We are sad to report the passing of our dear friend and AOS judge Ramon Melendez, better known to us as Moncho and Monchito, on Friday April 7, 2017.
Moncho began growing orchids 49 years ago in 1968 and established Coqui Nurseries in 1975 and did not stopped making hybrids until Coqui Nursery closed in 2007. In that long period of time, he and his company received a total of 183 AOS awards with 1 FCC, 95 AMs, 82 HCCs, 1 CCM, and 4 AQs, the last one, an Award of Quality to a hybrid of Phalaenopsis Bamboo Baby in 2007 in Puerto Rico, which he named after his daughter Mei-Ling Melendez. By using the now famous Phal. Bamboo Baby ‘Coqui”, and its selfing, Phal. Bamboo Baby “Monchito” he raised the bar for the yellow green Phalaenopsis breeding in the United States.
Moncho joined the AOS Judging program in 1980 and became a Certified Judge in 1983. His attendance and participation over these years is truly commendable when you think that for 28 years, since he became a student judge, had to travel to attend judging in Miami as he was part of the Florida Caribbean Judging center. In 2007, Moncho became an Emeritus Judge, the highest honor the AOS can bestow on a judge, and he continued judging every month until February of 2017 when he became ill. Moncho also was the guiding light to all judges and student judges in Puerto Rico, and for that he will always be remembered.
Perhaps the most important contribution that Moncho made to the orchid community was in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. He was a member of the Puerto Rico Orchid Society since 1971, held the office of president twice, and was the treasurer, as well as the show chairman for three years. He was the Judging Chairman of the San Juan Orchid Show for more than 25 years, and he has also served as Judging Chairman for other shows in the island, in Mayaguez, Fajardo and Ponce, most of them for a period of 15 to 20 years. In addition, he was Judging Chair of the orchid shows
in St. Thomas and in St. Croix. He was a member of all of the local orchid societies, and he lectured all over the island on orchid growing. The one thing that he was most proud of was the fact that he helped promote orchids in Puerto Rico by making orchid plants available at reasonable prices before the pot plant business existed.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Lillian, and his son Francis and Daughter Mei-Ling, both residing in the US.