In Memoriam – Irma Bodil Orum

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We are sad to report that Irma Bodil Orum, 88, died the morning of Sunday, September 22, 2019, at The Danish Home of Chicago, where she had been a resident for over six years.

As was detailed in her obituary, Irma was born in Chicago on March 4, 1931, the daughter of Danish immigrants Carl and Katrine Hertzmann. She studied at Wilbur Wright College and began her business administrative career at the Chicago corporate offices of The American Cancer Society and Icelandic Airlines. On February 4, 1967, she married Peter Orum at St. James Episcopal Church in Dundee, Illinois. As a team, they founded and built the Midwest Companies in the horticulture industry, including Midwest Groundcovers LLC and Midwest Trading Inc.

As professional staff with AmericanHort, the Horticultural Research Institute, and previously the American Nursery & Landscape Association, we came to know Irma and Peter as among the most visionary, principled, generous, and committed individuals one may ever hope to meet. Their generosity and commitment, without ego or pretense, have been demonstrated time and again in their sustained support of key causes where the industry simply must collaborate to have a real chance of success.

Notable examples have included the ongoing quest for meaningful labor immigration reform, the establishment and nurturing of meaningful and productive political relationships, and the establishment and support of several permanent research endowments that will be a lasting legacy. While Peter was often the “front man,” the more public face, everyone knew Irma was near at hand, in support.

Irma is survived by her husband, Peter Orum, her daughter, Christa (Craig) Orum-Keller, and grandchildren Christian Keller and Lydia Orum-Keller. She was preceded in death by her parents and son, Stig Peter Orum. Our sincerest condolences to the Orum family for their loss.

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