreiner's Gardens--Steve Schreiner