Orie N. Orie N. Lee, Jr.

/Orie N. Orie N. Lee, Jr.

Orie N. Orie N. Lee, Jr. (1926)

Inducted 2005

Highlights

Lee fought in World War II, serving in the U.S. Army between 1944-1946. Lee contributed to the development of new rootstocks, hybrids, and varieties. Lee maintained associations with the Growers Administrative Commission, the Florida Citrus Commision, the Florida Farm Bureau, Golden Gem Growers, the Florida Beef Cattle Improvement Association, Citrus Association/NY Cotton Exchange, the Osceola Cattleman’s Association and SunTrust Bank. He actively supported organizations such as the Future Farmers Association, Boy Scouts of America, and St. Cloud High School.

  • University of Florida Research Center at Lake Alfred
  • Rootstock
  • Growers Administrative Commission
  • Golden Gem Growers

Bio

Orie N. Lee, Jr. spent more than forty years involved in Florida citrus. He was born to Orie Lee Sr., a carpenter, and Lillian Lee in 1926. His father also worked with citrus and cattle farming, working land that the family had purchased in Osceola County in 1910.

Like many others of his generation, Orie Lee fought in World War II, serving in the U.S. Army from 1944-1946. Returning home to Osceola County after the war he took over his family’s grove land. Due to the war, Lee never received formal education after high school. However, he gained more knowledge about citrus through hands-on experience than many could ever hope to learn in a class room. He also developed a strong relationship with institutions such as the Florida Division of Forestry, the University of Florida Research Center in Lake Alfred, and the University of California/Riverside, helping to supplement his knowledge base. Despite his lack of formal education, Lee used his keen intellect to become one of the most knowledgeable figures in the citrus world.

Lee made his mark on the citrus world by being a strong contributor to citrus research. He donated portions of his grove land to research, providing care for the trees as they matured and then taking measurements to aid researchers, including yield. This information was relayed to the industry, which used it to make decisions on production going forward. Lee contributed to the development of new rootstocks, hybrids, and varieties. Some of the new varieties he helped to develop were of great use in juice production, benefitting growers as a whole because the new varieties could be sold at a higher price to make juice.

Lee is known as much for the way he shared his research as he is for the studies he conducted. In much the same way that he shared his land for research, Lee shared any secrets that he knew in order to benefit the industry as a whole. Citrus grower Pete Spyke said of Orie Lee, “I know of no grower who has devoted more personal effort to furthering the art and science of growing citrus.”

During his career, Orie Lee maintained associations with the Growers Administrative Commission, the Florida Citrus Commission, the Florida Farm Bureau, Golden Gem Growers, the Florida Beef Cattle Improvement Association, Citrus Association/NY Cotton Exchange, the Osceola Cattleman’s Association and SunTrust Bank. He actively supported organizations such as the Future Farmers Association, Boy Scouts of America, and St. Cloud High School. He was also a member of First Baptist Church of St. Cloud, contributing to the church in numerous capacities.

Known widely as a quiet, unassuming, and generous man, Orie N. Lee, Jr.’s contributions to citrus speak much louder than his words. He was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 2005.