Gale Easterday is being remembered as a beneficiant chief within the agricultural group in Jap Washington and past.
The 79-year-old patriarch of Easterday Farms in Franklin County continued his father’s legacy, main new generations into farming and serving to usher in a state-of-the-art operation.
“We’re going to overlook Gale and the management that he supplied,” mentioned Chris Voigt, the Washington State Potato Commission’s government director. “(The Easterdays) have been very beneficiant locally.”
Easterday, who lives in Mesa, died Thursday afternoon in Pasco when he turned onto Interstate 182 on the Fourth Avenue exit heading within the flawed path and hit an oncoming semi hauling potatoes for Easterday Farms.
The I-182 exit is close to the household’s onion packing shed.
Potato business chief
Easterday’s father, Ervin, first got here to the Columbia Basin within the late Nineteen Fifties from Idaho to farm within the new Columbia Basin Reclamation Irrigation undertaking.
Gale, his spouse Karen and their 5 youngsters and their households have operated farms and cattle operations in Jap Washington for greater than 40 years.
In the present day, Easterday Farms has greater than 18,000 acres of potatoes, onions, corn and wheat, says the company’s website.
Easterday members of the family proceed to be leaders within the potato business, together with serving on the state potato fee and the Nationwide Potato Council.
The corporate’s web site mentioned Gale Easterday remained very concerned in all facets of the farms, ranches and packing homes.
The corporate additionally diversified from supplying processors that make French fries to packaging and promoting complete potatoes. Together with amenities and farmland all through Benton, Franklin and Adams counties, the enterprise additionally expanded into Florida and Oregon.
These advances have made Easterday Farms an enormous participant within the potato business.
“They actually nearly began with nothing,” Voigt mentioned.
The Easterday household additionally has performed an essential function in serving to hungry households. They’ve donated 1000’s of kilos of produce to the needy by Second Harvest.
The nonprofit provides meals to meals banks and meal applications throughout Jap Washington.
Whereas Jason Clark, Second Harvest’s president and CEO didn’t have the possibility to fulfill Easterday in particular person, he felt a particular kinship and appreciation to him.
“Each time we see a bag of Easterday Farms potatoes or onions come into our warehouses, we could have a fond reminiscence of Gale and his laborious work and dedication to the folks of this area,” Clark mentioned.
“He will likely be missed by many, and lengthy remembered by all of us at Second Harvest,” he mentioned.