Imperial Valley Press
STARL RODNEY PITTMAN
Sept 2, 1929 – Sept. 19, 2022
Starl Rod Pittman died shortly after his 93rd birthday. Although he knew he had terminal cancer, he still had plans right up until the end: to graft pineapple guavas, test s ome new planting strategies, and see his son Eddie's new cheese project. This was no different from the rest of his life, when each day held both small and large pursuits for new knowledge. In f act, a series of journals he kept through the years captured and numbered each exciting new finding. He was up in the thousands.
Born in small Duncan, Oklahoma, Rod struggled in s chool and found s olace on a ranch just over the border in Texas, where he r aced o n his bike to work after school. Rod then s erved i nthe bike to work after school. Rod then s erved i nthe U.S. Air Force, inspecting F-86 S abre j ets in A sia during t he K orean War. He lost most of his hearing doing this, but fell in love with the diversity of farming techniques he discovered while abroad. Back in the USA, Rod met his beautiful a nd feisty wife, J errie, when they w ere both r odeo competitors in California. They p ut d own roots there to raise their family. Rod became a licensed entomologist and advised farms on i nsect control, including helping conventional farms convert to organic growing methods. Throughout his life, he advised countless people all over the world on many types of farms and gardens. He was particularly passionate a bout compost, c alling it the key to the kingdom. Rod and Jerrie moved to Metro Atlanta fourteen years ago to be closer to their son and his family. Rod served a s the farm consultant a t the largest organic farm in the state of G eorgia f or m ost of that time, h elping maximize t he y ield p er a cre and create n ew m arket options. He a lso helped start and continue t he state's largest volunteerrun community g arden, which donates regularly to those in need. When asked what he wanted e veryone t o know, he r eplied, Beets can be p lanted y earround. I f you put a fire brick over the s eed bed and keep it wet, the seeds should g erminate, and then he smiled, his blue eyes sparkling as usual. Rod is survived by Jerrie, his wife of 59 years; his son, E ddie and wife Laura; his granddaughter, Carly; a nd h is o lder brother, Jerrie (also), and family. He was preceded in death by h is a nd h is wife's d aughter, D ebbie, who died at age 17. In his final days, he said, I know everything is in good hands. He died in peace. T he s eeds of knowledge, c ommunity, and bounty t hat Rod Pittman planted in his life will no doubt continue to grow for years to come. Funeral services f or Rod will be held on March 29, 2023, at Hems Brothers M ortuary at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at G rasso's Italian Restaurant beginning at 4 p.m., with f ood and drinks served.