Yakima, Washington, grower and philanthropist Cliff Plath died April 11 after a battle with cancer. He was 64.
Plath joined the family farm and packing business his grandfather founded, Washington Fruit and Produce Co., in the late 1970s and helped lead the orchard expansion that turned the company into one of the state’s largest vertically integrated fruit companies. Plath, along with his family, was honored as the Good Fruit Grower’s Growers of the Year in 2018.
In the orchard, Plath was known for his practical approach to the orchard business, bringing a critical eye to new ideas but also eager to participate in research and adopt proven new strategies, such as integrated pest management.
In the community, he was known for his generosity and supported a wide variety of causes with his family, including the Washington Apple Education Foundation, Yakima Greenway, Perry Technical Institute and Union Gospel Mission.
In recent years, that generosity included a partnership with school districts in Royal City and Yakima to build and provide startup funding for preschools to serve children of the company’s employees, and other working families, who need both full-time child care and early learning.
Plath was born Sept. 3, 1955, to Fred and Dorothy Plath of Yakima. He and his wife, Janie, raised two children, Gilbert and Sarah. Plath is also survived by his brothers, Peter and Rick, and their families.
No information about services was available at the time this notice was written.
—by Kate Prengaman