Fred Starrh, longtime Shafter patron and national farm leader, dies at 89
April 18, 2019
Longtime Shafter patron and national farm leader and innovator Fred Starrh passed away Tuesday, April 16, at age 89.
He died following a stroke, the family said.
Starrh moved to Shafter at age 7 when his family left Tucson, Ariz., in 1936. Starrh farmed with his father and passed the tradition on to his family as they grew the farm into one of the leading cotton farms in the county, as well as branching out into almonds and pistachios.
He was generous in his local leadership, recognized in the naming of the Shafter High School auditorium by the Kern High School District board, on which he served for 17 years.
Starrh was an innovator and leader in the farming industry, chairing numerous committees, serving as president of several boards over the years, including the Kern County Farm Bureau and director of the Kern County Water Agency for 28 years. He led the national trade group Cotton Incorporated at one time.
Outside of the farming world, Starrh is probably best known for his landmark victory over local oil company Aera Energy, LLC, successfully showing that the company had contaminated his groundwater in a case that took several years before entering a judgement for Starrh in the millions of dollars.
Starrh was famously passionate about the farming industry, but the only thing that he was more passionate about than farming was family. Starrh worked with his two sons Fred Starrh, Jr., and Larry, as well as daughters Carol Kroeker and Anne Ashley in their family business, as well as giving so much to his extended family, the residents of the City of Shafter. Starrh is survived by his children, as well as grandchildren Adam Starrh, Dana Starrh, Keith Starrh, Michelle Starrh, Brent Starrh, Brad Kroeker and DeeAnn Edick, and two great grandchildren, Colt and Walker Starrh.
He leaves behind his wife, Linda Starrh. He was predeceased by his first wife, Nancy, who died in 2009.
A celebration of his life with music and remembrance will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 28 at the Mennonite Brethren Church, 400 Kern St,, Shafter.