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National dairy leader passes away

PD Staff Published on 19 January 2012

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Doug Maddox, a California dairy producer and national dairy leader, passed away December 19, 2011, at his office in Riverdale. Born on January 2, 1936, to Rufus and Annie Maddox in Hanford, Doug grew up on the family farm in Laton.

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He and his wife, Matilda Vink, were married in 1955, and Doug graduated with a degree in dairy science from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 1957.

At that time, Doug and Matilda, in partnership with Rufus and Annie, purchased a 500-acre ranch in Riverdale, and with Doug’s 14 cows and 14 heifers from his college dairy project, established RuAnn Dairy.

He grew his enterprise over the years, and between RuAnn and Maddox Dairies, the family owns more than 5,000 registered Holstein cows, with more than 12,000 total animals. Aside from the dairy portion, the family farms 10,000 acres with 5,000 acres of vineyard and almonds, and 4,000 acres supplying feed for the dairies.

Maddox is known around the world as a good businessman, a mentor for younger dairy producers and someone with a deep respect for the Holstein breed and dairymen worldwide.

It was his herd of registered Holsteins that Doug considered his “hobby and passion.” He developed an extensive embryo transfer program more than 25 years ago, which still continues today. He founded Golden Genes in 1974 for dairy sire progeny testing.

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Over the years, Doug and his family have exported dairy cattle, semen and embryos to more than 40 countries and hosted the popular RuAnn Fiesta Sales. This year Doug and Matilda would have celebrated 55 years in business and 57 years of marriage.

Maddox once said, “I was fortunate to be a part of what I call the ‘Golden Era’ of the dairy industry. The transition in the last 50 years with new technology is simply amazing and overwhelming by any standard!”

Doug dedicated a great deal of time to the industry. He was a past president of the California Holstein Association as well as Holstein Association USA. He was a charter member of the California Dairy Herd Improvement Association, and served as its first president as well as being involved in the National DHIA.

He gave leadership to the California Department of Food and Agriculture State Board, the California Milk Marketing Producer Review Board, Cal Poly President’s Cabinet and volunteered his dairy to the University of California Extension in their research on dairy management practices.

Recently, he was a driving force of federal legislation to ensure dairy industry sustainability.

Doug traveled throughout the nation and around the world as a respected international speaker and cattle judge.

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Doug was honored numerous times throughout his career – the honors included the Holstein Association USA’s Elite Breeder Award, National Dairy Shrine Distinguished Cattle Breeder Award, honored by Western Dairy Business Magazine as Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year at the World Ag Expo, Elite Producer of the Year at the Elite Producers Dairy Conference and the California Holstein Outstanding Young Breeder and Senior Breeder of the Year recognitions.

Even though Doug’s reach in the dairy industry was far and wide, he kept his local, unpretentious, likeable demeanor. He was loved by his friends, employees and large, extended family.

Although his list of dairy accomplishments and involvement is incredibly long, his greatest love and source of pride was his wife and family.

Doug is loved and will be missed greatly by Matilda and family: sons Steve Maddox and his wife, Brenda; Patrick Maddox and his wife, Mary: daughters Julia and her husband, Gerald Chow; Elizabeth and her husband, Jamie Bledsoe; grandchildren Melissa; Christina and her husband, Melvin Medeiros, Jr.; Stephen, Jr. and his wife, Haley; Lindsay and her husband, Luke Karaelias; Jessica and her husband, Tristan Bufete; Melanie; Stefanie and her husband, Jack Vertrees; Tracey; Bryan; Carrie; Joshua; Annie; and Beth; great-grandchildren Keegan; Ty; Kayden; and Greyden; brother, Ed Maddox and his wife, Joanne; sisters Jean Liskey; Ellen and her husband, Larry Jorge.

Doug’s long-term goal was to set up a foundation to support various causes close to his heart such as his alma mater Cal Poly, Holstein Foundation, Guide Dogs for the Blind, and educational scholarships. As such, charitable donations in memory of Doug Maddox can be made payable to Fresno Regional Foundation , 5250 N. Palm Ave., Suite 424, Fresno, CA 93704. PD

—Excerpts from Fresno Bee obituary and Holstein Association tribute. Compiled by PD staff.

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