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Maurice Carl Kophamer


1922 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Maurice Carl Kophamer Obituary
Maurice Carl Kophamer February 19, 1922 - July 14, 2013 Maurice Carl Kophamer, 91, a retired Kern County farmer, passed away at his home in Lookout Mountain, Georgia on July 14, 2013. He was born February 19, 1922 to Carl and Estelle Kophamer. Maury began his farming career on leased ground in and around what is now known as the Santa Anita Race Track. Maury, along wth his parents, built their first home on Santa Anita Ave. Maury was a true pioneer in the development of vegetables grown in Kern County. In the late 60's, when the San Fernando Valley began to urbanize, he moved his operation to Wheeler Ridge, CA. He established himself in the sweet corn business, having built his own sweet corn shed on Sabodan Road, Wheeler Ridge, CA. There he packed sweet corn for himself as well as for corn grown by Kern County Land Co. His real love was that of growing carrots and onions. He and his good friend Javier Tostada were one of the first two people to grow carrots in Cuyama Valley, now a haven for carrot production. He built his own carrot shed in Arvin, CA which he later sold an interest to fellow farmers that were close friends of his. At that time the carrot shed became known as Kern Ridge Growers. Maury then ventured into the idea of building a carrot freezer plant. Unable to complete the plant, he was approached by Bob and Rod Grimm for the use of his feasibility study. Maury was more than happy to provide them with the study and Grimmway Farms went on to develop their freezer plant, as it is today. He also became one of the first in Kern County to grow and sell lettuce, on a contract basis to processing operations such as ReadyPac for bagged lettuce. Maury seemed to have a distinct ability to know as to which direction the produce industry was headed. Maury's true love was always growing and packing onions. Bakersfield was his home location for his onion operation, which he ran with his son Doug and grandson Levi. Never satisfied with one area, he continued to search for new locations. He established an onion packing operation in El Centro, CA as well as for purchasing an onion shed in Idaho. This allowed Maury and his Kops Tops label to provide onions year round, He went on to experience the growing and packing of onions in West Texas as well as the Phoenix, Arizona area. Never satisfied, he was one of the first individuals to import Chilean Onions into the United States. Maury was one of those true individuals whose love of farming took him across the nation. He was one of the last of his generation and he truly represented the pioneer instinct. Maury was a long time member of the First Presbyterian church of Bakersfield. He attended and supported the church in many ways. He also served for many years on the Kern County Schools Board where he served various capacities, as well as being a member of various agricultural committees. Maury was a true family man. He loved his children dearly and was always there for them. He was a wonderful father and he loved the Lord. Maury's children would also like to express their sincere love and gratitude to his wife Jan. She showed great love, kindness and patience with Maury throughout his lengthy illness. 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 Mt., Georgia; his sister Arly Barton of Arcadia, CA; two sons Scott (Elizabeth) Kophamer of St. Augustine, Florida 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 will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1705 17th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301 on August 3rd at 11:00 a.m. www.bakersfield.com/obits
Published in Bakersfield Californian on July 28, 2013
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