A short history of the Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference

From the recollections of Tony DeRooy

September 1953...

At the completion of judging of the annual dahlia show of the Snohomish

County Rose and Dahlia Society Show while enjoying a well prepared lunch

with several judges from the Portland, Kitsap County and Washington State

Dahlia Societies a suggestion was made by Tony DeRooy that an Association of Dahlia Societies in the Northwest should be started which would operate on a similar format to that of the Central States Dahlia Association which had been formed many years previously.

The primary purpose of the organization at that time was to promote the

dahlia, and arrange an annual show sponsored each year by a member

society. Several of the judges liked the idea and suggested that Peter Kershisnik from Portland and Tony DeRooy would set up some basic suggestions and bring this information to a meeting of delegates from each Society in early Spring. Accordingly, we met at the Kershisnik home in November and with Madge Kershisnik taking notes we set down a number of suggestions to get the organization started. The name would be the Pacific Northwest Dahlia Conference. We would need a “Basic Show Schedule” in order that each hosting society would offer the same awards and exhibits in the same sections and classes. We would ask each participating society to secure some trophies for major show champions and suggested that the Labor Day weekend be reserved by for our Big Annual Conference Show.

With these suggestions in hand, we arranged for a meeting at the Charles

Ayler residence in Tacoma on January 13, 1954. There were approximately

fourteen delegates representing four Northwest Dahlia Societies. Portland,

Snohomish County, Washington State (Tacoma) and Kitsap County.

Elections were held:

President - Tony DeRooy of Snohomish County D.S.

Vice President - Peter Kershisnik of Portland D.S.

Secretary Treasurer - Mae Evans of Snohomish County D.S.

At this meeting a committee was appointed to write a constitution and

by-laws for approval by the delegates at the Fall Show of the Snohomish

County Rose and Dahlia Society in August of 1954. We made no effort to

plan for a Conference Show that first year, but established a rotation system

for annual shows. Snohomish County would be host for the first Conference Show on Labor Day 1955 and Portland, Washington State and Kitsap County would follow in succeeding years. It was also established that following the Annual Show there would be a banquet and Conference Meeting with business discussed, elections held and reports given by various committees.

The Seattle Dahlia Society was organized in October 1956 and Southern

Oregon was also chartered the same year at Coos Bay. Through the efforts

of John McEvoy, Daryl Crose, Emaline Cole and others both of the new

societies joined the PNDC making the Conference a strong organization.

Other Societies were organized and also became part of the PNDC. In 1963 the PNDC consisted of Lane County D.S., Olympic D.S., Inland Empire D.S., Wenatchee Valley D.S., Grays Harbor D.S., Victoria Glad. & D.S. Spokane D.S. and Nanaimo Glad & D.S.

From the beginning, one of the primary objectives of the PNDC has been to

publish a bulletin (The Pacific Dahlia) which would inform the members of

Conference activities and provide cultural information. Tony DeRooy was

named editor for the first year of publication. Later editors included Francis

McDuffee, Peter Kershisnik, Phil Traff, Willis Collins and others.

The Conference also appointed a classification Committee and provided a

classification listing of all varieties which grow in different form, size of

color in the Pacific Northwest other than that listed in the American Dahlia

Society Classification Book. (This with the blessing of the American Dahlia


The first PNDC show was presented at the Floral Hall, Forest Park, Everett

Washington on September 3rd and 4th 1955. The show was hosted by the

Snohomish County Rose and Dahlia Society in conjunction with its 46th

annual show. Saturday evening a no host banquet was held in the ball room

of the Monte Cristo Hotel with the annual conference meeting following.

The Portland Dahlia Society was selected to host the 1956 Conference show.

The Show was a great success with many entries in all classes.