Dave Burkhart, 1928-2008
Horticulturist, educator, and author Dave Burkhart of Hood River, Oregon, will be remembered as an authority on pear culture. He died on March 17 from myelodysplasia at the age of 79.
Burkhart grew up in Montesano and Walla Walla, Washington. He earned a degree in history and education from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, where he met his wife, Rosalind. He then did graduate work at Washington State University and soon joined an uncle on his grandfather Dumas’s family orchard, Pomona Ranch, near Dayton, Washington. He helped manage the apple growing and packing operation for eight years.
When the Dumas family sold the orchard in 1960, Burkhart became a county horticultural extension agent with Oregon State University in Umatilla County. He worked for 13 years in the Milton-Freewater area, where he and his wife owned a 20-acre orchard. In 1970, he returned to Oregon State University to earn his master’s degree.
In 1973, he was transferred to Hood River County, where as county extension chair he worked with apple and pear growers of the Mid-Columbia area. He wrote articles for the Good Fruit Grower and penned a weekly column for the Hood River News. He took study trips to Europe in 1978 and 1986 to become more familiar with pear culture in France, Italy, England, and Holland.
After retiring in 1991, he took an assignment with Vocational Opportunities Clubs of America in Armenia to help growers after the fall of the Soviet Union. During the 1990s, he took groups of fruit growers on tours to Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and
Australia. Bored with retirement, he took a job as a representative for Willow Drive Nursery in northern Oregon, and worked for the nursery for 13 years.
Industry awards he received include the Hartman Cup from the Oregon Horticulture Society in 1991 and the Washington State Horticultural Association’s Silver Pear Award in 1993. He was also recognized by the Hood River Grower-Shipper Association and was named to the Diamond Pioneer Career Achievement Registry by the OSU College of Agriculture in 2004.
In recent years, he wrote a book about fruit growing in the Hood River Valley entitled It All Began with Apple Seeds. He also helped form the Hood River Fruit Foundation.
He is survived by his wife and three children, Deborah Johns, Steve Burkhart, and Becky Burkhart.
Garry Williams, 1953-2008
Garry Williams of East Wenatchee, Washington, who was for many years involved in the tree fruit industry, died in January at the age of 54.
Early in his career, he worked as a fruit inspector for the Washington State Department of Agriculture. He later worked in operations for Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee, and as quality assurance director for Majestic Valley Produce, Wenatchee.
He was most recently working as facility and food-safety director at Blue Bird, Inc., Peshastin, and also as operations manager of Washington Cherry Growers.
"Garry had great passion for the tree fruit industry," writes Dan Gaspar of Domex Superfresh Growers. "He was a talented manager with a wealth of knowledge. He could bridge from the grower in the orchard to the ultimate buyer in a faraway country—not always an easy task, but one which Garry handled magnificently."
Williams is survived by his mother, Eula; wife, Lorena; and five children.