Friends and colleagues highlighted the contribution he made to horticulture where he was acknowledged as an industry champion.
Hollyacre Plants sales and marketing director and British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) treasurer Simon Davenport said: "Derf has been vital for our business, instrumental in enlivening the debate around horticulture research and trading standards. He has provided the industry with a lead in many areas and taken several highly valued initiatives."
The BPOA had awarded Paton with the Silver Kentia award for his 'tireless efforts' on its technical committee.
Garden writer Peter Seabrook, who first met him in 1954, said: "He was an amazing character.
Irrepressible is the word. He was a great champion for the indus- try and a shining example to all the students who follow him. I am very sad to see him go."
BPOA marketing committee chairman Ian Riggs said: "It's extremely sad news.
He was a thoroughly nice man. He was enthusiastic and never stopped thinking of ways for his business or the industry to go forward. He was a very innovative thinker and not shy of fighting causes."
A service to celebrate his life will be held on the 13 July at St Thomas' Church High St Lymington, Hants, at 2pm and afterwards at the Royal Lymington YC, Bath Road.
Family flowers only please but any donations to Oakhaven Hospice care of F W House Funeral Directors, 33-34 St Thomas Street, Lymington (01590 673142).
- Pinetops Nurseries celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. See www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk.