Tom Mathison honored for leadership
Stemilt Growers' founder Tom Mathison
Courtesy Stemilt Growers, Inc.
The late Tom Mathison, founder of Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee, Washington, has been honored by the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation with the 2011 Stu Bledsoe Leadership Memorial Award.
Mathison is the first person to receive the award posthumously. The award was made during the recent graduation ceremony of Class 32 of the foundation’s leadership program in recognition of his leadership.
Mathison founded Stemilt Growers in 1964 with the goal of building consumer demand for fresh fruit and improving grower returns. He was a leader in sustainable farming. He was a founding member of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and a board member of the Washington Apple Commission, Northwest Fruit Exporters, and other industry groups. He received numerous awards, including Cherry King in 1971, the Silver Apple Award in 1991, and the Good Fruit Grower of the Year in 2002.
He died in 2008 at the age of 82. His daughter, Lavonne van Someren Gréve, accepted the award on his behalf.
Each year, the foundation’s graduating class selects an industry member to receive the award. Mathison was nominated by Abigail Snyder, executive director of Admyn.com in Wenatchee. Mathison’s great nephew, Noel Mathison, is also a member of Class 32.
Bledsoe was a leader in agriculture and served as the executive director of the Washington Forest Protection Association from 1978-88. Mathison is the twenty-first recipient of the award.