He launched his landscape architecture and site planning business out of Rome Seed in 1969, the year I was born, and later became President of the business soon after my grandfather, Spencer Diden, passed in 1987. He probably spent 34 years of his life with Rome Seed. He landscaped countless businesses and residences around Rome during those years. Each time I drive through Rome, I enjoy seeing trees I helped plant 25 years ago while working on his landscape crew.
I remember coming to the store as a kid and playing with the chicks and bunnies in the window, running around on the stacks of feed, making chains out of the bottle tops I collected from the soda machine, getting a candy bar from Mr. Pete in the old shop. As a teen, I worked summers in various roles, carrying out feed backs, stocking shelves, working on the landscape crew. I learned that working on Bert's crew was much easier than working on Tony's (but realized Tony's fast pace helped pay the bills). I learned how to drive a fork lift and work a hand truck piled high with 50-lb bags. I learned that dad, like his father-in-law, was very well-respected around Rome Seed.
I remember him as a man with a remarkable work ethic and a big heart. He poured all he had into his family, his work, his church, his community, and his friends. He would be there for you if you needed him. He would finish a 11 hour day at work and then head over to a friends house to help them build a deck. I'd give anything to play another round of golf with him, or stroll through my backyard and talk about landscaping and life. He was a great man and is dearly missed.