(FCHOF) — The Selection Committee for the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame has announced three distinguished leaders who will be inducted into the hall of fame during the 57th Citrus Celebration Luncheon.
Frank E. Gardner (deceased), formerly of Orlando; John M. Kennedy, Sr. (deceased), formerly of Umatilla; and Karick Price, Sr. (deceased), formerly of Orlando, will be honored at the luncheon on Friday, March 6 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
Frank E. Gardner was sent from Washington, D.C., in 1940 to head up the U.S. Department of Agriculture Subtropical Fruit Station in Orlando. As such, he expanded the citrus research activities there and spent 29 years conducting research work in the areas of breeding, rootstocks, nutrition and diseases. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Citrus Research Foundation Farm, which houses a wide variety of propagation material. Gardner was among the first to establish large-scale systematic rootstock trials.
In addition, he was a sought-after speaker at grower functions, as he was able to communicate his findings and give real-world applications to citrus growers. He was president of the Florida State Horticultural Society (FSHS) and received its highest honor — an honorary lifetime membership — for his accomplishments. In addition, Gardner was a member of many national scientific and honor societies and authored numerous papers on rootstocks, hormones, fertilization and breeding, presenting 22 papers to the FSHS alone.
John M. Kennedy, Sr. worked with Golden Gem Growers, one of the largest citrus cooperatives in the United States. He was vice president, director of grove services for 44 years before his retirement in 1996. During his lifetime in citrus, he was a leader and active participant in numerous citrus organizations including the Production Managers Association, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, Florida State Horticultural Society, Lake County Farm Bureau and numerous industry committees and task forces.
When not managing Golden Gem’s 17,000-citrus-acre portfolio and serving the co-op’s 400 growers, Kennedy was a man who gave back to his community. He was civic minded and a leader in the Kiwanis Club, the PTA, Boy Scouts, his local Elks Lodge, Lake County Boys Ranch, his church, Pine Meadows Golf and Country Club and his local banking institution.
Karick A. Price, Sr. entered the citrus business in 1957 buying, selling and harvesting fruit as an owner and director of T & G Harvesting Company. In 1962, he took over as president of T & G Groves, a partnership which he increased to over 2,000 acres of groves in Lake and St. Lucie counties. He was Farmer of the Year in 1968 and was appointed to three terms as director of the Indian River Grapefruit Committee by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He served on the Florida Citrus Commission from 1971 to 1981 and chaired the Public Relations and Institutional Committees, where he was a strong proponent of The Florida Sunshine Tree symbol and 100 percent Florida orange juice.
Price was also a director/member of the Citrus Associates of the New York Cotton Exchange and traded the second contract for FCOJ when trading first began in 1966. In 1974, Price chaired the Pool Drafting Committee, working on a marketing order to implement The FCOJ Pooling Act of Florida which, if approved, would have set up the mechanics for averting flooding the FCOJ market in times of surplus crops, how it would be warehoused and how it would be sold out of storage. He was a director of Citrus Central Inc., a director and vice president of Golden Gem Growers, president of Lake-Lucie Groves and director and vice president of Inland Fruit Company.
The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame honors distinguished leaders who have made significant contributions to the Florida citrus industry. The Citrus Hall of Fame display is located within the Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr. Archives Center building at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information on members of the Citrus Hall of Fame, visit www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com, which includes access to biographies and photos on all members, noting their accomplishments and including various industry links.
Tickets to the luncheon, which is co-sponsored by Florida Citrus Mutual and The Florida Department of Citrus, are $100 for patron seating or $1,500 for a sponsor table, which includes preferred seating for eight, table signage and a listing in the program. The event will be followed by the Florida Citrus Processors’ Association’s OJ “Meet & Greet” with the inductees’ families as they unveil the newest names on the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Tree, located in the Sara D. and L. Kirk McKay Archives Center.
An educational citrus exhibit will be featured from January through March, and tours of the Citrus Archives will be available. A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will go to fund an educational outreach program to help promote the history of the Florida citrus industry.
To purchase tickets, please call Florida Citrus Mutual at 863-682-1111 or visit the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame website at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at 561-351-4314 or BBurne1003@aol.com.