Friends are precious gifts. They are always available when you need someone to talk with or help with a project or encourage you or to just have a good time. Many readers of Citruslines have enjoyed that special gift which John shared, friendship. I have many great memories and lessons from a friend that I will use often.
John did not feel comfortable in the spot light; he was a great support character. His roles were those of secretary, treasurer, board member, and probably best noted as chef. For many years John was responsible for every citrus related meal prepared at the Lake County Agricultural Center. Literally thousands enjoyed his unique talent to prepare fantastic meals for large crowds.
He was the treasurer of the Lake/Orange Extension Citrus Advisory Committee and a member of the committee for more than 30 years. In this capacity he provided guidance for the extension program by assisting to identify problems, set priorities, suggest ideas for programs, participate in field trials, and of course manage the financial resources. He was an important part of my professional life!
John did more for the Lake County Extension Service than serve on committees or fix meals. He was almost a staff member! Whenever there was a need; a front end loader to move some trees or a mower to cut a field, a sprayer for the Equipment Operators School, someone to help with a tour, field crates for a fair display, help with 4-H citrus projects, someone to talk to a commissioner, etc. John was there to get the job done. He could always be counted on accomplish whatever task
was at hand, no matter how large or small. John was an important part of our entire office!
John served many years as an elected supervisor of the Lake County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. In this capacity he reviewed and authorized cost sharing payments for growers. This was a difficult job for USDA dollars were limited and farmer=s needs were great. John was there to help growers through freezes, droughts, floods, fire, tornadoes and any other natural disaster that occurred. He used common sense to deal with governmental rules. He was concerned first with treating growers fairly, then making sure tax dollars were spent wisely. Very few knew the long hours and difficult decisions he made for Lake County Agriculture.
For many years John was secretary/treasure for the Central Florida Citrus Managers Association, known as the Hillbillies. This organization is both social and professional as it provides the members of the citrus industry a place to exchange ideas, discuss common problems and simply enjoy the fellowship of each other. Once again John was the man behind the scenes that made sure everything got done.
John was a member of the Florida Citrus Production Managers Association, Florida Farm Bureau, and Florida State Horticultural Society. John served on the Lake County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and was very active during critical years after the freezes of the 1980’s and helped this organization survive.
The pattern is clear, John cared deeply for others! He was a, behind the scenes leader, that allowed others do their job more efficiently. He could always be counted on to be there when he was needed.
He loved to have a good time! He was definitely a people person. Just because he did not seek limelight did not mean he was wall flower! John
had many exceptional talents – he was an extremely gifted photographer, an effective lobbyist, a carpenter, adventurer, and caregiver just to name a few.
The citrus industry, the community and his family will miss John. I am so grateful for the lessons he taught me. John is the finest example of a friend one could find. Yes we have lost the physical presence of a friend, but will always carry that special relationship with us. Every time a meal is served, meeting held, need arises I will think of John. He will always be a special blessing for me.