New U.S. Stamp commemorates Obie MacAroon I

ARSI takes great pleasure in announcing, in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service, a new 8-cent Commemorative Stamp in honor of Obie MacAroon I, our Founder and ongoing inspiration.

The new stamp will be issued in a limited edition on April 1, 2009. The familiar portrait of Obie MacAroon was painted by celebrated artist P.W.C. Magillicuddy in 1954. It shows our Founder at the very moment he conceived the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute and its complex of laboratories, now located outside scenic Forest Grove, Oregon.

MacAroon was born on June 16, 1904, at the family homestead near Trout Lake, Washington. As a child of five, he began to explore the intricate world of horticulture in the rutabaga patch adjoining his humble one-room cabin. Entirely self-educated, he went on to conduct experiments in rutabaga hybridization that attracted the attention of several neighboring farmers.

After an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Pentagon to add rutabagas to C-Rations during World War II, MacAroon moved to Forest Grove, Oregon, and planted his first commercial rutabaga crop in 1951. After three years of successful harvests, he established the modest first headquarters of the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute in 1954.

In the 50th anniversary of ARSI’s founding, a petition was filed to establish Our Founder’s birthplace (above) as a National Historic Monument. For unexplained reasons, the application has languished in “administrative review status” for nearly eight years.Reached via satellite phone at his botanical field station in the Peruvian Andes, ARSI President for Life Obie MacAroon III commented on the MacAroon stamp: “This long-overdue recognition represents a complete vindication of my grandfather’s efforts, which regrettably were not fully appreciated during his long and fruitful lifetime.” President MacAroon expressed understandable dismay when he was informed that the USPS has refused to share revenues from the sale of stamps with ARSI.

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