Written by Richard Hahn- long time landscape customer of Bob’s and current employee of Altum’s at the passing of Bob Altum in March 2009

I met Bob Altum in the spring of 1982 at his first location on Michigan Road. He was a tall thin man with curly white hair and a disarming broad grin positioned below the bill of an ever-present ball cap. He greeted me that day as a friend and helped me achieve the gardening task that was at hand. Over the next twenty-seven years, we would speak many times.

I always had the feeling that I could learn from Bob, but could never really expect to approach his level of innate creativity. He was a master of transforming common areas into ones of great beauty and uniqueness through combinations of evergreen and deciduous plants, punctuated here and there with perennial flowers and natural hardscape.

Our builder suggested Bob to create the landscape when we built our present home. I was truly excited by this possibility because by then I had firm knowledge of Bob’s talent and knew we could have beautiful plantings characterized by unique texture and color and sequential blooming. We were not disappointed.

This will be the first growing season that Bob will not return to Altum’s Horticultural Center after spending the winter in Florida. That sobering thought was mitigated for me by remembering that every spring he does return to countless Indiana home sites, including my own, in the form of superior landscaping of great beauty. So in a few months when the rhododendron and azalea buds swell I will again remember Bob, as I have done the past 20 years, only this time perhaps with an even greater appreciation of his ability and for having known him.

ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS

5 responses to “A Tribute to Bob”

  1. Dave Brokaw says:

    I worked for Bob Altum in the 80’s while I was an undergraduate then medical student. He was great to work for and with! He always was appreciative of his employee’s efforts for him. He’d meet with us in the mornings and discuss what he wanted for us to accomplish for the day. He’d stop by at the job sites on occasion to check on progress when he wasn’t bidding new jobs. He would give easy to follow instructions for changes, but never micro-manage any of us. He respected hard work, and was always willing to help out if needed. He let me learn life lessons working with Everett. He was a master of building things, especially RR tie walls. My job was to keep him supplied with as many RR ties as he could lay in a day. One of my biggest compliments of my life was him telling me that I was the “hardest working college boy he’d ever seen”! Bob always treated me with respect, and I always appreciated it. I always held in the highest regards!

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