Dr. Gavino B. Rotor, Jr., of Signal Mountain, died Tuesday, March 8, 2005, at his home.
He was born in Manila, Philippines, March 26, 1917, the son of Engracia and Gavino B. Rotor, Sr.
A graduate of the University of the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree, he came to the United States in 1946. He entered Cornell University, where he received his master’s degree and, in 1952, he was the first person in the nation to receive his Ph.D. for his study on the growth and flowering of orchids.
At Cornell, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and was elected to the Society for Advancement of Research. From 1954 to 1958, he worked at Rivermont Orchids on Signal Mountain as director of research. In 1957, he was guest speaker at the 4th World Orchid Congress in Hawaii on his use of colchicine to increase chromosome count in Cattleya orchids.
In 1958 he and fellow Cornell graduate, Bob Enck, founded Crestwood Orchids on Fairmount Road, Signal Mountain. Here they amassed an outstanding collection of rare and fine orchids.
Their orchid exhibits always were greatly admired at the orchid shows held in mid-America. In March 1979, Crestwood Orchids received the gold medal certificate for its exhibit in the Tennessee Valley Orchid Show in Chattanooga.
In 1961, he was appointed as judge for the Mid-America Judging Center in St. Louis, MO, and in 1983, he became an American Orchid Society judge emeritus.
He is survived by his friend and partner, Bob Enck; sister, Cora (Fidel) Decastro; nieces, Eva Swenson and Rita Bailey, and great-niece, Lisa Valencia-Swenson.
A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Friday in Chattanooga Memorial Park with the Rev. Peter Iorio officiating.
Visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Thursday and from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Arrangements are by Lane Funeral Home, Coulter Chapel, 601 Ashland Terrace. 877