Ralph B. Shugert

International Award of Honor, 1992

Ralph Shugert was born in St. Louis, Missouri and enrolled at the University of Missouri in 1939.  At that stage of his life, forestry seemed to be an attractive field of endeavor.  His schooling was interrupted in February 1943 and he served with the US Army in the South Pacific Theater until his honorable discharge in November 1945.  He returned to the University of Missouri in January 1946 and received his B.S. in Agriculture in June 1946.  It is interesting that up to this stage of his life, Ralph had never seen or visited a nursery!

On June 25, 1946, Ralph started his nursery career with Sanders Nursery Company, in St. Louis County, Missouri.  In May 1953, he moved to Elsberry, Missouri working with his mentor, Hugh Steavenson, at Forrest Keeling Nursery.  This great nurseryman/propagator taught Ralph the intricacies of sexual plant propagation.  He was also introduced to mist propagation, a product called polyethylene and IPPS.  Ralph's first of many papers presented to the Society was in 1955, discussing the handling of rooted, mist propagated cutting sin plant bands.  Since 1955, he has attended every Eastern Region meeting consecutively. 

From 1959 - 1980, Shugert was employed as Horticulturist/Propagator at Neosho Nurseries in Missouri, Plumfield Nursery in Nebraska, Spring Hill Nursery in Ohio, and Cole Nursery in Ohio.  In 1980, Ralph joined Zelenka Nursery in Michigan as Staff Horticulturist.

Ralph served on several Eastern Region committees and was elected Eastern Region President in 1968.  In 1970, as International Vice-President, he served as program chairman for the first joint Eastern/Western Region meeting held in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Ralph served as International President in 1971.  In 1972 he was elected as International Historian and held that position through his Award of Honor.