Mario Ferrusi

I was born in Sulmona, Italy in October, 1947. The boat ride to Halifax, Nova Scotia, ending on December 19, 1954, wasn't all ice cream like they promised me! The two day train ride to Fenwick, Ontario, wasn't bad though.

Graduating from high school in 1967, I took on several jobs before getting hired by General Motors in St. Catharines, Ontario, where I worked until my retirement in December 2007.

I met ny soon-to-be wife, Conni, on a vacation in Southern California. After a short long-distance courtship, Conni moved to Ontario and we were married. It's actually Conni's fault I even got into orchids! I had cacti and African violets growing on the kitchen window sill where she also kept her garlic. Conni got tired of the thorny cacti attacking every time she got garlic and suggested I try orchids like her aunt grew in Santa Barbara along with her African violets. The gauntlet was dropped! I purchased my first phalaenopsis seedling. A month later, a complete set up, including lights and fans, and a stand, (as well as 23 more plants!), was listed for sale in our local paper, and purchased!

Over the years, the family grew along with the orchid collection. Our daughter, Ilia, was three months old when the orchid disease first got me. She's 29 now, and working on her PhD. Jared, now 24 came along four years after Ilia, and is currently living and working in Ottawa, Ontario. Rhys, now 22, was snuck in two years after Jared by Conni, and is living and working in Sarnia, Ontario.

I don't do things by half-measures! I became involved, almost immediately, in groups of fellow orchid addicts. Conni and I have held various positions in our small local society. I've also been president of the Southern Ontario Orchid Society, as well as other positions and am currently Program Chairman. In 1998, I became a fully accredited AOS judge, and have served as Chair, Vice-Chair, and currently, Treasurer of the Toronto Judging Centre.

Orchids are a "family affair" for us. Ilia, Jared, and Rhys, have grown up with orchid "aunts" and "uncles" in Canada and the United States. Ilia's got several plants of her own that she flowers regularly. Jared helps with displays at shows and occasionally minds the greenhouse when we travel. Rhys has even won five AOS Show Trophies for his own displays. Conni's the "people person" and can feed a group of 20 at a moment's notice! Everyone ends up either clerking or selling at shows. Orchids have enriched my life in so many ways that I cannot begin to count them. I'm honoured beyond words, and humbled, to be asked to serve as a Trustee for the American Orchid Society. Thank you!