by Linda Holder and Jane Moyer
Jim Scannell may not be remembered by many current Jackson County Master Gardeners, but we can all thank him and his wife, Ellen, for many aspects of JCMGA. He took the class in 1997, was an at large board member in 1998-99, 2006, 2007, and 2008; treasurer in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2009, and 2010; president in 2001; recording secretary in 2002; audit chair in 2006 and 2007; historian (pre-archivist) in 2008 and 2009; and OMGA Alternate Representative in 2011 and 2012. Recognizing how valuable Jim was to JCMGA, he was awarded Life Membership in 2005.
Jim looked after the JCMGA treasury with eagle eyes and can largely be credited, in our opinion, to the fact that we have a healthy bank account to this day. Jim always told us that we needed to plan for a rainy day and during his years as our treasurer, he made sure we had a plentiful cushion to get us through hard times.
Jim was an advocate for the creation of the Demonstration Gardens and worked tirelessly on the pathways. When Ellen was granted permission to start the Lavender Garden in 2002, Jim put in countless hours of hard labor creating the paths in it. However, after scouring the archives, not much could be found in the way of documentation of his involvement. That’s because Jim worked quietly behind the scenes and was never one to toot his own horn! Here’s the extent of what could be found in past copies of The Garden Beet:
In December 2002, Ellen wrote, “Jim and I started clearing the area for the new Lavender Garden of gourds, vines and debris.” She also said, “Jim will order several loads of granite for pathways which are his forte.”
In Winter 2003, Ellen wrote, “Jim laid down granite paths.” Note, this was done in winter! What is not stated is there was a lot of snow that winter that led to plentiful and deep mud. The lavender plants, donated by Jim and Dottie Becker of Goodwin Creek Gardens, were planted in snow and mud that hardened around them. The paths were created under the same conditions.
Jim Scannell was one of our most favorite people in the whole world, a “Mr. Rogers type” of guy! He was quiet, thoughtful, studious, hard-working, diligent, unassuming, a gentleman through and through, and possessed an often unseen, very wry sense of humor. He donated hours and hours of physical labor to JCMGA as well as being a loyal part of the administration. No job was too small nor too large for Jim!
Jim passed away on November 15, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rest in peace, Jim! Your efforts live on in JCMGA!