Joseph Widmer, Jr.


Joseph Widmer's family emigrated from Switzerland in 1924, with Joe being eight years old and speaking no English. After a brief stop in Canada, the family eventually settled in the Banta area. Less than lO years later, Joe graduated from Tracy High School at the head of his class. After two years as a student at the University of California, he returned to the family farm. In 1941, Joe bought a section of land in the Lathrop area which nobody wanted. Working long hours installing pipe lines and pumps, leveling the ground, he developed it into a productive farm.

He was a pioneer in growing asparagus, tomatoes, alfalfa hay, and sunflower seeds. During the summer months, he would employ young men from the area to help, thus enabling them to learn a trade.

Despite the tremendous time commitment required of a farmer, Joe Widmer made himself available to the community on a personal level. He as an active leader in the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce, several service organizations, and his church, as well as his children's schools. Fluent in five languages, Joe had a great interest in education. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Manteca Unified School District for some 25 years. A school, currently under construction in the Lathrop area, has been named in his honor.

Joe and his wife, Alice, parents of two Sons and three daughters, operated his farming operations until his death in 2000. His beautiful farm has been an asset to the community for many years.