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In Santa Rosa, the Daffodil Man strikes again

Daffodils are blooming, and Merle Reuser is back to work.

The Cloverdale-reared military combat veteran and retired operator of a portable sawmill has for many of his 73 years propagated, planted, harvested and shared the beauty of daffodils.

Reuser makes gifts of cut daffodils and also bulbs to honor the late Margaret Elizabeth Kohler Adams, who was like a grandmother to him. Reuser was a kid when Adams cut daffodils on her ranch just outside of Cloverdale and asked him to carry them into town and give them away.

Reuser also enlists relatives and friends each year to help him pass out bunches of daffodils in tribute to the memory of Courtney Jade Davis, a Cloverdale High School athlete who succumbed to a rare childhood cancer in 2008, at age 16, and to five other Cloverdale teens taken by cancer.

As he spreads the joy of daffodils, Reuser thinks also of his late wife, Trish, whom he lost to heart failure the same year that Courtney Davis died.

Just last week, Reuser and a team of like-hearted helpers drove about Cloverdale and left at front doors 300 bouquets of daffodils.

On Monday, Reuser loaded the bed of his gloriously restored 1954 Chevy pickup with 108 clusters. He’d decided beforehand to pass them out in a neighborhood of Santa Rosa that he likes, off Hoen and Yulupa avenues.

It surprised and delighted the residents who saw Reuser’s granddaughter, Maddie Reuser, 9, and friends Jeannie Fowler and Rosemarie Dalton approach their homes with bunches of yellow blooms. Many others would have their Mondays brightened upon returning home to find the gifts on their porches.

You can contact Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com

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