In 2017, the Green Valley News featured a compelling story about Lorell Clark, a devoted individual to FICO and immensely proud of the orchard he helped cultivate. In the interview, he expressed his dedication to the orchard, hinting at a few more years of work. However, six years later, at the remarkable age of 82, Lorell believes it is finally time to step back.
For those who have worked closely with him, it’s evident that this decision is a significant emotional battle. During the interview, Lorell described the trees as his “babies,” reflecting on how he planted, nurtured, cured, and proudly watched them bear fruit, much like a loving parent would.
Lorell’s journey with FICO began when, at the age of 27, he approached the office of Farm Manager, Toops Culbertson, who happened to be the brother-in-law of the founder, Keith Walden. Lorell offered his services as a horticulturist, and he was swiftly hired for the task of planting pecan trees on a vast expanse of 5,000 acres, with the help of 50 laborers. Remarkably, within the first five years, they successfully planted nearly half a million trees.
This undertaking was not only physically demanding but also required perfection, a quality that Lorell greatly admired in Keith Walden. He spoke about this with a noticeable mix of passion and emotion during the interview.
Lorell held important roles such as head of Orchard Care and manager of the cleaning plant for around 18 years. He also oversaw the nursery operation, caring for hundreds of thousands of trees from seed to field transplantation.
Now that he is retiring, Lorell looks forward to spending time with his wife and focusing on his health. Despite retiring, his passion for agriculture remains unwavering, and he intends to continue learning and delving deeper into this field that he loves.
As Lorell Clark concludes this chapter of his life with FICO, the legacy of his dedication, hard work, and love for agriculture will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the orchard and all those who had the pleasure of working alongside him.