I said goodbye to an old friend this past weekend. I will miss him. He (and his family) taught me a lot about fruit growing, but I will remember him most for teaching me to be a better extension agent/advisor. He told me what farmers knew and what they wanted to know. He pointed out, in private, how something I said or wrote might be heard by or impact growers. I called him when I needed advice on resolving conflicts between growers or growers and other community members that ended up on my doorstep.
Gene Euwer was someone you just felt lucky to know. He showed up for everything and made it work, whatever it was, without working the spot light for himself. He grew his orchard business, providing a living for his employees and a launching pad to the American Dream for their children. In his youth, he was a volunteer fireman and mountain rescue volunteer. He learned Spanish in middle age to better work with his crew, and he provided free health care to their families. He was elected to the hospital board, chaired the school board and the fruit Co-op board of directors, and was a commodity board member. He traveled internationally to promote his industry. Through all this, he and his remarkable wife of 55+ years raised three wonderful children.
This brief post is a thank you and an acknowledgement of Gene Euwer, as well as other growers, PCAs and consultants who serve their communities and offer helpful input and perspective to university extension.
Thanks, Gene. I will miss you.