Sunny Border Nurseries’ president Marc Laviana passed away March 11 after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.
Laviana began his legacy at Sunny Border in 1969, when the company’s CEO, Pierre Bennerup, brought him into the fold at age 15. He quickly rose through the ranks, proving his ability as an exceptional grower and leader. Laviana worked hand in hand with Bennerup in making Sunny Border Nurseries a leader and an innovator in the industry.
Laviana always had a passion for growing and was a “hands on” leader. Hard work was what he understood best and that was apparent to all who knew him. His strong work ethic and love for growing earned him a Connecticut Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year early on and in 1988, he served as President of the Connecticut Nurserymen’s Association.
Throughout the years, Laviana was instrumental in introducing many plant hybrids to the green industry. These included Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose', Miscanthus sinensis 'Gold Bar', Hosta 'Grand Marquee' and countless others. Over the past decade, he was part of an esteemed group of growers working with breeder Darrell Probst to bring his groundbreaking Coreopsis hybrids to market. He was very proud of the part he played in trialing hundreds of Coreopsis selections throughout the years as part of the Coreopsis Summit.
As proud and passionate as he was about the nursery, he was most proud of the family he created with his loving wife Linda. It gave him great pride to see the interest his son Dan was taking in the business from an early age, working part-time at the nursery during high-school and thereafter. It also gave Laviana great joy to have his daughter, Tara, working at the nursery during her high school and college years, prior to beginning her nursing career. In 2013, as Dan Laviana was finishing his B.S. in Business Management at Southern CT State University, he began his full-time career at Sunny Border. Since then, he has worked through the ranks just as his father did and has transitioned into a leadership role here at the nursery. He will be working closely with CEO, Pierre Bennerup to continue the legacy of his father and the Bennerup family. Our hearts go out to the Laviana family during this extremely difficult time.
Information on the services can be found here. The Sunny Border Nurseries office will be closed Friday, March 17 as we attend the services and honor his life. Customers with questions can contact the nursery at 1-800-732-1627.
Photo: Sunny Border Nurseries’ Facebook page