ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — When local peony perfectionist Don Hollingsworth began hybridizing the plants in 1958, he had no idea he’d still be doing it 64 years later, or that he’d receive a lifetime achievement award for his work in the field. On Sunday, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art and the Heartland Peony Society recognized Hollingsworth for his artistry and skills in peony hybridization.

Hollingsworth grew up just south of St. Joseph, and after college at the University of Missouri, he made his way north to Nodaway County to work with the University of Missouri Extension, according to an MU College of Agriculture article published last year.

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Don Hollingsworth poses Sunday for a photo with his granddaughter Gena Hill and daughter Landra Loos at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph.

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Don Hollingsworth stands to thank the crowd of familiy and friends who gathered Sunday at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art to recognize his work in the field of peony hybridization.

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Grant Evans, Nancy Evans and Gerald Gerardy, Hollingsworth’s nephew, laugh as Don Hollingsworth mentions the work they do to keep him pollinating every day.

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