Willard Etheredge Roe (1919-2006)
Roe attended Princeton University, where he was active on the football and swim teams, ad recieved a degree in Political Science in 1941. He then went on to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Field Artillery Brigade in support of the French First Army. Roe and his brother Fred turned the family citrus business into William G. Roe and Sons, building it into a world-wide packer, shipper and marketer of Florida citrus products.
Lake Alfred Citrus Experiment Station
Florida Citrus Showcase
William G. Roe & Sons
Production Managers Association
Citrus Growers Associates
Florida Citrus Hall of Fame
Willard Etheredge Roe was born on May 15, 1919 in Winter Haven, Florida. Roe attended Winter Haven High School. Roe later attended Princeton University, where he was active on the football and swim teams. Roe earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1941. He then went on to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Field Artillery Brigade in support of the French First Army. Roe left the service as a Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre. Upon his return, Roe and his brother Fred took over the family citrus business and turned it into William G. Roe and Sons, building it into a world-wide packer, shipper and marketer of Florida citrus products. Fresh citrus products were sold under the Blue Lake label.
Roe turned to the Citrus Experiment Station in Lake Alfred to learn more about grove care. Roe’s research paid off as the Roe groves survived several severe freezes due to careful handling and good production techniques. Roe also became involved with the Florida Citrus Showcase, where he served as the organization’s president. Roe’s leadership was a key part of the construction of the Orange Dome in Winter Haven.
In 1953, after the death of their father, Roe and his brother Frank split their management of William G. Roe and Sons. While Frank took control of the packinghouses, Willard took control of the groves. The brothers ran the company in this manner for over 35 years until Frank’s death and Willard took over all operations. For the remainder of his life, Roe ran Roe and Sons with his own sons, who today continue the business as the third generation to do so.
In addition to his work with William G. Roe and Sons, Roe served with the Production Managers Association and was a founding member of both the Citrus Growers Associates and the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Willard E. Roe was honored for his contributions to the Florida citrus industry when he was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1992. Roe passed away on October 28, 2006.
Blue Lake Citrus Products
Citrus Grower Associates