Hoyt, ag promoter, dead at 85

02/07/2014 4:07 PM

02/07/2014 4:25 PM

Gerald Hoyt, who played a major role in bringing Kagome USA to Los Banos in the late 1980s, died Saturday in his Los Banos home. He was 85.

Originally from Lindsay, Hoyt lived in Los Banos for most of his life. Friends called him “Jerry.”

He studied at the University of California at Berkeley, and was a Navy Veteran.

Among his many accomplishments was running his own certified public accounting firm. Hoyt also was controller of Wolfsen Land Cattle Co., president of a Santa Nella development company in the early 1980s and served on the Citizens Oversight Committee in 2004.

“He has done a lot of good things for the town,” said his widow, Luz R. Hoyt.

One of those was bringing Kagome USA to Los Banos. In a 1989 Los Banos Enterprise article, Hoyt said he knew Kagome officials from an encounter at the site where Ingomar Packing Co. was being built in 1983.

At the time, Hoyt was arranging the financing for Ingomar’s construction and Kagome officials were looking to locate a plant. In 1988, they asked Hoyt to do a market study for prospective sites in California. The state was chosen because it made more than 40 percent of the world’s cannery tomatoes and more than 85 percent of the commercial tomato products in the United States.

Warren Wolfsen, of Gustine, worked with Hoyt through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

“He was a very sharp man,” Wolfsen said. “He was good at working with people and was instrumental in developing Santa Nella.”

Chris Rufer, founder of Morning Star, said Hoyt was also influential in helping to get Ingomar Packing Co. established, and because of that, many jobs were created in the area.

“He saw the right time to make it happen,” Rufer said. “He was a very intelligent and wise person.”

Family members said Hoyt was a loving and caring husband and father. “He was a very generous man that always liked to help others. He was a very humble person,” Luz R. Hoyt said. “Those were his best attributes.”

Hoyt wed Luz R. Hoyt 12 years ago. Together they ran her family’s business - Olinda’s Restaurant, which served California cuisine.

The Hoyt’s adopted three daughters from Peru, which Luz R. Hoyt said was his “biggest accomplishment in life.”

Hoyt also has two children from a previous marriage.

Luz R. Hoyt said her husband’s health deteriorated.

The funeral, with full military honors, was held at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, ,Santa Nella, on Wednesday.

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