Mar 22, 2016
Obituary: Clinton O. Potter

Clinton O. Potter, long-time owner of Potter Cranberry Company, died Monday, March 21. He was 95.

The youngest son of Oscar and Eva (Bennett) Potter, Clinton was born Nov. 17, 1920, on the family’s cranberry marsh in the Town of Scott in northeastern Monroe County. Clinton’s maternal great-grandfather Asa Bennett and paternal grandfather Melvin Potter were among the early pioneers of Wisconsin’s cranberry industry.

Clinton O. Potter. Photo: Lorry Erickson
Clinton O. Potter. Photo: Lorry Erickson

Clinton joined his father and his brother Russell as a part owner of Potter Cranberry Company in 1947. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he began developing an additional 30 acres of land, increasing the marsh from 48 to 78 acres of vines. Clinton and his wife Ellen became the sole owners of the marsh in 1971.

The marsh – which was started in 1871 and had just 6 acres of cranberry vines when purchased by Clinton’s parents in 1912 – has been expanded over the years to 110 acres of vines and is now owned by Clinton’s son Jack and his great-nephew Todd Potter.

In 2002, the Clinton and Ellen Potter family received the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association‘s Service to Industry Award in recognition of the family’s donation of the contents of the Cranberry Expo Museum & Gift Shop to the association. The family had opened the museum and cranberry themed gift shop on their marsh in 1989 in an effort to preserve Wisconsin’s cranberry growing heritage and to educate the public about the state’s No. 1 fruit crop. The family’s donation led to the creation of the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, which opened in downtown Warrens in 2004.

In his spare time, Clinton enjoyed riding motorcycles. He competed in cross-country motorcycle enduro races and ice races until the age of 60, winning many awards including first place in the Wisconsin senior class from 1977 through 1980. After retiring from motorcycle racing, Clinton began flying ultra-light airplanes, building two ultra-lights in his marsh workshop. He and Ellen also enjoyed traveling and collecting cranberry glass.

Clinton is survived by his daughter Peggy and son-in-law Dale Anderson of Warrens, son Jack Potter and daughter-in-law Lorry Erickson of Warrens, daughter Becky and son-in- law Craig Hayes of Ramsey, Illinois, grandson Clinton Anderson and his wife Dana of Mundelein, Illinois, and granddaughter Carrie and her husband Galen Betz of Crested Butte, Colorado.

Per Clinton’s request, there will be no funeral service. A private interment will be held at Brookside Cemetery in Millston. Memorials may be given to the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, P.O. Box 187, Warrens, Wisconsin 54666.

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