Robert Gary “Skeet” Trapnell, 79, died March 15, 2021 at Cedar Plantation in Metter, Georgia, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was born December 20, 1941, in Metter, Georgia, to the late R. Barwick and Marion Miller Trapnell.
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 often said he developed his work ethic and love for all things agricultural from working with his father at Metter Farm Implement during his high school years.
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.
Skeet’s spiritual life was important to him, and he loved every church in which he was a member, including Metter Primitive Baptist as a youth, and Metter United Methodist as a senior citizen, but he was most active in the Lemoore Presbyterian Church where he served as an elder and on various committees.
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.
The consummate officer and gentleman, Skeet showed a genuine, heartfelt interest in every person he met and especially enjoyed discussing their goals and aspirations. He was a great listener as well as encourager, particularly of young people, sharing his wisdom and experience in a gentle way that often left a significant impression.
Skeet was a voracious reader, historical scholar, expert mathematician, fair guitar picker, and was quick to be the first person on the dance floor. He loved fishing and dropped his line in the Amazon for piranha, the Alaskan coast for salmon, and his beloved Reedy Creek pond for bream and bass. He and his wife loved to entertain, and Skeet often dazzled their California guests with his culinary skills, garnering accolades for his Southern barbecue and specially developed sauce recipe.
Skeet loved to travel, and he loved home. He loved his wife, his family, his friends, all of his dogs, and in his last years, he loved the staff and each caregiver at Cedar Plantation and Regency SouthernCare Hospice, groups for which his family will be eternally grateful.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years Jan Cromartie Trapnell, a step son, Hugh E. “Hec” Cromartie, III (Connie)of Eastvale, CA, a step daughter 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, an uncle, Morris Trapnell, a niece, Karen Trapnell (Jim) Shriver, and grandniece and nephews, Addie, Durham, and Bodie Shriver.
Visitation will be held Saturday, March 20, 2021, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Metter United Methodist Church with a memorial service at 2:00 pm. A graveside service at the Lake Church Cemetery will follow.
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.
Kennedy Funeral Homes, Hooks Chapel, of Metter is in charge of the arrangements.
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