With sadness we announce the passing of Sigrid Hewitt, RIWPS member and volunteer, on May 3, 2020. Sigrid brought her strong interest in nature and plants with her when she moved to Rhode Island fifteen years ago. A long time volunteer at Seed Starters West, Sigrid was awarded a Lifetime Service Award in 2018, especially for her contributions to this group. Sigrid had a deep reservoir of knowledge about plants which she always generously shared in her understated manner. Her mastery of Latin names was notable, a fluidity grounded in her personal life, in her desire to talk about plants and gardening with her grandmother. As their conversations were in German, plants were referred to by their Latin names.
Sigrid willing accepted the role of “Plant Expert” at plant sales. She was a master at drawing out those she spoke with and patiently guiding each of them to select plants that best matched their needs. Other volunteers sought her out with questions and for advice on “all things plants”. Her strong sense of what to do as well as a good dose of common sense was invaluable and engendered respect, trust and friendship.
A selection of thoughts from volunteers who worked with Sigrid
We’ll recall Sigrid with our SSW work, with our gardens, with our ears hearing her advice and questions and with our spirit inspired by her to go forth and live. We will miss her as she was a presence in as well as a contributing member of the RIWPS community. She participated in life. −Helen Drew
Sigrid was a Force of Nature. Not an easy quality to be blessed with at the end of days. Definitely will miss her presence. −Dawn Damon
Sigrid was such a great source of all kinds of wisdom. I already miss lost opportunities to get to know her better. She could cut right to the heart of an issue, and was fiercely independent. I was thinking of her just this morning as I repotted seedlings using some worm compost she gave to me last Christmas—ever the practical and appreciated gift. I’m hoping to join her someday in God’s garden—it will be amazing. −Suzanne Lussier
Oh my, such sad news! She was a wonderful person with a warm heart. −Judy Keller
Sigrid, had a wonderful sense of humor and a deep knowledge of plants and their needs. She had a gift for friendship. I will miss our many conversations about life, death, and gardening. One of her aphorisms, at moments of crisis, was “There is no way to go, but forward. I feel sure she would be encouraging us at this time to think about how SSW can go forward in the time of Corvid-19. We will miss her practical and thoughtful advice. −Cathy King
Every time I had a chance to talk with Sigrid I learned something new. I have to admit however that what I most appreciated was her reminders that gardening was just one big experiment and that plants don’t always follow rules. −Mary O’Connor
Dear, dear, Sigrid. Never said no to a request for volunteers. Had a great sense of humor, and loved her ‘Little Dog.’ We often found ourselves in Belmont Mkt. at the same time and had great chats and joked about “meeting like this.” I have some Jacobs Ladder from her garden and will always think of her when they show their beautiful selves. −Shirley and Bob Anderson