John Wott holding a microphone and making a speech
John Wott delivering remarks at his 80th birthday celebration.

We are saddened to share the news that John A. Wott, retired professor emeritus, Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington and former Washington Park Arboretum director, passed away on August 28, 2021, at the age of 82.

Wott, who earned his bachelor’s in agricultural education from Ohio State University in 1961, and then his master’s (1966) and Ph.D. (1968) in ornamental horticulture from Cornell University, established himself as an expert in the horticultural community first at Purdue University and then at the University of Washington.

He joined the UW faculty in 1981 and taught with us for many years, playing a major role in the development of the Center for Urban Horticulture. He was appointed director of the Washington Park Arboretum in 1993. During his 13-year tenure, he helped in developing the arboretum’s Master Plan and balancing the interests of stakeholders including the University, the City of Seattle, immediate neighbors and state government. Wott was appointed the acting director for the Center for Urban Horticulture from 2003-2004, before retiring in 2006 as professor emeritus.

Wott stayed connected to UW Botanic Gardens throughout his retirement, offering guidance, advocating for new initiatives and sharing history through his “Glimpse Into the Past” newsletter contributions. He was deeply dedicated to his work, his family and his friends, and made immeasurable contributions to his community throughout his life. His full obituary and plans for services can be found here.

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