• Eric Mussen

Eric Mussen: 1944–2022

June 8th, 2022|1 Comment

Honey bee authority Eric Carnes Mussen, an internationally known California Cooperative Extension apiculturist and member of the University of California, Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, died June 3 from liver cancer, according to a news release from UC Davis. He was 78. Eric Mussen “Eric was a giant

  • Russel Gleason

Russel Gleason: 1929–2022

February 23rd, 2022|0 Comments

Russel Scott Gleason, longtime Yakima Valley orchardist, died Feb. 6.  Russel Gleason According to an obituary published in the Yakima Herald-Republic, Russ ran his own farm, managed other farms, ran a packing facility and worked as a crop advisor for apples and pears. He was one of the first pest

Larry Gut: 1954–2021

September 28th, 2021|0 Comments

Larry Gut Longtime Michigan State University professor Lawrence “Larry” Gut died Sept. 6 in Wenatchee, Washington, where he had recently moved with his wife, Kathleen, to retire near family and friends, according to a Michigan State University news release. Gut joined MSU’s department of entomology in 1997. During his career,

  • Dee Schoenmakers

Dee Schoenmakers: 1956–2021

September 28th, 2021|0 Comments

Dee Schoenmakers Denise “Dee” Schoenmakers, 65, died Aug. 28 following a brief illness. She was a well-known figure in the Washington tree fruit industry, spending most of her career at the Washington State Horticultural Association and Van Well Nursery. After working at the association, Schoenmakers joined Van Well Nursery in

John Carter: 1946–2021

August 11th, 2021|1 Comment

John Carter, a longtime cherry grower in The Dalles, Oregon, and former Good Fruit Grower of the Year, died Aug. 9 following an illness. A fierce proponent of industry research during his career, Carter was credited with helping to restart the cherry breeding program at Washington State University and advocated

Jim Koempel: 1945–2021

August 10th, 2021|0 Comments

Longtime orchardist Jim Koempel died July 26 at his home in Dryden, Washington, following a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease. Jim Koempel (Courtesy Koempel family) Koempel grew up on a family farm in Tieton, Washington, graduating from Highland High School in 1963. He graduated from Washington State University in 1968

  • Jim Wade

Jim Wade: 1926–2020

July 22nd, 2020|0 Comments

Jim Wade Jim Wade, former head of Columbia Fruit Packers and a partner in Columbia Marketing International in Wenatchee, Washington, died July 12. Wade was the second-generation head of the company that would become Columbia Fruit Packers, following in the footsteps of his uncle and company founder, J.M. Wade. His

  • Richard “Dick” Symms

Richard “Dick” Symms: 1935–2020

July 22nd, 2020|0 Comments

Richard “Dick” Symms Richard “Dick” Symms, patriarch of the Caldwell, Idaho, Symms Fruit Ranch, died July 13.  After attending college and completing his military service in the Air Force, Symms returned to the Symms Fruit Ranch, leading it to become the largest fruit company in Idaho, according to an obituary

Richard Thomason: 1948–2019

December 3rd, 2019|0 Comments

Longtime apple grower Richard Harris Thomason of Brewster, Washington, died on Nov. 18, according to an obituary published in the Wenatchee World. Thomason, born on March 24, 1948, grew apples for nearly 50 years at Maverick Orchards, the family farm started by his father. Known as an innovative grower for

Roger Way, 1918–2019

June 20th, 2019|0 Comments

Roger Way. (Courtesy Cornell University) Roger Way, world-renowned apple breeder and professor emeritus of pomology at Cornell University, died June 2 in State College, Pennsylvania. He was 100 years old. According to an article in the Cornell Chronicle, Way’s research on pollination and apple germplasm helped lead to the introduction

  • Bob Kershaw

Robert Kershaw: 1938–2019

May 15th, 2019|0 Comments

Good Fruit Grower received the following announcement, dated May 13, about the passing of Domex Superfresh Growers co-founder Robert “Bob” Kershaw: Robert “Bob” Chester Kershaw was born February 3, 1938 in Yakima, Washington, to Ronald and Betty Kershaw. His family had migrated from Philadelphia in 1880, planting apple and pear

Stephen Garczynski: 1960–2019

February 21st, 2019|4 Comments

Stephen Garczynski Stephen Garczynski, research geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Wapato, Washington, died Feb. 9. Garczynski was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1960. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology/genetics at Purdue University in 1983. At the University of Georgia, he earned his master’s

