Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Gardening columnist Morehouse a nurturer

UC prof cared for plants, language

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - Cincinnati Enquirer gardening columnist Tim Morehouse died late Monday night of a heart attack at St. Elizabeth Hospital North, a month after having triple bypass surgery. He was 65.

Mr. Morehouse had two loves - the English language and gardening.

Even as a boy growing up in Newark, Ohio, he loved to plant and nurture flowers around the house, according to his son Eric of Pleasant Run.

He received a bachelor's degree from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, and a master's degree in English from the University of Cincinnati.

In 1969 he accepted a position teaching English at Walnut Hills High School, where he remained for about 13 years before moving to Seven Hills School.

"It was at that time that he developed an interest in English ferns," his son said. Mr. Morehouse devised a sterile method for germinating fern spores that was written up in Garden, the magazine of the New York Botanical Society, in 1983.

He went on to co-write two books: Basic Projects and Plantings for the Garden (with Frank Clark and Ezra Haggard, published by Stackpole Books in 1993), and Gardening Basics (with Clark in 1996).

Mr. Morehouse became the Enquirer's gardening columnist in 1994.

For the past 15 years, Mr. Morehouse had been an adjunct professor of English at UC.

"As a teacher, he was extremely energetic," said Jon Nicodemus, a fellow UC English professor. "His students always enjoyed being in his classroom because of his ability to bring out the dramatic best in everything he taught.

"The first thing that everybody knew about him is that he had a wonderfully wild sense of humor. His laughter was wonderful.

"He had a great zest for life. He was on the lookout for great poetry. And when he found it, it was like gold to him. He called his friends to read his latest poem."

No matter what it was - wine, food, music or the "latest and greatest literature - he wanted very much to share with others," Nicodemus said.

Marlene Shmalo, a friend and UC colleague, said: "Tim was one of the finest teachers I've ever known. He had a zest for life that he brought to everyone he met. ... His death is a loss to those students who will never have the opportunity to be touched by him. I will miss his warmth, his wit and his integrity. He was very funny. He was such a wonderful English teacher."

His type-A personality wouldn't allow him to retire, his son said. Mr. Morehouse had two months of columns written ahead and was looking forward to moving into a house he had purchased in Covington.

"He loved the English language. That was his passion. He loved to teach. He obviously didn't want to stop doing that," his son said.

In addition to his son Eric, survivors include his former wife of 23 years, Joan Lauritsen of Northside; another son, Seth Morehouse of Atlanta; a brother, Frank Morehouse of Atlanta; a sister, Connie Rhine of Newark; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Boniface Church, 1750 Chase Ave., Northside. Mr. Morehouse donated his remains to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.


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