Skip to main page content
Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame Logo
In 1988, the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame was created to honour those that demonstrated unselfish achievement within the realm of agriculture and service to the rural community.
Photo image of Charles E. Broadwell

Broadwell, Charles E.*

- 1994

Inducted: October 26, 1994

Charles E. Broadwell, "Charlie" to a host of friends, used a wonderful disposition and great executive and marketing talents to promote agriculture, especially beans, locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

Everyone who has known or worked with him comments on his even temperament, and his cheerful approach to life and its problems. One associate said, "His attitude has always been very positive, and it influences those around him. It is hard to think negatively if your are working with Charlie!"

Mr. Broadwell's career in agriculture has continued since he retired after 26 years as General Manager of the Ontario Bean Producers' Marketing Board. He is Chairman of the Farm Organizations Accreditation Tribunal; and is serving his third two-year term as President of the International Pulse Trade and Industry Confederation. In his current community service, he is a member of the Advisory Committee of Victoria Family Medical Centre.

Mr. Broadwell was born in Kingsville, and received his primary and secondary education there. He started working for the Canada and Dominion Sugar Company in Chatham after his graduation from the Ontario Agricultural College in 1954.

He became Assistant Agricultural Superintendent and worked to persuade Kent and Essex farmers to grow sugar beets until the closing of the Chatham refinery ended the beet sugar industry in Ontario. It was not easy sugar beets for many years was a labour-intensive crop.

One Kent farmer recalled: "I would make up my mind that I was going to grow something easier than sugar beets, then Charlie would come along, and by the time he left, I had signed another contract. It was hard to say "no, he was such a nice guy!" An associate remembered him as "a great guy, destined for promotion," if the industry had continued.

While in Chatham, he served as President of the Kiwanis Club, Chairman of the Lutheran congregation, and Vice-Chairman of a Kent County Area School Board.

Mr. Broadwell moved to London, where the Ontario Bean Producers' Marketing Board provided him with new opportunities. He travelled to many countries, opening new markets and promoting beans as a cheap and nutritious food.

A Guelph classmate characterized Mr. Broadwell as "an excellent salesman," as enthusiastic in selling beans around the world as he had been in selling sugar beet production.

Mr. Broadwell's service to agriculture and the community won him a place in "Who's Who in Science and Engineering 1994-95 in America." He is Past President of the Agricultural Institute of Canada; Past President and Past Chairman of the Board of the Agricultural Institute of Canada Research Foundation; Past President of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists; Past President of the Canadian Bean Council; and Past President of the Kent County 4-H Leaders' Association.

In addition, he is Past Chairman and a past member of the Ontario Pulse Committee; past member of the Advisory Committee of the Ontario Agricultural College; past member of the Federal Task Force on Agri-Food Trade Developments; past member of the Advisory Committee of the Harrow Agriculture Canada Research Station; and a past member of the Canadian Society of Extension;

Mr. Broadwell has served as a fund-raiser for the University of Guelph and for its Alumni Association; and is a co-Past President, with his wife, Noreen, of the London Chapter of the University of Guelph Alumni Association.

His outstanding work has won him recognition. He was the recipient of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists' Distinguished Agrologist Award in 1989, sharing that honour with Dr. Feeman McEwen, Dean of Agriculture, University of Guelph. He received an Agricultural Institute of Canada Fellowship in July, 1990.

Mr. Broadwell was given the Meritorious Service Award in 1993 by the Michigan Bean Shippers' Association on its 100th anniversary; and a Recognition Award from the Michigan Bean Commission that same year.

In the community, he is an active member and Past President of the London Forest City Kiwanis Club; Vice-Chairman of the County Terrace Nursing Home; past member of the Edgewood Camp Board of Directors; past member of the London Chamber of Commerce; and as Chairman of the congregation of a London Lutheran Church.

The Broadwells have two daughters, Heather and Lynn; a son, Mark; a son-in-law, Dave; and three grandchildren, Kevin, Steven and Ashley.

A long-term friend said of Mr. Broadwell: "What a wonderful world this would be if there were more people like Charlie! He has been a good influence everywhere, especially in agriculture."