David Meyer Profile
David was a transplant from Missouri in 1965. He met his wife Judy, a Canadian, in 1966, and they became interested in Bonsai in 1968 while attending a show by the Phoenix Bonsai Society. They both became quite involved in this unique art form, especially under the harsh desert environment. David began trips to Phoenix at least once a month to study with Leroy Fujii, a founder of the Phoenix Society, formed in 1960. He soon started studying with America’s foremost sensei, John Naka (now deceased), who was making trips to Phoenix at the time.
In 1972, David and Judy formed the Tucson Bonsai Society, by getting together Tucson’s first bonsai exhibition, followed by classes starting in 1974. That year, TBS began sponsoring Mr. Naka once or twice a year in Tucson, where he stayed with David and Judy for several days, with Society classes being held at their home. The club began getting US Forest Service permits to dig native trees in the Santa Rita mountains, south of Tucson, and Mr. Naka joined in many of these day trips. Many of the Phoenix members also joined in.
Also, in 1974, David started his own public accounting and tax practice, and was later licensed as a Certified Financial Planner and in securities sales, offering these services to his accounting and tax clients. He continued to serve as Society president. Judy was also an active bonsai grower and was Society Vice President.
In 1980, he was asked to become a board member of the American Bonsai Society, and in 1981 he was chairman of their national convention in Boulder, CO. Later, in 1999, after his board terms were up, ABS selected him to chair their national convention held in Tucson. The “gallery show” included show trees from all over the state, including Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, Payson, Nogales, etc., and was titled “Bonsai of the Grand Canyon State”, winning some national awards.
In the early years, our Society met at the Tucson Botanical Gardens and was moved from there to our present rented facility due to lack of space. Our 47th annual bonsai exhibition will be held at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, in the pavilion, April 12, 13, and 14, 2019.
Judy suffered a stroke in 2006, and following several months of hospital and nursing home care, came home in May of 2007, where a daytime caregiver was hired, as David continued to work. He took care of her at night and on weekends. At that time, he turned over the presidency to Paul Vasquez, who served three years, and then Ray Noseck, who was elected for two terms. Judy suffered a fatal stroke in June of 2014, and in 2015 David was unanimously voted in as president again.
Our nearest federation of bonsai clubs is the Golden States Bonsai Federation (GSBF), comprised of 80 clubs in California. Several years ago, affiliation was offered to contiguous states, such as Nevada and Arizona. GSBF developed a Bonsai Basics course, to be taught by certified bonsai teachers. David was the first teacher in Arizona to be so certified; he has sponsored three more teachers as mentors in Tucson, and two in Phoenix. These course guidelines are integrated into our class curricula.
Since his retirement in 2011, and following his wife’s death, David is devoting even more time than in the past to his bonsai activities, and offers private instruction free of charge to Society members who have taken our Bonsai Basics class. Our Society sponsors regular workshops at his home, where members enjoy his extensive bonsai collection.