OSU college of ag sciences to honor Wasco county resident

October 21, 2004

CORVALLIS - Virgil Ellett of The Dalles is among the 31 men and women to be honored as 2004 Diamond Pioneers by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

Dean Thayne Dutson will welcome the 21st class to the college's Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Registry during a luncheon Thursday, Oct. 21, in the OSU Alumni Center in Corvallis. Speaker will be former State Rep. Tony Van Vliet.

The registry started when the college observed its 75th anniversary as a way of recognizing the agricultural and community achievements of those 75 and older.

Cited for his leadership in the state's Christmas tree industry as well as for his many contributions to the community, Ellett was nominated by the Wasco County Farm Bureau.

Ellett started his Christmas tree farm in the early 1960s, turning to full-time tree farming in the early 1970s. He is a past president and director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association and remains involved with the association and tree farming.

A founder of the area community college, Ellett served on the district's board of directors for 25 years from 1976 until he stepped down in 2001. While a Wasco County commissioner from 1982 to 1986, he chaired the tri-county administrative committee for mental health services for the Mid-Columbia area.

Ellett currently serves on the Wasco County weed board, as a director of the Wasco County Farm Bureau, and on the budget committee for the Oregon Department of Forestry. He was named Wasco County Farmer of the Year in 1976 and Mid-Columbia Tree Farmer of the Year in 1985.

Others to be honored include Jack Kalina, Albany; Beryl Elmore, Applegate; Maurice and Donna Johns, Athena; Howard Mader, Aumsville; Gerda Hyde, Chiloquin; Lynn Cannon, Coquille; Rodney Frakes, Norman Goetze, Roy Hathaway and Harry Mack, Corvallis.

Gordon Stanley, Eagle Point; Morris Culver, Eugene; Gerald Terjeson, Helix; Bob and Suzanne Jepsen, Merlyn Robinson and Shirley Rugg, Heppner; Arnold "Dale" Scheller, Hillsboro; David Burkhart, Hood River; Frank Fobert, Hubbard; Delores Scott, Jordan Valley; Alan Withers, Paisley; Donald Hawkins and Stan Timmermann, Pendleton.

Robert and Virginia Vogel, Talent; Donald Michael, West Linn; Royal Brooks, Wilsonville; and Cecil Pierce, Fallon, Nevada.

Author: Len Calvert
Source: Loretta Mason