Tribute to Jürgen Menzel~ CactusJordi
It's going to be very difficult to convey what a friend Jürgen was to me over the past 2 decades, but I'm hoping these photos will give some sense of it. We lost him to a short battle with MDS/preLeukemia on 1/1/18. It has been quite a shock. Those in the cacti & succulent world who knew him, most likely have similar memories. We will all miss him, his quick wit, big smile & positive attitude.

He had a vast knowledge of cactus & was willing to share with anyone wanting to know. He had quite the collection of rare & unusual cacti...and was proud of them, & regularly won awards for them. The Wild Animal Park was lucky to have him plant, care & maintain the Baja Garden there. He was very active in the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society, & many came to know him.

I met Jürgen 20 yrs ago in an online forum for cacti & succulents (known as CactusJordi there). I was against owning any "pokeys", but he kept showing beautiful specimens which eventually changed my mind! Several on the Gardenweb forum belonged to the SDCSS & we arranged to meet at one of the shows. I made many lasting friendships with those I met that day. :) Each year, we looked forward to seeing each other at the shows. I learned so much from all of them.

Jürgen invited me to his home to see his garden & greenhouse. Oh my, what a collection! Each time I went, I brought along another friend to be wowed...sometimes from out of town, another state, & even another country. His greenhouse became known to us as his "sauna" (as I called it), after sweating up a storm the 1st visit...not wanting to leave until I had pix of ALL. He has "blackmail" pix of me from that day. LOL I will miss his joking around about that.

I am so thankful I had the privilege to get to know this wonderful man. I will miss him & his friendship...and the visits we had from time to time. My heart aches for Beate, his wife. I hope the cherished memories help smooth the rough times ahead. ❤️ Be at Peace, my friend!
One of Jürgen’s friends, Alain Buffel has given me permission to reprint what he has written:
It is with regret that I have to report to you the death of Dr. Jürgen Menzel, world-renowned cactus connoisseur and traveler.
Jürgen was born in Germany (Hamburg) where he studied and taught chemistry. He moved to Spain after his active career because his plants would live there in a better climate. Later he moved to El Cajon (near San Diego) in southern California in 1999.
Jürgen had built up a beautiful private collection, partly in his garden, partly under the protection of a conservatory.
He published a seed list every year that he distributed throughout the world and was also the home supplier to the well-known European cactus traders.
Jürgen traveled numerous times to habitat sites of cacti in the south of the USA and in Mexico. Often in the capacity from tour guide / guide. He was also known on the internet under a pseudonym: cactus Jordi.
He was a sweet man, always willing to give advice on problems with the plants. Jürgen died in the night from old to new after a short fight against leukemia.
~Rest in Peace, Jürgen~
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