John O. Kirkpatrick, 1930–2023

John Owen Kirkpatrick, born on Sept. 15, 1930, a lifelong Californian and farmer, died of natural causes Feb. 26, 2023 at his new home in Palo Alto, Calif. 

John O. Kirkpatrick

Words expressed the following day by his oldest granddaughter, Zoe, say it best: “Yesterday we lost a really good one. My Papa John was kind, funny, smart as a whip, and stubborn as a mule. Handsome to boot, and a snappy dresser. He was the hardest working man I know and his knowledge was encyclopedic. He led a life well lived at 92 years old and married to his best friend, my Grandma Shirley, for 63 of them. He was loved and respected by so many.”

John was first and foremost a farmer—starting in his youth at his family’s olive and citrus ranch in the Round Valley area of Lindsay. He later established his own farm growing specialty citrus varieties. Among these, the etrog citron was the prominent niche crop. The fruit is grown for the Orthodox Jewish fall celebration of the Succos holiday and Lindcove Ranch is the only known producer in the United States.

John was a businessman, an accredited rural appraiser (ret.), and co-owner with his wife of Kirkpatrick Ag Services, providing professional and public relations assistance to clients. He was current on all the puzzle pieces surrounding water issues and water regulations in eastern Tulare County. He served on the stakeholder’s committee of the Greater Kaweah GSA (Groundwater Sustainability Agency).

In 1952, John graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in general agriculture. A veteran, he served in the U.S. Army in Japan after graduating from officer training school at Ft. Benning, Ga. in 1955. 

John was general manager of Rocky Hill, Inc. in Exeter for 15 years beginning in the late 1960s and in later years provided consultation services until his death. He earned his accredited rural appraiser degree in 1962 from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and held leadership and teaching positions in both the national organization and the California chapter.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and children, Greg, Visalia; Dana, Kelseyville and Kari Kirkpatrick, Palo Alto; daughter-in-law Karen R. Kirkpatrick; son-in-law Steve Berndt and six grandchildren. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a local Hospice or the Sequoia Hospice, 830 Hillview Court, Milpitas CA 95035.

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