David Meyer, Founder
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.
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
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.
In 2022, David's health was declining and he found it very difficult to care for the large collection of trees he had amassed. With the help of many of the club members, he sold all of his "legacy trees", pots, stands etc. and moved into an assisted living facility. He kept one of his prized juniper trees on his small balcony.
David passed away on May 30, 2023. A memorial will be held at the Tucson Botanical Gardens at at a later date (most likely in the Fall). Details will be posted when available.
REST IN PEACE, DAVID!