In Memoriam

Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Harold Alfred Wyatt ’38

A picture of Harold Wyatt

Harold Alfred Wyatt ’38, March 31, 2014, in Forest Grove, Oregon. He was 101.

Founder and principal owner of Flavorland Foods and a fourth-generation Oregonian, Harold came to Reed from the east Oregon town of Halfway, where his parents ran the Gray Gables Hotel. Always industrious and self-reliant, Harold worked at a co-op, at a sawmill, and in a mine to pay his way through Reed. He earned a BA in political science, writing a thesis on the city manager form of government in Hillsboro, Oregon. After graduation, he worked for the Bureau of Municipal Research & Service at the University of Oregon and the League of Oregon Cities, and was acting head for both organizations. He supervised the codification of Portland’s ordinances and was hailed by a city council resolution for “a very beneficial service of lasting benefit to the city of Portland.”

In 1940, Harold married Julia E. Blake, who was a cataloger for the Hauser Library in 1938–40. Two years later, he was drafted into the army and went to Europe, working in the displaced person unit in Germany. He served as a military government commander for several city and county units in Germany, eventually becoming chief of the civil affairs branch for the Office of Military Government, Wüerttemberg-Baden, in Stuttgart. 

After the war, he remained in Stuttgart, where he was joined by Julia and their daughter, Linda; their son Douglas was born there. During this time, he traveled extensively, reporting on national and international conferences on military government. 

Returning to Oregon in 1951, Harold formed a partnership with Gribner Bros. in Banks to process frozen fruits. He incorporated Banks Frozen Foods, and with local growers purchased the Gribner Bros. operation, Sunset Packing Company in Banks, the Chandler Co. in Tigard, and Pacific Packers in Salem. After building new facilities in Forest Grove, he changed the name of his company to Flavorland Foods. During the ’70s, Flavorland Foods was the largest employer in Forest Grove and the number one processor of frozen strawberries in the country. 

Harold was a prolific author whose books included The DP Question; An Experiment in Reorientation by Military Government in Wüerttemberg-Baden, Germany; Experiences of a Frozen Food Processor OR: Some Agricultural Issues in Washington County 1952–1980; and an autobiography, More than Halfway: A Life Story.

Harold contributed his time to the community as president of the Sunset Chamber of Commerce, director of the Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce, and director and officer of the Oregon Strawberry Council. Governor Tom McCall appointed him to serve two terms on the Oregon Strawberry Commission. Harold also was a director of the Northwest Food Processors Association and a member of the Washington County Planning Commission.

Ever mindful of his roots, Harold established the Harold Alfred Wyatt Scholarship Fund for Baker County high school graduates interested in further education and funded a similar program for Washington County students interested in agriculture. In 2008, in gratitude for the community that supported his career endeavors, he created a scholarship to help first-generation college-bound students continue their education after Forest Grove High School. 

Harold enjoyed hunting, fishing, and drifting the wild rivers of Oregon in his drift boat. He also raised registered quarter horses on his farm for riding and packing in the Wallowa Mountains. Other interests included rock hunting and genealogy. In recent years he spent the winters fishing in Cabo San Lucas in Baja California. He regarded his most important contribution to be the employment of a multitude of young people during summer vacations, providing them an opportunity to work and to earn money for college. His personal philosophy was one of optimism, and he achieved his objectives with confidence and direction. “For him, the glass was always half full, not half empty.” Survivors include his children. Julia, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, died in 2004.

Appeared in Reed magazine: January 2014

comments powered by Disqus