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Emly Francis Siegerist


1925 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Emly Francis Siegerist Obituary
Siegerist, Emly Francis (nee Steffan), born in St. Louis on October 5, 1925 to the late Michael and Ruth (Westhus) Steffan, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2014, aged 88. She had been a resident of Meramec Bluffs' Ballwin Place Nursing Care unit. Emly attended Cleveland High School, graduating in the class of 1942. She attended Washington University in 1942-5 where she studied chemical engineering and met her future husband, Walter L. Siegerist. She was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority. Walter and Emly were married in 1946, after he was released from active duty in the Navy. In 1973, after her children were grown, Emly became fascinated by orchids and began growing them in a greenhouse Walter constructed for her on the south side of their house. By 1976, her orchids were winning prizes at American Orchid Society shows. Emly earned a master's degree in botany from Webster University and in 1983 became a research fellow in botany at the Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium of Harvard University. In 1984, Emly spent six months in the Honduras outback, cataloging the country's orchids. In 1988, Emly went to the jungles of Thailand to collect and catalog their orchids. She was accompanied in this venture by the King of Thailand, who is also an orchidist. Emly qualified in 1984 as a judge of the American Orchid Society and spent the 1980s and 1990s attending and judging orchid shows and writing articles for numerous Orchid Society and botanical journals. In 1991, she was named the Orchidist of the year by the Mid-America Orchid Congress. In 2001, Emly wrote Bulbophyllums and Their Allies, describing and illustrating 545 Bulbophyllum and related species. Published by Timber Press, the book is still in print. Emly was also an avid stitcher, knitter and seamstress who made many of her clothes as well as clothing for other members of her family. Emly is survived by her son Michael (Caroline), her daughters Julia (Kent) Kelly and Marli (Alan) Yoder, her grandchildren Edward Yoder, Ruth Stone, Frank Yoder, Ginger Miley and Kristi LaLiberte, and numerous great grand children. Services: A memorial service will be held at a date and place to be announced. In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made to the Delta Gamma Foundation or a charity of the giver's choice. www.boppchapel.com

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Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 30, 2014
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