IFTA founder Wallace Heuser has died

February 7th, 2019|0 Comments

Wallace Heuser, recognized internationally as an authority on tree fruit, rootstocks and orchard systems, has died. Heuser, 90, died Feb. 5 in Lawrence, Michigan. For nearly three decades, Heuser was president of Hilltop Orchards and Nurseries, a multifaceted horticultural company with orchards, a packing house and nursery producing over a

James K. Ballard, 1920-2017

January 4th, 2018|0 Comments

James K. Ballard James K. Ballard, a WSU Extension agent for Yakima County from 1962-81 and former contributor to Good Fruit Grower, died on Oct 18. He was well known for his expertise in orchard management and apple production. Prior to his work in Yakima, he served as

Kurt Schlect, 1954-2017

February 9th, 2017|3 Comments

Kurt Don Schlect, a lifelong grower in the Yakima Valley, passed away Feb. 5 at the University of Washington Medical Center due to complications of a double lung transplant in early September 2016. Kurt was a longtime partner at Highland Fruit Growers, Inc in Yakima and was vice president of the board

Arkansas fruit breeder Moore dies at 85

January 27th, 2017|0 Comments

Jim Moore Jim Moore, a longtime fruit breeder, who was influential in the tree fruit industry died Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, at age 85, according to a news release from the University of Arkansas. Moore, who held a doctorate from Rutgers University, established the fruit breeding program at

Bruce Zahn, 1925-2016

January 6th, 2017|0 Comments

Bruce A. Zahn, a prominent grower who lived in Bridgeport, Washington, passed away December 9, 2016, at age 91. According to his granddaughter, Darby (Zahn) Jones, Zahn served as president of the Washington State Bruce Zahn Image courtesy of Zahn family Horticultural Association in 1991.  “He loved the

Washington horticulturalist Fred Valentine dies

December 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Fred Valentine in a 2015 file photo. (Geraldine Warner/Good Fruit Grower) Fred Valentine, a longtime field horticulturist and former president of the Washington State Horticultural Association, died December 4. He was 81. Valentine was born in Tennessee, and his family moved to Peshastin, Washington, when he was a child.

  • Malbec grapes, known for their dark, inky color and robust tannins, need lots of sun and heat to ripen. The variety is one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of Bordeaux wine. Photo credit: Melissa Hansen

Washington Winemakers Mike Wallace and Scott Pontin, RIP

October 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

Two prominent Washington State winemakers have died in recent days. The Yakima Herald reports that Mike Wallace owner of Hinzerling Winery and one of Prosser's original winemakers, died over the weekend after complications from pneumonia. And Scott Pontin, 53, died Monday, reportedly from a heart attack. He was the owner and winemaker

Former MSU president, Dr. Gordon Guyer, 1926-2016

April 13th, 2016|0 Comments

Dr. Gordon Guyer Dr. Gordon Guyer, Michigan State University’s 18th president and longtime head of MSU Extension, has died. He was 89 years old. Guyer attempted to retire twice in his career — the first time, immediately after his tenure as director of MSU Extension (1973-85) in 1986.

Grower, philanthropist Marvin Sundquist, 1926-2015

August 31st, 2015|0 Comments

Marvin Sundquist, retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage in Yakima, Washington, died Saturday. He was 89. Sundquist Fruit & Cold Storage originated in 1922, when Ralph Sundquist, father of Marvin, agreed to manage an investor-owned fruit-growing operation in the lower Naches area of the Upper Yakima Valley in

GFG Associate Editor Richard Lehnert, 1942-2015

August 31st, 2015|11 Comments

Richard Lehnert Richard Lehnert, associate editor with Good Fruit Grower for the past six years, died suddenly August 31 at his home in Trufant, Michigan. He was 72. Lehnert received numerous awards during his 52-year career as an agricultural journalist. Earlier this year, he received the Distinguished Service

Robert Snyder 1921–2015

August 19th, 2015|0 Comments

Robert Snyder, a former partner at C&O Nursery in Wenatchee, Washington, died June 19 at the age of 94. Snyder grew up in Wenatchee. He became a U.S. Air Force cadet and graduated from the Hancock Foundation College of Aeronautics in California. He later earned a degree in business administration

