George Henry Rees; Led Food Company, Bank
George Henry Rees, retired president of the Oxnard Frozen Foods Cooperative and a founder of Ventura County National Bank, died Tuesday at his home in Camarillo after a battle with cancer. He was 84.
Rees was born Nov. 11, 1912, in Renton, Wash. He spent his childhood in Monroe, Everett and Port Angeles in Washington state, graduating from Port Angeles High School in 1931.
He was a Washington Husky to the core, family members say, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from the University of Washington in 1936. He played baseball at the university under Tubby Graves, after whom the athletics facility is named.
After graduation he moved to San Francisco, where he was hired by Rayonier Inc. as an accountant. He also met his future wife, Henrietta Glennon, and they were married in 1938 in Virginia City, Nev.
In 1943 Rees was promoted to chief accountant and was transferred to New York City by Rayonier. In 1946 they moved back to Rees’ home state, where he became the controller of Cedergreen Frozen Foods in Wenatchee, where their only son, Leland Eugene Rees, was born in 1947.
He was named general manager of Cedergreen Frozen Foods in 1959. In 1962, he was hired as the general manager of the Oxnard Frozen Foods Cooperative, where he later was named president.
The cooperative was known as the world’s largest Fordhook lima bean producer, and Rees responded accordingly by having license plates that read “FH LIMA.”
In 1971, Rees was honored by his peers in the frozen food industry by being named chairman of the American Frozen Food Institute. The following year he was inducted into the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, the highest honor accorded to outstanding contributions to the frozen food industry. He also served for 16 years as a trustee of the Teamsters Frozen Food Employees Pension Fund of California.
Rees retired from the frozen foods cooperative in 1981, at which point he gave up the lima bean license plate, opting for “36 HUSKY.”
In 1982, Rees was an organizer and founding director of the Ventura County National Bank, serving as vice chairman, and remained on the board of directors until 1993.
In addition to his wife, Rees is survived by his son.
A chapel service will be held at 10:30 a.m. today in the Chapel of the Islands, Conejo Mountain Memorial Park, Camarillo. Burial will follow in the park.
Memorial donations may be made to Dean’s Fund for Cancer Research in memory of George H. Rees, U of W Graduate-1936, University of Washington, PO Box 358240, Seattle, Wash. 98105.