George Lamont, NY apple producer and leader, dies at age 83

georGeorge Fredrick Lamont, who dedicated his career to the produce industry, and most notably the New York apple industry, died on March 13 at age 83 in Saranac Lake, NY.

Mr. Lamont was an apple grower, association leader and an organizer. In 1966, he and his brother, Roger Lamont, who were sixth-generation family farmers, founded Lamont Fruit Farm in Waterport, NY. It continues today under new ownership.

“I met George Lamont in the 1970s from a processing side of the industry,” said Jim Allen, vice president of New York Apple Sales and previous past president of the New York Apple Association Inc. “At the time he was a vegetable and fruit grower for processing. He transitioned to concentrate of tree fruit production, and ultimately became a valuable asset to the state’s apple production.”

A successful fruit grower, founding member of a large grower packing cooperative and serving on both state and national agricultural organizations, in the late 1990s Mr. Lamont once again changed direction. This sounded like retirement to the NYAA, and so to honor him in 1998, it established the Lamont Leadership Award for outstanding industry service.

But Mr. Lamont was far from retiring. He continued with a marathon of hard work, long hours and attacking issues that plagued both New York and U.S. apple growers.

“George assumed the leadership role of a fledging New York State Horticultural Society and gave it new life and new strength,” noted Allen. He tackled issues, such as NAFTA, immigration, labor laws and Chinese AJC imports. Because of his tireless work ethics and his unyielding persistence, New York state became a leading apple voice in Albany and in Washington, DC.”

Through tireless efforts, Lamont unified the entire U.S. apple industry. As a result, Premier Apple Cooperative was formed to cover eastern apple-producing states.

“George’s objective was to remove the fragmentation of the industry, to unite as growers, develop an open dialog and to be willing to work together to accomplish mutual goals,” said Allen. “This concept was also adopted in the southeast, mid-west and it moved into the western apple-growing regions. His efforts did not stop at state line, and his accomplishments were many and great.”

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, Saranac Lake, NY. There are no calling hours. A memorial service will be set for the spring at the Adirondack Baptist Church in Saranac Lake with Pastor Ryan Schneider officiating. Burial will be in Mount Albion Cemetery, Albion, NY.

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