Albert E. Muzzell, aged 69, passed away on December 11, 2011 after a brief battle with cancer. He served in Naval Signals Intelligence during the Vietnam War, was a civilian pilot, a truck driver, a landscaper and ran for local office in Gainesville. Always politically active, Al served as Chairman of the Gainesville Plan Board from 1976 through 1978. Al was best known however, for his lifelong passion for bromeliads.
A South Florida native, Al developed an interest in bromeliads as a young man. He interned at Mulford and Racine Foster’s "Bromel-La", where he acquired much of his expertise about early bromeliad selections and hybrids. Al’s enthusiasm for learning about his plants gave him a great fund of information about their pedigrees and idiosyncrasies. Always willing to share his knowledge, a casual comment on a plant might lead him to a précis on the hybridizer or collector, when it was introduced and any problems growing it here in Florida.
After completing his degree in Horticulture from UF, Al eventually opened his own mail-order nursery, New World Bromeliads. He also became an accredited bromeliad judge and was very involved in the formation of the Jacksonville and Gainesville Bromeliad societies. He was also an ardent supporter of the FCBS project to find a biological control for the “Evil Weevil”, Metamasius callizona. Plantsman, instigator and character. Al will certainly be missed.