Paul Rood Jr., from left, with the late Wallace “Wally” Heuser, founder of IFTA and of Summit Sales and International Plant Management, photographed in 2013. Photo: International Plant Management

Oct 17, 2022
Paul Rood Jr., Michigan orchardist, dies

Paul Joseph Rood, Jr., of Paul Rood Orchards, 94, died in his home in Covert, Michigan, on Oct. 7.

Rood owned Paul Rood Orchards, a centennial farm in the southwest part of Michigan that specializes in tree fruits, including pears, plums, apples and nectarines. The farm is a major producer of pears in the eastern U.S., according to Michigan State University’s (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Rood spent his childhood summers on the family fruit farm in Covert Township, Michigan, which the family owned since 1870. In the mid-1950s, bought the farm from his parents and planted new orchards.

“Paul was a lifelong student and loved learning new things about fruit varieties, farming techniques, and orchard management practices,” according to Rood’s death notice.

Rood hosted many field research trials in his orchards and was lauded for supporting MSU Extension and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station in local educational and research programs and as an advocate for industry support. In 1956, Michigan Farmer magazine named Rood a Master Farmer.

“Actively involved within the fruit industry for many years, Rood is noted for having developed a program to provide pears to farm markets in the Midwest instead of sending them to out-of-state processors,” MSU officials stated in 2008 when honoring Rood with the MSU Distinguished Service to Agriculture and Natural Resources Award. The award honors individuals for their successes in Michigan agribusiness or natural resources-related enterprises and their commitment to leadership in community, state and national activities.

Rood enjoyed traveling with the International Fruit Tree Association, touring orchards throughout the world. Involved in many farm organizations, he was a member of the Michigan State Horticultural Society, the Michigan Pear Research Association and the Michigan Apple Research Committee. Rood served on the board of the Michigan Plum Advisory Board and was a past president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society.

Born in 1928 in Hastings, Michigan, Rood was the oldest of five children born to Paul Sr. and Edna (Anderson) Rood. Rood grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, where he attended high school and college, earning BS, MS and PhD degrees in horticulture.

In 1950, Rood married Geraldine “Gerry” Emmert in Flint, Michigan, and raised four children, who are survived by him along with two granddaughters, sister-in-laws and many nieces and nephews. Rood was preceded in death by his wife and his siblings five brothers and sisters.

Rood’s children would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to all of his doctors and caregivers for all their help during the past year, according to the death notice.

Per Rood’s wishes, no funeral was scheduled with burial already occurring. A memorial service for family and friends may be scheduled later, according to the death notice.

Memorial donations in Paul’s name may be made to First Congregational Church, South Haven, Michigan, or the Michigan State Horticultural Society Trust, 7087 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI. More information can be found at Arrangements were made by Filbrandt Chapel of Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, 269-637-0333.

PHOTO: Paul Rood Jr., from left, with the late Wallace “Wally” Heuser, founder of IFTA and of Summit Sales and International Plant Management, photographed in 2013. Photo: International Plant Management

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