David J. Elliot Jr., owner of David J. Elliot & Sons in the Sacramento River-Delta area of California, died at home in Courtland, CA, June 26 following a short illness, surrounded by his family. He was 79.
Born Oct. 11, 1931, to David James Elliot Sr. and Frances Miller Elliot, Mr. Elliot Jr. graduated from Menlo School in Atherton, CA, in 1949 and attended the University of California-Davis. He served in the U.S. Air Force in French Morocco during the Korean War.
Mr. Elliot joined Stillwater Orchards, the family business founded in the 1850s by his great uncle, David Osborn. He and his father, David J. Elliot Sr., then formed David J. Elliot & Son Partnership, which earned a reputation locally and nationally as a premier grower, packer and shipper of pears, which later expanded to include apples, cherries and kiwis. The company is still known as Stillwater Orchards.
He served as both a chairman and a board member on numerous agricultural industry boards, including as chairman of the California Grape & Tree Fruit League for two years. He was also a member of the California Pear Growers and California Pear Advisory Board. He was past president of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Wine & Food Society; a life member of the Sutter Club; a Knight Commander of the International Order of St. Hubertus; a Perpetual Member of the Marines Memorial Association; member of the Grandfathers Club; and a member of the University of California-Davis Alumni Association. He served as board member of the River-Delta Unified School District.
In his leisure, he enjoyed spending time boating, hunting and fishing. According to an on-line memorial, Mr. Elliot's priorities were his love of his family and close friends. "He lived his life with integrity and honesty, setting the highest set of standards of ethics and values which he strived to pass down to the next generation. Known for his generosity, it was life's simple pleasures that he cherished the most. He was known as 'Bear' to his close friends who will miss him dearly," the tribute said.
California Grape & Tree Fruit League President Barry Bedwell said that Mr. Elliot "was a man of impeccable integrity."
Mr. Elliot is survived by his wife of 58 years, Bonnie; his daughters, Debbie and Deann; son, Richard; his sister, Elizabeth Gordon; and 13 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, David James Elliot III, in 2005.
A memorial service was held at the Elliot residence in Courtland on Friday, July 8. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the David J. Elliot III Scholarship, benefiting Future Farmers of America, C/O Bonnie Elliot, P.O. Box 425, Courtland, CA 95615 or Walnut Grove Community Presbyterian Church, WGCPC, P.O. Box 93, Walnut Grove, CA 95690.