O.C. Minton (1904-1969)
W.R. Grace & Company
Florida Citrus Commission
Indian River Citrus League
Florida Orange Marketers
Florida Citrus Mutual
Florida Agricultural Research Institute
Indian River Field Laboratory & Experiment Station
O.C. Minton left behind a legacy that can be summed up in one word: “Florida.” A hard worker, dedicated to citrus, his defining moments came when fighting for identification of Florida grown and packed citrus.
Born in 1904 to a North Florida agricultural family, Minton met his future wife, Bessie, in Flagler Beach, but in the early 1930s the couple traveled south because O.C. wanted to be a part of the growing citrus industry in the Indian River region. Their venture south included stops at Melbourne and Vero Beach, but they finally settled in Fort Pierce in the 1940s.
Minton eventually acquired large amounts of grove land. In 1940 he persuaded W.R. Grace and Co. to build a fertilizer plant in the area, which he oversaw for nearly 25 years. He also opened Minton Equipment, one of the largest equipment firms on the east coast.
O.C. spent eight years on the citrus commission, serving as chairman and head of the advertising committee. It was here that he distinguished himself in his campaign for the identification of “Florida” citrus, and he is cited as the driving force behind a commission policy that required “Florida” identification on products in order to qualify for advertising rebates.
In addition to serving on the citrus commission, he was a charter member of the Indian River Citrus League, a director of Florida Orange Marketers, a member of Florida Citrus Mutual, and the Florida Agricultural Research Institute.
He also played a large role in the establishment of the Indian River Field Laboratory and experiment station in St. Lucie County in order to deal with the unique problems associated with citrus in the Indian River area. Minton’s contribution included the donation of 720 acres of land for facility construction. In his honor, the 10,000 square foot O.C. Minton Hall was opened in 1988.
Although O.C. died in 1969, his legacy lives on in the Indian River region. His son, O.R. Minton, became a well-respected citrus figure for his own contributions to the industry, which included the opening of the Minton Sun Packinghouse in 1963. His wife, Bessie, lived to be 105 and is well known throughout the Fort Pierce community, while his grandson, Rick Minton, became a state representative.
O.C. Minton’s accomplishments were recognized in 1982 when he was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.