Robert Gary “Skeet” Trapnell, 79, died March 15, 2021 at Cedar Plantation in Metter, Georgia, from complications of Alzheimer ‘s disease. Skeet was a graduate of Metter High School, The Georgia Institute of Technology, and The Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. Upon graduation from Georgia Tech in 1963, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he proudly served as a naval aviator for 20 years, flying combat during the Vietnam War. After retirement from the Navy, he settled in Lemoore, California, where he became involved in farming and agri-business. He was employed by Harris Farms as the cotton gin manager, one of the corporate pilots, and co-manager of the crop dusting operation, a company in which he later became a partner and expanded the scope to include a custom farming operation. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the Harris-Woolf almond processing plant and briefly managed that facility as well. Skeet was one of the earliest growers of pistachios in Kings County, California, developing his own orchard shortly before his retirement from the Navy. As with anything he attempted, he established a first class operation, and prospective new growers often sought his advice, which he freely and enthusiastically gave. He was called out of retirement from “public work”, as he called it, two additional times to help develop a concrete crushing operation for his friend Dave Bush, of Dave Bush Construction and by former employer John Harris to assist in the establishment of an organic garlic processing plant.
Active in civic affairs, Skeet was a member of the Kings County Planning Commission, serving as chairman for two terms. He was a member and chairman of the Clark’s Fork Water Conservation District, and a member of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Advisory Committee. Although Skeet often said he would die with his boots on in his beloved orchard, the pull of home became stronger, and he and his wife Jan decided to sell their California holdings in 2017 and retire in their hometown of Metter, Georgia.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years Jan Cromartie Trapnell, a stepson, Hugh E. “Hec” Cromartie, III (Connie)of Eastvale, CA, a stepdaughter Jana (Thomas) Sasser of Edisto Island, SC, a brother, Jerry (Sally) Trapnell of Clemson, SC, five step grandsons, Jackson, Memphis and Lincoln Cromartie, and T.C. and Robert Esten Sasser. Services were held back in March in Georgia. Remembrances may be made to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, FDR Station, PO Box 220, New York, NY 10150, or Metter United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 595, Metter, GA 30439.