A little-known mainstay in the White House has passed away.
Irvin Williams, the longtime gardener of the White House, died at a Virginia hospital last month at the age of 92.
Career Spanning Decades
Williams started working at the White House in the early 1960s just before Kennedy took office.
His successful career would continue on for more than four decades, thanks to his work ethic, high standards and talent.
Williams eventually retired during the presidency of George W. Bush in 2008.
While “only” a gardener, most Americans are quite familiar with Williams’ accomplishments, even though they never probably knew his name.
For instance, Williams was one of the notable architects behind the famed Rose Garden.
During his time as the chief gardener, he would face some rather significant challenges, always meeting them.
When Gerald Ford was in office, he was tasked with landscaping the president’s new swimming pool.
Also, during Ford’s presidency, Williams incorporated Amy Carter’s treehouse without putting the original 1930’s design at risk.
Preserving the Grounds
As the White House gardener, Williams was faced with some rather interesting tasks.
On the grounds are a variety of botanical specimens from all over the world.
Currently, there are specimens that have been there since the days of President Adams.
For those “in the know,” Williams is considered one of, if not the most influential individual when it comes to the White House garden.
Historian Jonathan Pliska, who also authored, “A Garden for the President,” had high praise for Williams.
He stated, “No president, except for Thomas Jefferson, has had as big an impact on the garden as Mr. Williams.”
“He’s on the Mount Rushmore of who’s contributed the most, and he’s unfortunately one of the least known. But that’s how he wanted it,” he added.
Rest in peace Mr. Williams.