Milton “Bud” Mercer, 1938-2010
Milton “Bud” Mercer of Prosser, Washington, who for many years ran the diversified farming enterprise Mercer Canyons, Inc., died on August 11 at the age of 71. He had suffered from pulmonary fibrosis for the past five years.
Mercer was born in Yakima. His grandfather Willis Mercer had a cattle ranch in the lower Yakima Valley in the late 1800s. In 1941, the family bought land in the Horse Heaven Hills area along the Columbia River for cattle and sheep ranching. The family, including his father Milt, began irrigating the land in 1968 and founded the diversified farm Mercer Ranches. Bud eventually became the sole owner and focused primarily on row crops. His oldest son Robert is president of the business, which now operates as Mercer Canyons, Inc.
The family has been growing grapes since the early 1970s and founded Mercer Estates Winery in partnership with the Hogue family.
Bud served on numerous agriculture and economic development boards, including the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center and the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association. He was a founding member of the Prosser Economic Development Association. He retired in 2004.
He is survived by his wife Patsy; brothers Don and Rick Mercer; sons Robert, Will, and Mark Mercer; and daughters Julie Mercer and Lisa Cramer. A daughter, Caren Andreasen, preceded him in death.
A celebration of his life will be held on August 21 at 10 a.m. at Mercer Meadows on the Mercer Canyon farm, 495 Alderdale Road, Prosser, followed by a reception at the Mercer Estates Winery in Prosser.