Horticulturist Frederick (Freddie) Glasoe dispensed gardening advice with a direct manner and his distinctive squeaky, gravelly voice as cohost of KSTP-AM radio's "Home and Garden" show on Saturday mornings for three decades.
Glasoe, 80, a retired science teacher and former president of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, died of heart disease on May 14 in Ojai, Calif.
The radio personality was welcomed in gardens around the Twin Cities and gladly shared his knowledge, whether on the air, meeting strangers on the street, or at Bachman's, where he worked seasonally for 30 years.
"Fred was a teacher at heart. He had a passion for gardening and was willing to share that passion," said Dale Bachman, president of the Twin Cities gardening centers.
Glasoe regularly gave formal talks at the store, as well as at garden clubs, said Bachman.
Loren Kohnen of Corcoran served as his radio co-host for 14 years, dispensing home repair advice.
Kohnen, still on the air, said Glasoe was so popular that strangers stopped him on the street to talk about gardening.
"He really held the show together," said Kohnen. "It was just a great time with Freddie."
Funny, easy to understand
Kohnen said Glasoe made his advice easy to understand, disregarding complicated botanical gobbledygook, and "he was funny."
Once a caller asked about a sick tree, one that was clearly dead or soon would be.
"'I think my tree is a little sick, it doesn't have leaves on half the branches,'" said the caller, reported longtime friend Mike Hibbard who succeeded him on the air in 2004.
Glasoe's response: "'Well, my advice to you is a one-cut prune at the base of the tree.'"
In 1946, Glasoe graduated from Golden Valley's Breck School, and next earned bachelor's degrees from Northfield's St. Olaf College in 1952, and St. Paul's Macalester College in 1963.
Over the years he served as an educator of military families' children in Germany and Japan, and he taught at Breck and Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault.
From 1960 to 1993, he taught science in St. Paul Schools, mostly at Homecroft Elementary. He once taught horticulture at what is now the Frost Lake Magnet school.
Jerry Shannon, a retired St. Paul Schools educator and a leader in the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, said Glasoe reminded children of Santa Claus, and they took to him.
"He loved the kids, and kids loved him," said Shannon. "He had a real influence on students in horticulture."
Over the years, Glasoe led many garden clubs. In the 1970s, he had a local PBS television show for children. For more than 20 years, he wrote "Garden Tips from Fred" in the Horticultural Society's magazine, Northern Gardener.
He moved to Ojai, Calif., in recent months.
"He loved talking to people," said his daughter Carolyn Glasoe of Ojai. "He was very social. Dinner wasn't dinner unless there were eight people sitting around the table."
In addition to Carolyn, he is survived by his wife of 39 years, Elizabeth Glasoe of Ojai, Calif.; his other daughter, Lila of Ojai; foster daughters Loan Lu of Phoenix, My Pham of Los Angeles, and Nonny Nguyen of San Diego; foster sons Quan Nguyen of San Diego and Tom Glasoe of Houston, and four grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on June 5 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis.