It is with great sadness that Aris Horticulture, Inc. announces the passing of chairman and visionary leader, G. Ramsey Yoder who died quietly Tuesday, March 2, at the age of 87 from complications related to pneumonia.
Mr. Yoder served as president starting in 1977 and then CEO and chairman of the board of directors in 1989. He retired as CEO in 1992 but remained as chairman.
Ramsey graduated from Cornell University with a BS Degree in Floriculture in 1955. He also completed the Small Business Owners Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Prior to his executive positions, he joined Yoder Brothers in 1955 as a mum propagator in the Barberton greenhouses. He was promoted to management in 1959 when he transferred to California to develop the Salinas operation. He remained there as general manager for ten years before coming back to Barberton to become vice president of marketing and sales.
Ramsey explained that his first taste of the business came when he was thirteen working at the mushroom barn filling rail carts for mushroom trays. His life’s work was centered on the company for more than 74 years.
After some challenging years in the 1970s, Ramsey oversaw a reorganization in the 1980s leading to a growth spurt, improved profitability and further European expansion. Then, the Keepsake Plants® finished products business in Canada took off and the company expanded again in Europe. Soon thereafter, the company took steps to restructure to direct sales in the US and added mum production in Kenya. In the 1990s, he led the company’s efforts to diversify away from mums and invest in the faster growing perennial garden plant segment. Ramsey’s vision helped the company leverage its strengths, adapt to change, and become a leading, world class horticulture company.
Throughout Ramsey’s career he fostered a close-knit relationship with employees, customers and top industry leaders. Ramsey recently wrote in connection with the company’s 100-year anniversary that “it’s been an exciting life met with challenges,” but he always looked to the future. He was quick to acknowledge and thank the employee group for their effort and determination and was hopeful for even more success in the future. He eloquently described the company and its success as offering customers “something to grow on”, which, he said, has a deeper meaning. “We are proud of our product, but to find the real essence of Aris, we must look further…to the people and events that have shaped our company.”
Scott Schaefer, president and CEO, stated that “the company’s achievements under his leadership have made a lasting impact on the industry. While no one is ever completely ready for such an event, the company and Yoder family have provided for succession and board of directors transition.”
Although the pandemic disrupted daily routines, Ramsey stayed engaged and productive until just recently.
Ramsey lived on a farm in Tinmouth, Vermont. He loved to travel and was an avid fly-fisherman. Pre-deceased by his first wife, Patty, he is survived by two sons, Brad and Shane, and wife Denise (Tess). He will be greatly missed by all Aris employees, who send their condolences to the Yoder family.