Gene Veliquette, 1947-2015

June 12th, 2015|0 Comments

Gene Veliquette Michigan’s cherry industry lost a visionary leader with the death of Gene Veliquette. The influential grower died June 7 in Traverse City. He was 67. After buying his first farm in 1970 with his brother Norm and twin brother Dean, Veliquette began raising cherries and quickly

Jack Edwin Jones: 1941-2015

April 30th, 2015|0 Comments

Jack Edwin Jones Jack Jones, grower and entrepreneur from Quincy, Washington, was known for doing things in a big way. He welcomed new challenges as he diversified from the family’s potato growing and packing operation to growing tree fruit and wine grapes to building a winery and a

Dick Bartram, 1920-2015

March 17th, 2015|0 Comments

Dick Bartram (wearing the dark coat and hat) was an authority on orchard economics. Here, he explains how to get new trees off to a good start. Washington State University Retired Washington State University Cooperative Extension agent Richard “Dick” Bartram, who was an authority on apple maturity and

Arvid V. Monson 1941 – 2014

December 9th, 2014|0 Comments

Arvid V. Monson Diversified grower, rancher, and founder of Goose Ridge Winery Arvid Monson, 73, died December 1. The long time Yakima Valley, Washington, cattleman will be remembered for his handshake business dealings and innovations in tree fruit and wine grapes. Monson grew up in Yakima and graduated

Daniel Symms, 1961-2014

November 16th, 2014|0 Comments

Dan Symms (Courtesy Symms Family) Daniel Thomas Symms, great-grandson of the founder of Symms Fruit Ranch in Caldwell, Idaho, died from cancer on October 7. He was 52. Symms grew up on the Symms Fruit Ranch until his father, Steven Symms, was elected to the U.S. Congress in

John Daniel Gebbers, 1930 – 2014

October 31st, 2014|0 Comments

  John “Danny” Gebbers (Courtesy Gebbers family) John “Danny” Gebbers, 84, patriarch of the Gebbers family that has been growing apples near Brewster for more than 100 years, died October 21 of complications from a fall last summer during the region’s forest fires. Gebbers Farms, with more than

  • Mike Miller

Michael L. Miller, 1947 – 2014

October 9th, 2014|1 Comment

Mike Miller, at Airfield Estates Winery tasting room in Prosser, Washington on March 30, 2009. (Melissa Hansen/Good Fruit Grower) Mike Miller, 67, known for his infectious grin, had deep roots in Washington’s Yakima Valley agriculture. His grandfather helped to bring irrigation water to land northeast of the Yakima

Pat Hagood, 1924–2013

November 18th, 2013|0 Comments

Pat Hagood Journalist Helen Patricia Hagood, who wrote for Good Fruit Grower during the 1970s, died in Springfield, Oregon, on September 13. She was 89. Hagood was born in Dixonville, Oregon. After graduating from Roseburg High School, she attended Oregon State College in Corvallis, Oregon, where she was

Joe Sardinha, former president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, passed away August 31

September 16th, 2013|0 Comments

Joe Sardinha Joe Sardinha, former president of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association, passed away August 31, the Penticton Herald reported. The Summerland, B.C., orchardist served as president of the association from 2005 to 2011. He was 52. Sardinha was described as a great leader for the B.C. fruit


July 1st, 2010|0 Comments

Albert Ravenholt was a visionary. In 1968, he and founding Sagemoor Farms partner Alec Bayless shared a belief that tree fruit and wine grapes would thrive in Washington’s Columbia Basin, an area then still mainly scrub brush and tumbleweeds. Ravenholt of Seattle, Washington, died on April 25 at the age

Lonnie Alvin Conner, 1925–2010

April 1st, 2010|0 Comments

Pasco, Washington, juice grape grower Lonnie Conner, who devoted much of his life to industry and community affairs, died February 19 after a brief illness. He was 84. Conner, born in Kellogg, Idaho, served in the U.S. Army Infantry 94th Division from 1944 to 1946 and received a Bronze Star

Charles L. “Charlie” Bennett 1945-2010

April 1st, 2010|0 Comments

Charles L. "Charlie" Bennett, 64, who spent his career working on the rootstock development program at Cornell University in Geneva, New York, died February 24. He began working in the mid-1960s for the New York State Fruit Testing Association in Geneva. He was mainly involved with plant propagation and was