Maurice Carl Kophamer, a retired Kern County (CA) farmer, died July 14 at his home in Lookout Mountain, GA. He was 91 years old.
Mr. Kophamer began his farming career on leased ground around the Santa Anita Race Track. He was a pioneer in the development of vegetables grown in Kern County.
In the late 1960s, he moved his operation to Wheeler Ridge, CA, where he established himself in the sweet corn business. There, he packed sweet corn for himself, as well as for corn grown by Kern County Land Co. Mr. Kophamer’s real love, however, was growing carrots and onions. He and his friend Javier Tostada were two of the early carrot growers in Cuyama Valley, which is now a haven for carrot production. He was also among the first in the county to grow and sell lettuce on a contract basis to processing operations such as Ready Pac.
Mr. Kophamer was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian church of Bakersfield. He also served for many years on the Kern County school board.
He is preceded in death by his first wife, Nancy Kophamer, and daughter Melanie Marie Kophamer. He is survived by his wife Jan Hyde Kophamer of Lookout Mountain, GA; his sister, Arly Barton of Arcadia, CA; two sons Scott (Elizabeth) Kophamer of St. Augustine, FL, and Douglas (Jona) Kophamer of Bakersfield; and daughter Lisa (Jack) Farrior of Fresno. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.
A memorial service was held Aug. 3 at First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield, CA.