The following message was shared by the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA), reposted here with permission.
It is with great sadness that we share with you that Dr. David Slawson passed away on Sunday, April 4th. Dr. Slawson was an important member of the Japanese garden community and made invaluable contributions to our field during the last 40 years. He was born in the suburbs of Clevaland, Ohio in 1941 and first visited Japan as a Marine. He became enamored with Japan and its gardens, obtaining both a Masters degree and a Ph.D. in Asian Studies. His dissertation was later published as Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens.
Over his long and accomplished career, Dr. Slawson constructed numerous gardens including the Japanese gardens at Garvan Woodland Gardens and the Cleveland Botanical Garden as well as at Carleton College, Smith College, and The Aspen Institute. He was a founding NAJGA board member and was honored by NAJGA in 2014 for his achievements. Our thoughts are with his family as we share this news with you and acknowledge his very important contributions to the Japanese garden field.
UBC Botanical Garden offers our condolences to Dr. David Slawson’s family and remembers with gratitude Dr. Slawson and his invaluable work in the Japanese garden community.
5 responses to “Honouring Dr. David Slawson”
During my graduate studies at Indiana University, I was privileged to have had Dave as one of my loving personal friends. Dave’s very kind, gentle, calm demeanour reflected his profound appreciation of the beauty of Japanese gardens and the study of Buddhism. Thank you for your friendship , your subtle sense of humour and for enriching my student years. My sincere and deep condolences to the Slawson family.
While David was studying at Indiana University, I helped him read the Edo period Japanese texts in garden design. I am proud of the resulting dissertation and the book published by Kodansha International. He assisted his advisor, the late Kenneth Yasuda, Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in designing and constructing a now-famous Japanese garden for the Canada House at the south end of Bloomington, IN. I followed the construction by visiting the gigantic garden. Partly in thanks to Ken and David, Cathy Canada, owner of the extraordinary “earth house,” which was buried underground except for a diagonal ceiling/wall that opened to the view of the garden, invited about 200 attendees of a conference on The Tale of Genji, which I co-organized and co-chaired. She hosted a few other large parties at the house providing drinks. David has left his mark by designing gardens for many universities and other institutions.
Hi Paul, thank you for your sharing this documentary with us.
If you get a chance, view the video documentary, “The Garden of Quiet Listening” a japanese-style garden located at Carleton College. David’s comments about garden design are included in the film. To view on YouTube simply go to this location: https://youtu.be/p4MeCgfsYBU
Paul Krause, film maker….
Condolences to his family and friends. R.I.P and thank you for the beautiful garden Dr Slawson….