Arthur Earnest MoritzAugust 31, 1909 ~ March 26, 2017 (age 107)
Arthur Earnest Moritz, longtime resident of Zillah, Washington, passed away (at home) on March 26, 2017. Born in Toppenish, Washington on August 31, 1909, Art lived his entire 107 years within the one square mile of Orchardvale and Division Roads. His parents, Paul Moritz and Elizabeth (nee Neumeyer) Moritz moved from Michigan to Zillah in 1907 and raised their family of 3 boys and 2 girls on the original fruit farm on Orchardvale Road.
After serving in the army, Art married Mary Virginia (Ginny) Reed in 1942 and together they moved 1 mile north to Division Road and there raised their family of 6 boys. With the span of more than a century, Art and Virginia made many friends throughout the Valley and beyond. Those, coupled with an army of relatives, always inspired in Art’s keen memory a narrative and fond (and often humorous) recollection at the mere mention of a familiar name.
Art was a dedicated fruit farmer and due to his long experience from his youth knew and grew many of the varieties for which the Yakima Valley is so renowned. This included discovering the first strain of Mac’s Red Bartlett pear on the Zillah ranch of his in-laws, Arthur and Helen MacKelvie. This strain was developed by the MacKelvies and very shortly thereafter “Mac’s Red” became known worldwide.
With the passing of years and due to his extensive and practical knowledge of fruit tree farming, Mr. Moritz became known among the younger generation of farmers and warehouse fieldmen as the “Oracle of Orchardvale”, a title he surely merited and prized.
Arthur was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia, his brothers Louis and Harry and his sisters Marguerite and Mildred. He is survived by his sons James, John (Margaret), Robert (Anita), Michael (Sharon), Joseph (Melonee), Anthony (Caren), 7 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
A private burial service will be conducted on Friday, March 31, 2017 at the Zillah Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Arthur’s memory to the Unicef Children’s Fund or the Union Gospel Mission. Those wishing to sign Arthur’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Homes in care of arrangements.