WELL-KNOWN COUNTY AGRICULTURAL AGENT PASSES. One of Volusia County's most ardent advocates of agricultural and farming, Larry Loadholtz, passed away on February 25 after a long illness. Loadholtz was 81, born June 6, 1932, to Shelton W. and Mae Register Loadholtz, in Seville, Florida. He saw local agriculture change during his lifetime, notably the decline of citrus production and dairy farming and the rise of the fern industry. He attended the University of Florida and earned a B.A. degree in agriculture in 1954. He was married in 1953 to Eleanor Marshall. Although he completed the ROTC program, after graduation he delayed entry into the service for one year to become the first Vocational Agriculture teacher at Pierson High School. Commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in 1955, he was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, for two years. He said it was the happiest time of his life. Loadholtz left active service in 1957 and became an officer in the Air Force Reserve and remained active until 1972. He returned to Volusia County initially working as a fertilizer salesman. He and Eleanor had three children and in 1963 Eleanor tragically died. After her death he was employed as an assistant county agent for the University of Florida's agriculture extension service. As a new agent, his first assignment involved working with 4-H clubs. His qualifications for the post included his own membership in the 4-H during his youth, even winning a 4-H contest that included a trip to a national conference in Chicago. He advanced to become the Director of the Volusia County Agriculture Extension Service, during which time he earned an M.A. in Agriculture. He organized the Farm-City Tours and was very proud of the results of that effort. The self-guided tours include several stops at farms and agricultural businesses, whose owners welcomed the opportunity to meet and greet visitors and educate them on local agricultural endeavors. Loadholtz received high honors in his career, especially from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. He received their highest award, which is the Distinguished Service Award and also received the NACAA State Award for superior achievement in promoting the urban understanding of agriculture. He married Joyce in 1979 and added a bonus to the family, her son Daren Fitzpatrick. Larry and Joyce and the four kids enjoyed life as a family on the family farm. Loadholtz retired in 1990, but his interest in farming continued. His farm in Seville became his workplace again. He shared the fruits of his labor with others in the Northwest Volusia community. When funding was needed for the sports programs at Taylor High School Athletic program, he invited the students to come pick oranges and sell them to raise money. Still a working farmer, Loadholtz remained active in the Volusia County Farm Bureau and he served as its president in 1999 and 2000 and continued as a member of the Board of Directors. He was a member of the Volusia County Fair Association and was instrumental in forming the Central Florida Fern Growers Co-op. He was a long-time member of Trinity United Methodist Church, and a member of the DeLand Rotary Club. He was a devoted member of the Gator nation; attending football games in Gainesville with family and friends. As well as his wife Joyce, he is survived by an older brother, Thomas S., who lives in DeLand; two sons, Brian Keith (Lori), Jacksonville, and Kevin Scott (Kim), DeLand; a daughter, Robin Carter (Aubrey, deceased), DeLand; a stepson, Daren Fitzpatrick (Sara), Fort Myers; and three grandchildren, Logan Marie Loadholtz, Jessa Catherine Loadholtz, and Evan Brian Loadholtz, niece Tammi Schimming, nephew Thomas S. Loadholtz, Jr., great-nephew Shelton Schimming, great-niece Kinzzey Schimming. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 8th at 2:30pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, with the family receiving friends from 1-2:30pm prior to the service. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to the Trinity United Methodist Church Building Fund, 306 W. Wisconsin Ave., DeLand, FL 32720. Online condolences may be made at www.allensummerhillfuneralhome.com. Allen-Summerhill DeLand is in charge.
Allen-Summerhill Funeral Home
126 East New York Ave Deland, FL 32724
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Mar. 2, 2014