I had some information about Clyde when I shared the notes from the lunch we (Dixie Royal, Tom Hanson, and Clyde) enjoyed. Clyde was a quiet guy that always had a smile. His career was spent with USDA. He worked for the agricultural regulation arm known as APHIS (do not know what all the letters stand for). Clyde was involved with the burrowing nematode program among others. He would visit with growers, keep up with the State of Florida folks that actually put out the chemicals to control the pest, etc. He also was part of other efforts like black fly, med fly and probably others that I am not familiar with. Clyde was born, raised and lived in Mt. Dora his entire life. Some of his groves are contiguous with those of Jim Simpson. If you travel any in NE Lake County they are the nice looking ones just north of Lowes and 441. Clyde looked after his groves with a lot of hands on care. His son Ernie relates that dad wanted things done ‘right’. Clyde taught Ernie many valuable lessons about hard work and doing it right the first time. His wife, Helen was part of the team. She spent many hours on the tractor and knew every tree in the groves. On my way to Lowes on the weekend more often than not Clyde was in the grove, maybe on his John Deere Gator looking after resets or fixing irrigation or something else that needed to be done.
Clyde attended every meeting he could to gain more knowledge and visit with fellow growers. He was an active member of the Mature Mentors. Many of you may not be able to put a name and face together, but you will say “oh yes, I remember seeing him all the time”. As I said earlier Clyde was not one to speak a lot in public. Now he could tell some stories and engage you one on one. Dixie and Clyde go back to their days at UF together. As a note, parking was not a problem when they were in school (was not when I was at UF).
A couple of non citrus facts about Clyde. One of the most impressive ones involves Boy Scouts. I was a scout for a while and have some knowledge of the organization. I know the hard work required to become an Eagle Scout. Any one that has achieved that rank is remarkable. I put Eagle Scout at the top of one’s resume! Yes Clyde was an Eagle Scout AND he had an uncle that was an Eagle Scout, same troop as Clyde. Now along comes Ernie, Clyde’s son and he is in the same troop as dad. Of course Ermie becomes an Eagle scout AND is the youngest to obtain the honor in the troop’s long history. It does not end with Ernie for Jackson Mostelar became the 5th generation Eagle Scout in the Mt Dora troop! And by the way, Jackson obtained his rank at a younger age than his dad!!
Clyde demonstrated his level of involvement in the community (in addition to Boy Scouts) through Mt Dora Lion’s Club and the Mt Dora Methodist Church (he was treasurer for many many years). Clyde was committed to his family, to his community, to his friends, to his grove and to helping fellow growers. He was a hard working gentleman AND a Florida Gator. If you want to learn more about Clyde check out his video on the Hall of Fame website here. Don’t worry Ernie, I have asked they get the name right!