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In memoriam: George Goodall

Grower Cliff Sponsell and George Goodall, right, at Sponsell Ranch in Santa Barbara, looking at Duke cutting replant in an avocado root rot grove in 1977.

George Goodall, emeritus UCCE farm advisor and county director, passed away June 22, 2020, at age 98. 

A fourth-generation Southern Californian, Goodall grew up on a diversified farm in Canoga Park. After serving four years in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, he earned a degree in subtropical horticulture from UCLA in 1947. Goodall was hired the same year as a UCCE subtropical fruit farm advisor for Ventura County, then in 1951 moved to serve Santa Barbara County as a farm advisor specializing in avocados, citrus, walnuts and wine grapes. He later earned a master's degree in agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1974, he became director of UCCE in Santa Barbara County until he retired in 1987.

“George was instrumental in the creation of the Williamson Act and in establishing the avocado industry amongst a lot of other things,” said Ben Faber, UCCE subtropical crops advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

“As important as his knowledge and experience, it was his manner, attitude, personality, sense of humor, etc. that made him an ideal Extension agent,” Faber said. “He was equally comfortable in the world of academia as he was in the real world of farming and people. And he loved good food, a good bottle of wine and good company. I'll never forget his laugh and his stories. He and John Evans and Bud Lee were like the three musketeer county directors who were all excellent extension administrators and at the same time outstanding farm advisors.”

George Goodall

In 1972, Goodall received the Award of Honor of the California Avocado Society. Among other industry honors, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the California Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America, the Commendation Award from the Soil Conservation Society of America, and a gold watch from Calavo Growers of California.

During his career, he authored nearly 30 papers on avocado production and many more papers on subtropical fruits.

He was a member of the American Society for Horticulture Science, the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Soil Conservation Society of America, and was a past president of the California Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America. A member of the California Avocado Society since 1949, he also belonged to the Lemon Men's Club, The California Citrus Nurserymen's Society, and the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau.

According to his family, Goodall once bestowed a Medal of Honor to former Governor Ronald Reagan for soil conservation.

After retiring from UC, Goodall did agricultural consulting in the Mediterranean, Latin America and Africa. He also became active in the Santa Barbara Rotary Club and his local genealogical society, tracing his ancestry to the origins of man and giving presentations on genealogy.

Goodall is survived by his wife Jeanne, son Stephen (Jane), grandchildren Emily (Cheyne) and Jason and great grandchildren Lyndee and Jaxton O'Gorman.

 

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 4:41 PM

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